The Crypt Sessions: a vidcast series of simple music videos filmed in a tiny studio in North London. An all-acoustic motif, hi-fi audio, HD videorecording, powerfully mood-setting lounge/bar decor and some of the most heartachingly gorgeous independent folk, pop, and rock music you've never heard. The Crypt Sessions are the closest you can get to an excellent live show in the city without having to call a cab afterwards to drag your drunk ass home. So true to the actual experience you can almost smell the cigarette smoke.
What's good? Well, I like The Chemists' "This City" myself. Samantha Whates's "Happy Birthday" is pretty good late-night listening too.
But I would be remiss to not mention Sophie Madeleine. And not just because her first album "Love, Life, Ukelele" on my iPod or Nintendo DS is the only thing that keeps those late-night silences in empty bus stations and airport terminals from eating my soul.
If you've been reading this blog a while you already know I'm a fan of her music. She's that internet famous British ukelele gal, who (with her friend Hannah Rockcliffe) performs cute yet spellbinding, richly textured YouTube songs about beards and cakes and gays. The Crypt Sessions's more serious treatment of her single "Stars" (embedded above) truly brings out how well Madeleine puts her Masters in music to use. This is not MTV Unplugged, this is truly naked music. No impressive arpeggios, no intricate, wailing solos, no clever production gimmicks, no flirtsy sidelong glances at the camera. Not only is she playing a ukelele, her backup band is a toy xylophone and a drum loop on a ten-year-old Casio keyboard. And yet, her gentle, nuanced delivery and the awesomely faithful production makes this one of the velvetiest recordings my eardrums have ever sampled. I like it even better than the studio version, by leaps.
It almost makes me want to fly out to London to compare it to the real thing. But I won't have to! According to the mailing list she is playing her first American show in New York on Jan. 10 at the Pianos Bar in the East Village (139 Ludlow St., $10, 7:30 PM).
If you are in the city and you like soft, soulful music, please come with me. It would make me very happy.