Being snow-bound sometimes has its upsides like actually getting some work done and eating lots of hot soup and having an excuse not to go for a run for fear of breaking bones ; )
So yesterday I took a bath in some reverb and knocked up a home-made version of one of my recent obsessions, Bon Iver. I didn't really take the time to 'get' him (apart from 'Skinny Love') when everyone else was going gaga for the album but then I heard the 'Rosyln' track he did for the Twilight soundtrack with St Vincent and literally played it on repeat for a week (which is kind of how I consume music - I once listened to the string section in Kate Bush's 'Houdini' about 100 times in one day...).
I think it's the harmonies that really get me. There's something that always gets the hairs standing up on my neck about voices weaving into each other. I must have spent a good deal too much of my last few year's at school huddled up in stairwells harmonising with my best friend and harassing any boy with a guitar so they'd let me sing with them. Car journeys in my family were me and my sister competing against each other hollering out Carpenters songs (a masterclass in harmony) and I once spent a week dissecting the harmonies for the Beach Boys' 'Good Vibrations' just to figure out how it all fitted together.
There's a simplicity to just layering voices against one instrument - you've got nowhere to hide and it's only the song itself that will stand or fall. It's also really good practice for the horrible aural exam part of grade exams where they ask you to sing intervals and sight read which, even though I 'apparently' have perfect pitch, I always used to dread because I didn't play the piano at the time and had to learn it all by ear rather than theory.
Well enough geekery. Here's a selection of great harmony songs that I randomly remembered liking... you can hear them all on Spotify by clicking on the playlist title.
1. Alison Krauss – Down To The River To Pray - Soundtrack Version (O Brother Where Art Thou?)
2. Carpenters – We've Only Just Begun
3. The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations
4. Gram Parsons – In My Hour Of Darkness
5. Panda Bear – Bro's
6. St. Vincent – The Strangers
7. Crosby, Stills & Nash – Helplessly Hoping
8. Ryan Adams – When The Stars Go Blue
9. Bon Iver & St. Vincent – Rosyln
10. The Everly Brothers – Bye Bye Love
11.Imogen Heap – Hide And Seek
12.10cc – I'm Not In Love
13. Grizzly Bear – On a Neck, On a Spit