017 – Jealous Of The Birds

Jealous Of The Birds - ein Bandname, der Raum für Interpretationen lässt. Neidisch auf Vögel. Weil sie fliegen können? Weil sie im Winter ins Warme fliegen? Weil sie alle mit einer Singstimme ausgestattet sind? Fragen, die beim Hören der Musik von Jealous Of The Birds relativ schnell völlig irrelevant werden. So ging es mir zumindest, als ich Marrow“, die erste Auskopplung der kommenden EP „Wisdom Teeth“, auf den Kopfhörern hatte. Doch dazu gleich mehr.

Hinter dem Künstlernamen verbirgt sich die nordirische Songwriterin Naomi Hamilton, die bisher ein Album (Parma Violets/ 2016) und eine EP (The Moths Of What I Want Will Eat Me In My Sleep/ 2018) veröffentlicht hat. Beide Platten lassen sich in kein klares Genre packen. Grungige Rocksongs mit schrägen Arrangements geben klassischen Singer-Songwriter Stücken die Klinke in die Hand.

Auch „Marrow“ zeigt dieses Spektrum. Ein beeindruckender, kräftiger Rocksong, mit emotionalem Gesang, der aber auch Platz für Dynamiken und ruhige Stellen lässt. Poetisch schlingert sich Hamilton um die Hindernisse des Lebens und man ist froh, dass man ihr dabei zuhören darf.

Bevor am 01. Februar nun die neue EP „Wisdom Teeth“ auf Hand In Hiveerscheint, veröffentlichte Hamilton letzte Woche die zweite Singleauskopplung „Blue Eyes“ von eben dieser EP.

"Blue Eyes" ist ausgelassener und verspielter als die Vorgänger-Single "Marrow". Mit schrägen Gitarren erinnert der Song an die Golden Indie-Zeiten, wirkt dabei aber keineswegs altbacken. Im Gegenteil. Hamilton selbst beschreibt den Song als eine Feier weiblicher Sinnlichkeit aus der Perspektive einer queeren Frau und erklärt: „Ich finde es sehr stark Weiblichkeit nicht durch den Blick eines Mannes, sondern durch den einer Frau zu beschreiben. Ich habe versucht diese Stärke in die kräftige Instrumentierung, die funky Basslinien und die poppigen Gesangsmelodien zu legen.“ 

("There’s something powerful to me about femininity being self-reflexive as opposed to being expressed through the male gaze. I tried to translate that grit and sass by going for heavier instrumentation, funky bass lines and pop vocal melodies.”)

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1. Neil Young - Philadelphia

I first heard this song from the film by the same name and was stunned. It has such a tender melody and the way Neil Young sings in his higher register really gives it a sense of vulnerability that drives the lyrics.

2. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy - I See A Darkness

Goddamn, this song will destroy you. It has a disarming honesty that’s as real as it gets. I’m thankful it exists to give solidarity and understanding to anyone who’s ever experienced that kind of annihilating depression, but with the conviction that there is always still hope.

3. Tom Waits - Take It With Me

This song is essentially a poem set to music. There’s a romanticism and deep melancholy to it that reminds you of every goodbye -- no matter how fleeting or final -- that you’ve ever had to make to your loved ones. Stunning.

4. Leonard Cohen - Avalanche

Oh man, this is probably Leonard Cohen as his most dark and acerbic. The guitar line just keeps rolling over and over you like heaps of snow. He comes with all his shadow, melancholy, bitterness and accusations. In short, the song’s five minutes of catharsis

5. Nirvana - Something In the Way

The closest thing to a dirge Kurt Cobain ever wrote. Infamously written about the time Kurt ran away from home and slept under a bridge in his hometown of Aberdeen, the song is full of loneliness, alienation and the innocence of a kid trying to navigate those feelings.

6. Billie Holiday - My Man

(This version in particular: ​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQlehVpcAes​ )

Only Billie Holiday could sing this song with so much depth and conviction. The first time I heard this particular version was off an old ‘Billie Holiday Sings the Blues’ vinyl I bought one autumn. It’s so self-aware and yet self-punishing all at once.

7. Angel Olsen - Unfucktheworld

Such a beautifully vulnerable song. I love how it taps into this idea of feeling your dreams and identity slowly becoming annihilated in loving someone else to the point where “​I have to look out too. / I have to save my life. / I need some peace of mind.”

8. Joni Mitchell - Little Green

This song was written about Joni Mitchell’s daughter who she gave up for adoption. Every time I hear it I stop in my tracks. There’s just so much tenderness, pain, love and poetry intertwined in both this song and entire ‘Blue’ record.

9. Charles Mingus - Moanin’

This song captures being miserable in style. All the moaning and groaning of life’s daily grind in one cacophonous place. Pop it on and get swept up for eight minutes.

10. Elliott Smith - Between the Bars

One of Elliott Smith’s finest songs. He always tuned a full step down on guitar and so many of his songs have this darker moodier tone to them that’s perfectly captured here. It’s incredible the intensity and intimacy he could create with so few elements.