From the corner of my eye
' Do you know what keeps this job satisfying? It's receiving something new to listen to, and in this instance it's by Us & Them. John from Mega Dodo kindly sent me a link to download their new single to be released shortly by the label. Many thanks again John!
I can become seriously lost in a reverie while I listen to this Swedish duo. Britt has one of the most beautiful voices. The music by Anders is sparse, but every instrument is well arranged. I can kick back and follow their songs forever.
Outside my window at the moment, Spring is slowly appearing. There's a hint of colour on the ground, but the trees are bare. There's a glint of sunshine. I'm listening to the new single and I'm amazed at how in tune with the season Us & Them put me, and they do this all year round, whatever release of theirs I listen to. Wonderful! I think I may have said all this before in a previous entry, but this is how they make me feel. I'm also too old to care if this makes me a hippy!
What of the new single? There are two tracks on the vinyl with a download code to receive two more, so four new tracks in total. A taster for their forthcoming album if you like. 'From The Corner Of My Eye', a new Us & Them track, has a reflective lyric but Britt remains defiant. It's backed by a cover of Woolly Wolstenholme's 'The Iron Maiden'. A tasteful arrangement featuring flute (or is it a Mellotron?) and even bells, I think! The songs available for download are 'When Life Begins', another new track, that reminds me of Nico a little in Britt's phrasing (with a wonderful uplifting harpsichord(?) passage) plus a version of Bowie's 'All The Madmen', not as sinister sounding as the original, but just as effective. Two vocals on 'Madmen' and I'm pretty sure there's a flute and Mellotron on board this time. Us & Them's arrangements are so subtle my ears can't always tell, or am I still lost in reverie?
I'm happy I listened.
Previewing Us and Them's upcoming On Shipless Ocean album, "From the Corner of My Mind" follows in what has long been a tradition for this most enchanting of modern combos, a four song EP that mixes the possibly-familiar with original material, then dares you to choose which is which.
True, half the package is available as bonus downloads alone, but they are worth the bandwidth. First, the duo's own "When Life Begins" soars on augmented classic folksong wings, before Bowie's "All the Madmen" sends the eerie dislocation of the original soaring into the red, not only in terms of delivery, but also execution. Play it, you'll see.
"From the Corner of My Eye," too, startles, a haunted ballad with Britt Ronnholm's vocal hung as mysterious as the lyric, to conjure up a fission that a monochrome cover of Barclay James Harvest's "The Iron Maiden" only enhances. On this form, the album cannot come quickly enough.
Bliss / Aquamarine
New single from Swedish psych-folk project Us and Them, available as a limited edition 2-song 7″ or 4-song download. From the Corner of My Eye is a taster for their forthcoming album On Shipless Ocean, and combines a traditional-style folk melody with a luxurious and atmospheric arrangement. The Iron Maiden was written by Woolly Wolstenholme (Barclay James Harvest/Maestoso), and sets airy folk-tinged pop to lilting flute, delicate acoustic guitar and ethereal keyboards. When Life Begins is a beautiful slice of folk-pop wrapped within lush accompaniment with strings, harpsichord and shimmering spacey synth. Final track is a cover of David Bowie's All the Madmen, pairing Middle Eastern flourishes with cosmic synth burblings. Very lovely stuff - available 20th April
The Sunday experience
On limited issue through mega dodo, featuring two original pens and two covers, Us and Them give hint of wonders to come this May when full length 'on shipless ocean' is released. In terms of tracks heard thus far this year, only Beautify Junkyards' incoming on Ghost Box demurs in equal grace and poise. Measured, mercurial and mesmeric, Us and Them court a breathless lightness of touch to this quaint quartet of shy eyed gems, the dizzying genteel baroque folk waltzing of 'when life begins' and the seductively spacey psychedelic tethering applied to Bowie's 'all the madman' are pressed with such exquisite mastery as to be strong enough to individually grace an A side in their own right. That said it's to a cover of Barclay James Harvest's 'the iron maiden' and 'from the corner of my eye' - a teaser from the previously aforementioned full length happening that rightly vie for affection here, the former a slice of sweet enchantment twinkled and romanced in a close intimacy that's hushed to the spectral allure of ghostly garlands, whilst just edging it, the lead track fixes you in beguilement concocting a softly stirred spell craft whose timeless tapestry is turned in an ancient folk tongue dappled in floral posies woven into a dream like mirage, a transfixing turntable delight in a pressing of just 250 copies.
Us And Them are Sweden's Britt and Anders, and this single will be released in April by Mega Dodo in 250 copies! Us And Them are friends of folk, add some acid or psychedelic elements and offer us beautiful and special music. This single, on the first side, has the wonderful and unique pop/folk track from the corner of my eye and on the other hand a very good performance on the iron maiden, original by Wolly Wolstenholme (Moody Blues). There are two more songs when life begins and the excellent adaptation to all the madmen of David Bowie, which can be downloaded by anyone who gets this cool 7΄΄!!
Extremely interesting (and) this new release of the US and Τhem!!
his is a brand-new 7″ by my favourite Swedish psych folk duo Us and Them. As always with Mega Dodo this is a limited edition release and there are only 250 hand-numbered copies made. The actual 7″ has just two beautiful, emotional songs but the download has two more. The melancholic title track "From the Corner of My Eye" is perhaps the one I love the most: it really is touching and pretty. Nice acoustic guitar and organ, slow drum beat, simple bass and amazing female vocals, what else do you need? Okay, some string sounds in the chorus and more instrumentation later on, of course! Just wonderful. On the B-side, "The Iron Maiden" has a more traditional folk vibe that I also really like. I didn't even first realise that it's a 1970 Barclay James Harvest cover.
The download includes one more original and one cover song. The just over two-minute "When Life Begins" has a more positive mood and David Bowie's "All The Madmen" has received a very cool folky Us and Them treatment. This one also features guests on flute and drums. Too bad that these bonus tracks are not on the vinyl, since they would have fitted on 33 1/3 RPM. Get this 7″ soon before it's gone and while you're at it, the new full-length On Shipless Ocean is also now on pre-sale so you can get them both at the same time to save on postage!
House of prog
Us and Them are back with another folktastic single for your third favourite record label. The follow-up to last year's When I Was Walking finds Us and Them returning with four, yes count them four!, cracking wistful acid tinged songs. From the corner of my eye is taken from their forthcoming album (May release date) On Shipless Ocean. The Iron maiden makes up the second side of the 7-inch. When life begins and All the madman are available as bonus downloads. All of them are beautiful, timeless songs with more hocks than you'll find in your local B&Q.