Gather yourselves together, warm up your ears, and give this installment of the Urchin Mix Tape a good listening to!
Last weekend I attended the Angsjöns Musikfestival in northern Sweden and saw a performance by the exquisitely-voiced Skatorna aka Lina Högström. Unfortunately, she just released her debut album this spring and doesn’t yet have much of an online presence. This video is from a 2010 performance, and both her vocal and instrumental abilities have improved hundredfold since.
When she began her set at the festival, I was quite far from the stage, but I froze the moment I heard her voice and became transfixed. With an ethereal voice reminiscent of Björk and masterful guitar-playing reminiscent of Ani DiFranco, Skatorna is producing beautiful music and has the potential for huge international success. She is also the violinist of the eight-person band Djuriskt, a somewhat bluesy and country take on Arcade Fire that only needs to improve its vocal performances.
This isn’t so much a music recommendation as it is a video recommendation. Tom Waits has been around for decades now, but he’s very much your unconventional mainstream musician, especially in that he may not even be a mainstream musician. He was never the type of musician to appear on MTV and he never did, yet throughout his career he managed to build a wide and deserving audience. To me he holds mysterious fame; I never know, upon meeting someone, whether they’d be a huge Tom Waits fan or have never listened to a single song of his before. It is usually one or the other.
This video is as mysteriously perfect as Tom Waits is. I have no idea when this was filmed. It was most likely filmed sometime in the 1980s, when the album Heartattack and Vine was released, but it looks as though it could’ve been filmed in the seventies or even the twenties. The grainy footage is perfectly shot, with a rough aesthetic so beautiful that it is often imitated to varying degrees of success nowadays. The atmosphere, dark and junky, suits the song and the artist so well that it is almost like watching a short film. So sit back, pop about six kernels of popcorn, and enjoy.