Liam McCormick’s recommendation: “I love so many different kinds of music and so many different artists, that being asked to chose just one artist that moves me is an extremely hard task. Where does one start? I could talk about a number of well known artists like Miles Davis, Cursive, Claude Debussy, Kings of Convenience, Damien Rice, Feist, and so on, but I think it is more important to talk about an artist that is less known, that deserves recognition. So, my band of choice is a small group out of Stockholm called The Tiny.
One of my best friends is an amazing Swede named Lars, and because of our friendship I’ve had the privilege of being exposed to a ton of Swedish artists. Many of them are relatively unknown in the states. I first fell in love with The Tiny during a vacation in Ireland. We were driving through a dark, wooded area around the small western village of Innestoge when we decided to throw their debut album, Close Enough, on the stereo. As cliché as it sounds, as soon the first note was sung, time seemed irrelevant, like we were the only thing that mattered at that moment. Like we’d been plucked up out of our moving car and were being spoken to individually. We didn’t speak until about 15 minutes after the record finished, once we’d had time to process how the music mixed with the scenery had changed us.
Where do you begin with The Tiny? A small band of three, The Tiny carry a perfectly balanced sound. I guess I should start with their vocalist. There is something so hauntingly beautiful about Ellekari Larsson’s tone and delivery. If you’ve ever heard a Swede sing in English, the accent is amazing. It’s hard to place, sometimes sounding Irish in nature… but there is a clean, and trebly snap in the way they articulate words that make lyrics really hit you. Ellekari’s voice has a Billie Holiday-meets-Bjork tone quality, and she sings with such cautious passion that you can almost hear her heart breaking. Then, there are the equally amazing instrumentalists that help tell The Tiny’s stories. Ellekari plays piano and sometimes the pump organ, Leo Svensson plays the cello mainly, but has been also featured playing the glockenspiel and the saw, and finally, there is their double bassist, Johan Berthling. The record also features violin and viola on a few tracks.”
New to Tiny? Liam suggests you start here: “Due to their bass-heavy instrumentation, the music on Close Enough has an amazing tonal gap between the vocals and the instruments, which allows the listener to pick up every note that each player strikes. The album is recorded live, so there is a high level of musicianship exhibited by the band. Additionally, all of the clicks and breaths that are usually removed from the final product are left untouched, which makes the songs sound extremely vulnerable and organic. It is dramatic music like this – music that takes me to another place or time – that truly enables me to write the music that I write. Listen to The Tiny while driving at twilight and try not to skip any tracks. You won’t regret it.”
About our guest author, Liam McCormick: Liam is the lead singer for The Family Crest, a West Coast collective that takes a unique stab at making music. Liam started the group on 2007 with the idea of making music with virtually anyone, anywhere. Recording sessions take place in bars, churches, streets and other unconventional locations and session players include friends, fans, non-musicians…anyone who happens to be in the right place at the right time. The resulting lineup has swelled to over two hundred and fifty ‘Extended Family Members’ participating in recordings, live performances, and media projects. The songs are full sounding and expertly orchestrated, making best use of every stringed melody and back up holler. Bay Bridged recently said of the band, “…they take their earnest, anthemic cue from The Arcade Fire, but the presence of so many string and wind instruments and the talents of frontman Liam McCormick put them on a unique frequency.” The media has latched on to the group, helping fuel a series of sold out club shows and landing them a live performance on KEXP in Seattle. The buzz is sure to continue to build as the group is gearing up for SXSW and will release their new album, The Village in March. Be sure to check the The Crest Family website for pre-order info for that record, tour dates and more.
MP3: North by The Family Crest from The Village