Sunday, August 26, 2007

Summer Discovery: the Frames

I think the best band I started listening to this summer is definately The Frames. They've been popular in their native Ireland (& oddly enough the Czech Republic) for years, but haven't really translated that into success stateside. However, when former bandmate John Carney cast frontman Glen Hansard in his Sundance hit Once with Czech pianist Marketa Irglova, the soundtrack to the movie started climbing the charts and the band started getting much more attention.

Ever since I saw the movie, I've been collecting more and more of The Frames' music, as well as Hansard's solo work with Irglova (who he is now reportedly dating), and I really like the variety in their records. Hansard has a really great voice for the emotional songs that he writes, and the songs from the recording studio scenes in Once are the strongest I've ever seen in a movie about musicians. Here's a sample of their work:

This live version of "Fitzcarraldo," one of The Frames' best earlier songs, was recorded in Brno, Czech Republic. The song is based on the Werner Herzog film of the same name, about a man trying to bring a huge ship over a mountain in South America. The film was infamously difficult to complete, and the song is appropriately epic.

My favorite song on the Once soundtrack, "Fallen From the Sky", comes from the recording studio scenes, with Marketa Irglova playing a funky electronic children's toy to create the beeps in the background.

The solo record Hansard and Irglova recorded, The Swell Season, sports some interesting alternate versions of the songs found on the Once soundtrack (Falling Slowly, Leave, When Your Mind's Made Up) as well as a few other gems of their collaboration, such as the softly driving "Drown Out". The piano really gets me, as do the string interludes.

So there, enjoy a taste of The Frames. I'm still hard at work on a Best of Summer post, with the first likely to be up sometime around the end of the week.

The Frames - Fitzcarraldo(Live in Brno)
Glen Hansard - Fallen From the Sky
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - Drown Out

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