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I saw Sigur Ros last night at Festival Hall and I can’t quite bring myself to write about it yet. It was, of course, absolutely amazing, but I want to do the whole thing justice so I think I’ll let the experience percolate for a while and attempt a review tomorrow.

Meanwhile, sink your teeth into this one. Canadian Chad VanGaalen is a master of DIY indie rock who kicked things off with a smattering of homemade CDs complete with his own hand drawn art before being signed with US label Sub Pop in 2005. While I haven’t had a chance to check him out properly, I’ve been loving ‘Willow Tree’, a track I picked up around the traps during the last month or so. The twanging banjo is deceptively simple and provides the backbone to a gradually building track that is uplifting despite its somewhat fatalistic lyrics.

Sleep all day just waiting for the sun to set
I hang my clothes up on the line
When I die I’ll hang my head beside the willow tree
When I’m dead is when I’ll be free
And you can take my body
Put it in a boat
Light it on fire
You can use the kerosene
Take my body
Put in a boat
Light it on fire
Send it out to sea

Willow Tree – Chad VanGaalen

The body floating in the boat imagery reminds me of John William Waterhouse’s painting The Lady of Shalott, which is of course inspired by Tennyson’s epic poem of the same name. The willow references may also have something to do with it!

Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And around about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right —
The leaves upon her falling light —
Thro’ the noises of the night,
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Isn’t it lovely? You can check out the full version here.

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