Si & Lisbee

goldsmithsHello, lovely readers. Before I begin, I want to let you know that from now on, Eric and I will be posting THRICE a week (I have been looking for a way to work the word “thrice” into my everyday conversation for so long) instead of four times–once me, once him, and once either a guest post or Follow An Indie Band Wednesday highlights. Don’t despair, because three times a week will be perfect for all of us! I would also like to let you know that you, my friend, YOU are perfect for a guest submission. No seriously, you are, so send them along: the.indie.handbook@gmail.com. On Wednesday, we’ll be posting from Dan Holloway of Year Zero Writers, who is heading up the Free-e-day we’ve mentioned before, and will no doubt keep mentioning.  We’re trying to convince Libby of the Poptimist to write us something, but she’s being really slow about it (Libby!).  So, get excited and make sure to tune in on Wednesday!

Tonight, I’m focusing on two artists who both attend(ed) Goldsmiths College in Southeast London. The only way I can think to describe Goldsmiths for readers in the States is as a cross between the top-notch, cutting-edge musical training one would experience at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and the free thought and open-minded discussion one would find at the New School in New York City. With this combination, it’s no surprise that incredible young artists emerge from Goldsmiths every year with a strong grasp on the technical aspects of their art as well as the deep philosophy, history, and emotion behind it. I love listening to artists from Berklee and from Goldsmiths for just this reason. Si Cliff and Lisbee Stainton are no exceptions.

We’ll start with Si Cliff… Si could be classified, I guess, as acoustic rock, and while I can’t decide if my favorite thing about his music is his seriously brilliant technique or his honest lyrics, they definitely lend well to each other. It isn’t often that you come across a songwriter so quick to offer vulnerable and personal lyrics, be it through storytelling or just plain confession, to the point where you as a listener hear your own story is being told. On top of that, and probably due to a combination of fantastic training at Goldsmiths and an abundance of talent, the structure and sounds of each song are incredibly well-crafted, and Si’s guitar-playing is excellent. There’s a lot of pure goodness here. My favorites from his recordings are “Memories”–especially with the awesome instrumental solo in the middle–and “Start Again.” Oh yeah, and did I mention he has a great voice and a great accent? Well, consider it mentioned.

And gee whiz, speaking of honesty, can we get some more? Lisbee Stainton my other recently-discovered Goldsmiths singer/songwriter who also seems to be really in tune with…I don’t know, life?…and seems to be more than willing, as I always want artists to be, to share her thoughts and feelings and cares. Artists like this make me feel more okay about being who I am and living my life. Anyway, on her myspace, I cannot pick a favorite song…at least not based in any kind of objectivity. I love “Just Like Me,” because, well, do I really need to talk about my twentysomething confusion again? It resonates. Also, “Girl on an Unmade Bed” is quite beautiful. The thing is, the Miss Lisbee Stainton brand of folk rock will charm you with its absolute loveliness and honesty–and can you deny that you’re looking for more loveliness and honesty in your life? No. Don’t deny it.

Listen and love it. Also, if you’re from Goldsmiths or Berklee or some other place and you want us to listen to your music, we totally will.

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6 thoughts on “Si & Lisbee

  1. The best way to describe Goldsmiths for people in the States is “the place Blur met” 🙂

    It’s funny, actually, because here on the other side of the water we think of Goldsmiths as an art college rather than a music one. It was at the heart of the Young British Artists movement in the 90s (hmm. the art/music Goldmsiths crossover should have been amazing.. Indeed we did get Opie’s famous portrait of Blur, but the one we really remember is Fat Les…), which I think made its biggest splash in the States when the Sensation exhibition came to the Guggenheim.

  2. I left Blur out for just that reason, haha, I’m sure Goldsmiths students get tired of hearing it. Also, I didn’t emphasize the art side as much because while in the end I would probably call Goldsmiths an art college, they really seem to be at the cutting edge of most of the fine and performing arts. Also, what made the college unique to me while I was there was not only the art emphasis, but the way of thinking.

    It’s a great place…

  3. Ooh, you were AT Goldsmiths. Whoa! Serious respect. I chaired a panel at a conference last month with an amazing Goldsmiths lecturer:
    http://www.uel.ac.uk/ghosts/davidmabb.htm

    You’re right about the way of thinking from what I remember of him, and his amazing talk on Lithuanian carpets. There’s a kind of refusal to accept boundaries, a refusal to see anything but culture and everything as culture, that frees up so many connections (Hmm, I guess that brings us back to Fat Les…).

    On the Blur subject, I run into Alex in the supermarket quite a bit – he makes his cheese just up the road from us 🙂

  4. Now that is cool. I have some serious respect for Alex James. If you ever talk to him, let him know that I thought his Cocaine Diaries documentary was brilliant.

  5. I’m not sure how well it would travel 🙂 Then again, it may improve… His plain goats cheese, Farleigh Wallop, is amazing. And his blue cheese, Blue Monday is something else – AND it’s named after a New Order song. It was funny seeing him on stage at Hyde Park being a rock star – the previous time I’d seen him he was in a shop discussing the relative merits of Charlie and Lola and Teletubbies as bedtime reading material…

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