For young Tam-Lin is there.
February 16, 2011 9:08 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend me songs, bands, or compositions that evoke moods similar to those of nursery rhymes or fairy tales?

I know it's a bit of a vague question, and I'd rather not complicate things by trying to be over-specific. Ones that I'm working from right now: Faure's Pavane, Kate Bush's Cloudbusting, or Akira Kosemura's Garden — but there's quite a lot of variation between those three, too. I'm not going for a specific sound/genre, I'm going for the mood.

(No Sigur Ros or Jonsi, pretty please. :-) )
posted by Rory Marinich to Media & Arts (36 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Syd Barrett- era Pink Floyd. (And, um, just plain Syd Barrett.)

Beat Happening.

posted by Sys Rq at 9:18 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, and a lot of prog, especially King Crimson's first few records.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:20 PM on February 16, 2011

Perhaps this is too literal, but the B side of Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake is basically a fairy tale. It's awesome.
posted by phunniemee at 9:25 PM on February 16, 2011

Joanna. Effing. Newsom.
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:32 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Fantasy Man by the Swell Season.

I wouldn't say it's really all that similar to a fairy tail, but Marketa Irglova's voice is itself fantastical, ethereal, and fairy like.
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 9:37 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mahler gives me fairy-tale feelings sometimes! Try Symphony No. 4 (sleigh bells!) and the third movement of Symphony No. 1 (funereal Frère Jacques!).
posted by bewilderbeast at 9:45 PM on February 16, 2011

The Decemberists, especially their cd "The Hazards of Love."
posted by DisreputableDog at 9:57 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

The first thing I thought of was Hugo Largo's Drum, here's a song from it. Reminds me of the creepier fairy tales.
posted by grapesaresour at 10:01 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jonatha Brooke's Dog Dreams (which I believe has its origins in a Far Side panel) has a very sing-songy, nursey-rhymey chorus you might enjoy (and the subject matter is pretty whimsical, too).
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:09 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Decemberists.

Some of my choices are not based on ethereal sound but on clear, folk-lore-ish narritive within the song or specifically referencing fairy tale tropes. I'll try to be mindful of including ones on basis of sound as well but i tend to refer to things more by lyric structure if there are lyrics than musical sound.

Blanche, Dresden Dolls, Devotchka (if you're into russian fairy tales), some Tom Waits, Bat For Lashes, some Florence and the Machine songs, Neko Case, (esp. Fox Confessor Brings The Flood), Faun Fables, Cocteau Twins, Coco Rosie, Rasputina, The Tiger Lillies (ok really dark macabre fairy tales but still fairy tales) , Fever Ray, The Knife (specifically Silent Shout), Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Mono, Venetian Snares (specifically only the one with the weird hungarian name. Rosig Cillag... erm... I forget. Nothing else by him, but that particular CD happens to sound like a haunted house and be more accessable than his other work. ) Mum, Patrick Wolf (EXTREMELY HIGHLY RECOMENDED) , The Raconteurs, Smoke Fairies, Ruby Throat (kind of hard to find, side project of the lead singer of Queen Adreena)

hm. That's all I can think of right now but If i think of more i'll post again.
posted by RampantFerret at 10:25 PM on February 16, 2011

and maybe Dark Dark Dark
posted by RampantFerret at 10:28 PM on February 16, 2011

What about some Stolen Babies? For those kinds of fairy-tales where someone gets shoved in an oven.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:34 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Decemberists, especially their cd "The Hazards of Love."

Seconding the Decemberists, and I recommend">The Crane Wife, which is based on a Japanese folk tale and The Tain,based on Irish mythology - this may be too literal an answer though.

Seconding Donovan:
Hurdy Gurdy Man
posted by naoko at 10:37 PM on February 16, 2011

The Hopeless Opus or The Great Battle of The Unfriendly Ridiculous (Pt. 2)

Performed here by some dude, but from of Montreal's album Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies.
posted by carsonb at 10:39 PM on February 16, 2011

The Decemberists' older stuff, particularly their song Leslie Ann Levine, strikes me as more what I'm looking for than their later (Crane Wife/Hazards) work. The latter strikes me as more rock-operatic (telling a story, but strictly within the rock genre); in their earlier work, the music seems to be playing the parts of the characters more frequently, and so feels more like the stories their lyrics are telling. (Ditto Joanna Newsom — The Milk-Eyed Mender is closer to the kind of thing I'm looking for than Have One On Me.)

I'm loving a lot of this — grapesaresour, Hugo Largo is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. Thanks!
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:42 PM on February 16, 2011

The first song that came to my mind was "Family Tree" by Belle & Sebastian.
posted by TheCavorter at 10:48 PM on February 16, 2011

The soundtrack to Braid

Downstream by Shira Kammen
Lullaby Set by Shira Kammen and Pam Swan

Whole playlist here
posted by clearly at 10:55 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Anomoanon's 1998 album, "Mother Goose".

(Caution: album may contain Will Oldham and/or Will Oldham-like material. For external use only. May induce lameness and/or preciousness. Not recommended for people like me who hate Bonnie Prince Billy/Palace Songs/Brothers/Music as if it were our full-time jobs.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:59 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

This is exactly what the soundtrack to Pan's Labyrinth is for. The lullaby is the most recognizable, but the rest of the soundtrack is extremely good as well.
posted by flawsekno at 11:50 PM on February 16, 2011

Andreas Vollenweider, particularly the albums 'Eolian Minstrel' and 'Tales of Kira Kutan'. Led Zeppelin's 'Battle of Evermore'.
posted by goo at 11:56 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, stating the obvious probably, but there is Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.
posted by gudrun at 12:51 AM on February 17, 2011

Your mileage may vary but I like Волга (Volga), a Russian electro band. They evoke the kind of mood you describe, for me at least. They're eponymous first album is great.
posted by jonesor at 12:54 AM on February 17, 2011

Hurdy Gurdy Man

I was thinking more along the lines of Guinnevere and 3 Kingfishers, but, yeah.

And how about some Tyrannosaurus Rex?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:21 AM on February 17, 2011

Ahem. 3 Kingfishers.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:23 AM on February 17, 2011

A lot of Cocorosie's music has a dark fairytale sound.
posted by Paris Elk at 1:45 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm thinking Okkervil River, especially some of the stuff from Black Sheep Boy like A Stone or So Come Back, I Am Waiting. Or A King and A Queen, or Another Radio Song...that whole album has a kind of fairytale feel I think.
posted by celerity at 3:22 AM on February 17, 2011

Lovely question!

Raspunita's Dig Ophelia, Iron and Wine and Calexico's He Lays In The Reins, The Essex Green's Slope Song, Immaculate Machine's Northeastern Wind, and Katrinah Josephina by Universal Hall Pass invoke this to me.
posted by NoraReed at 3:39 AM on February 17, 2011

The Princess Bride soundtrack by Mark Knopfler. So much more than the theme song.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:36 AM on February 17, 2011

I immediately thought of the Ghost Bees, specifically the album Tasseomancy... trust me! You've probably never heard of them, since they play smallish shows here in Canada, but their aesthetic has always reminded me a bit of a fairy tale world mixed with a grandmother's attic. They are twin sisters who both sing and at they play mandolin and banjo sitting next to a crystal ball and their merch table is covered in doilies, and you would expect them to be at least a little bit strange, but then they talk between songs and they are completely funny and down to earth. So yeah. You probably didn't need all that info, but I urge you to check them out!
posted by to recite so charmingly at 8:10 AM on February 17, 2011

Oh, also if you want to listen to their songs, you will have good luck finding them on you tube.
posted by to recite so charmingly at 8:14 AM on February 17, 2011

Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit
The Incredible String Band - The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
Lark Rise Revisited - Review.
posted by adamvasco at 8:53 AM on February 17, 2011

Sorry for the lack of links but these are probably all up on YouTube.

Lisa Germano has some songs that have evoked that sort of nursery rhyme/fairytale feel to me. "Wood Floors," "Guillotine," and "From a Shell" especially.

Seconding Ruby Throat. "Ghost Boy" and "The Swan and the Minotaur" for starters.

Marissa Nadler - "Little Hells," "Sylvia," assorted pieces from her album Songs III: Bird on the Water.

Tori Amos - "Merman"
posted by wondermouse at 10:57 AM on February 17, 2011

Some Nana Grizol songs have that fairytale/singsong rhyming quality, what comes to mind at first thought are Atoms and Motion In The Ocean
posted by DeltaZ113 at 1:38 PM on February 17, 2011

Gypsy by Suzanne Vega
The Chain by Ingrid Michaelson
Song to the Siren by This Mortal Coil
Sweet Baby James by James Taylor
I Love the Rain the Most by Joe Purdy
posted by jitterbug perfume at 5:59 PM on February 17, 2011

Song to the Siren by This Mortal Coil

That's a cover. (It is very good, though.) The original is by Tim Buckley.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:17 PM on February 17, 2011

Eels - Electro Shock Blues album. (And maybe Daisies of the Galaxy too.)
Neutral Milk Hotel - King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1
Sufjan Stevens - Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois, and Decatur, and Casimir Pulaski Day.
White Stripes - We're Going to be Friends.
Modest Mouse - Wild Packs of Family Dogs.
Many many tracks from They Might Be Giants (including some actual childrens albums),
and a whole bunch of older Phish - Bouncing Around the Room and Fluffhead, for example.
posted by D.Billy at 9:36 PM on February 24, 2011

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