Jasper Sloan Yip “Post Meridiem” (Afterlife Music/Membran, 2017)

‘Post Meridiem’ is the third full length release from Canadian-based Jasper Sloan Yip and finds the singer-songwriter expand on and further refine the sound he found on his two previous releases ‘Every Day And All At Once’ and the follow-up, 2013’s ‘Foxtrot’. The record begins with a slow, brooding cello intro which gradually builds into the first real track The Day Passed and the Sun Went Down which successfully explores, and experiments with, different dynamics throughout the track and is an early indication of what is to follow. Journeying through quiet verses and a more upbeat, louder chorus eventually climaxing in a brilliant guitar solo, the track is an early highlight on a solid record. Immediately following, is Strangers, an ethereal, piano-led ballad, again, utilising the versatility in his voice to create an impressive falsetto chorus and it is clear that Yip’s talents are most prominent within the realms of these mid-tempo ballads. Continue reading “Jasper Sloan Yip “Post Meridiem” (Afterlife Music/Membran, 2017)”

Great Willow “Find Yourself in Los Angeles” (Sedan Zero Records 2017)

In their debut album Great Willow have managed to recreate and update the sound of the California canyons in the sixties. The reference is there to the 60’s sounds of (amongst others) the Byrds and the singing of Gene Clark. Great Willow are James Coombs and Erin Hawkins, with their exquisite harmony singing and with them are Rich McCulley playing guitar, and Ed Barguirena on drums. And, throughout, the mariachi horns, providing what is, at times, almost a “Tex-Mex” feel. Continue reading “Great Willow “Find Yourself in Los Angeles” (Sedan Zero Records 2017)”

Coal Minor Canary “The 3:42 EP” (Coal Minor Canary, 2017)

I’m down with the legendary Quentin Crisp. The great man once said that “There is no need to do any housework, because after four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse.” I agree wholeheartedly. Just what is it with dust? You wipe it up. Then, a few days later, you have to do it again. Where does the bloody stuff come from? Crisp also said: “I never spend time doing anything today that I’ll have to do tomorrow.” What a great philosophy. Perhaps if I was a Canary flying through the trees, I would be liberated from the mundane task of housework. David Hage is a singer-songwriter from North Eastern Pennsylvania who records under the moniker of Coal Minor Canary. He knows a thing or two about dust: coal dust. He describes his tunes as being “dusty, black diamond music.” Continue reading “Coal Minor Canary “The 3:42 EP” (Coal Minor Canary, 2017)”

The Deep Dark Woods “Yarrow” Six Shooter Records, 2017

These are the same deep dark woods that the Handsome Family walk through combing for tales of mealy bugs or familial murder. On Fallen Leaves, Ryan Boldt does a passable impersonation of Brett with his sonorous voice intoning a tale told in images that seem cut and pasted from the Handsome’s songbook, natural imagery and unnatural death. An atmosphere of foreboding penetrates Deep Flooding Waters, the pace suggesting that the flooding is incremental, death by inches, the steel guitar solo passing by like flotsam bobbing on the surface whilst down below the tragedy unfolds. Continue reading “The Deep Dark Woods “Yarrow” Six Shooter Records, 2017”

J Roddy Walston & The Business “Destroyers of the Soft Life” (ATO Records, 2017)

Despite a passing resemblance to The Kings of Leon, Walston and his cohorts lay down a high-energy rollicking version of rock and roll. An unabashed, unashamed assault, always pushing melodies to the front, the guitars always moving forwards, the vocals a tuneful yelp – it’s a vinyl version of poppers. You Know Me Better or Numbers both rush out of the blocks like an untamed bronco, wrestled by Walton’s vocals into a bucking rousing beast of a song. Continue reading “J Roddy Walston & The Business “Destroyers of the Soft Life” (ATO Records, 2017)”

Grant Earl Lavalley “From Lavalley Below” (Exit Stencil, 2017)

Having a vinyl LP to review is a great treat, but such subjective fascinations won’t cloud any impartiality hereabouts. Much. Grant Earl Lavelly as a musical whole, pretty much sums up ‘brooding Americana’. An Ohio native, now working on his craft in the Joshua Tree Desert, complete with long beard and dishevelled clothing fitting of his wild abode. He’s described as a Gothic Gene Clark or a desert dwelling Will Oldham. Both of which seem appropriate. Continue reading “Grant Earl Lavalley “From Lavalley Below” (Exit Stencil, 2017)”

Jon Boden “Afterglow” (Hudson Records, 2017)

Jon Boden is of course a significant figure in the English folk scene – Spiers & Boden set a new benchmark for duo’s to meet, Bellowhead became a major label crossover band, and his legendary Folk Song a Day project was a landmark contribution towards a singing revival. Constantly pushing at boundaries his solo output indulges wider interests, as here on Afterglow the second of a putative trio of post-apocalypse albums that was initiated with 2009’s Songs from the Floodplain. Continue reading “Jon Boden “Afterglow” (Hudson Records, 2017)”