This is a nice way to start a wet Monday morning. Amelia White’s new album “Rhythm of the Rain” which we recently described as “East Nashville’s finest at the top of her game” is out in the UK on October 27th and she’s shared with us the title track from that record, telling AUK: “This song came to me in my month-long tour of the UK in July of 2016. I was based in a small attic room of a promoter and friend. By day I listened to the news from the U.S. via the BBC – the great divide in our country, the racial tensions, and the salacious ramp up to the election were all quite disturbing – playing music always turned the pain into something good, and crawling up into that room late at night and falling asleep to the peaceful sound of the rain on the skylight was a tonic to me.” Had Amelia known the way the rest of the year was going to work out she might have needed a gin with that tonic.
Honeywater is the new single from London-based psych folk outfit The Hanging Stars, taken from their forthcoming second album “Songs From Somewhere Else” due next year. Taking cues from both sides of the Atlantic, the quartet mainline the dying embers of the early 70s psychedelic folk and cosmic country scenes, transforming them into an absolutely lovely piece of music, with echoes of Gram Parsons and Big Star which opens with a mesmerising steel guitar riff and ends somewhere else entirely. Plus water would be a lot less boring if it tasted of honey.
We mentioned Tegan And Sara’s star-studded “The Con X: Covers” album a couple of weeks back which is due later this month, and today the duo has plonked Ryan Adams’ version of “Back In Your Head” online which is catchy, rocky and as full of energy as anything you might expect from Adams when he’s having one of his more wired days.
Dream Giant is the alter ego of London based musician and producer Harry Dean, whose debut album “A Different Light” will be released on 17th November by Paisley Parade Records. It will be preceded by the release of the single Every Song which we’re premiering today here on AUK, an uplifting track with big choruses – a bit more poppy than we usually go for but we’re a sucker for bold boy/girl vocal harmonies. The closely intertwining voices in the final verse are loaded with both yearning and hope: ‘There’s a darkness – no denying, but we’ll try’ which could be the theme for this year’s Conservative Party conference.
Swedish folkericana duo First Aid Kit have released a new single taken from their forthcoming as yes untitled album which they talked to Paste about: “We went to Los Angeles last spring and spent five weeks there writing. It was a tough time for the both of us. We were in this beautiful, sunny place but mostly felt sad and lonely. ‘It’s a Shame’ is a song about the emptiness and desperation you feel after a relationship has come to an end, how you will go to great lengths just to numb the pain and feel less lonely.”
If there’s a prize going for the deepest, growliest, vocal, then Louis Brennan is in the running for it. His vocal is responsible for giving a well full of gravitas to the London-based Dubliner’s new single Bit Part Actor. It’s a modern folk song that revels in a familiar world weariness “I watched the narrative fade right off the page / I watched my friends grow up and grow apart, grow cynical with age” which then crystallises into an anguishing personal insight “on Sunday morning 27th July / I woke up from a nightmare and I wanted so to die / I saw every opportunity that ever passed me by / There in your cold blue eyes”.
Carolina is a track from the debut album, Last Man Standing, from growly voiced folk-rocker Brother Roy. It’s a superb funky groove with touches of Levon Helm and Dr John in the vocal whilst the keyboards take their lead from Al Kooper’s mid-sixties work with Dylan. It’s a truly classic sound from an artist who unashamedly confesses to influences like Harry Nilsson, The Beatles, The Band, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young – a familiar name-check list for sure but rather refreshingly Brother Roy writes and sings songs that sound like he actually has been influenced by ’em. Rolling and rollicking it’s a good time encapsulated.
“Fight At The End” is the first single from Chris J Connolly’s sophomore album “Moving Maps” which comes out next month. The track draws from elements of americana, folk, and pop, interlacing guitar textures, harmonies and melody into a reflection on an earlier time in his life. In Connolly’s words: “Fight At The End is about perseverance. It’s about fighting, even if everything seems to tell you that you will lose. I guess it’s about human instinct and survival as much as it is about love. But then, maybe they are one and the same thing.” I’m a Celebrity… notwithstanding of course.
The Barr Brothers have shared the title track from their forthcoming album which is worryingly described as “anthemic” but is actually a lovely very melodic piece of music. The album, the band’s first in three years, will be released on October 13th, and they have just announced too that they’ll be supporting The War On Drugs for a mostly sold out 17 date run of UK and European dates in November. ‘Queens of the Breakers’ takes its name from The Breakers, a Vanderbilt mansion perched atop Newport, Rhode Island’s rocky coastline, where as teenagers, brothers Brad and Andrew Barr were part of a mischievous group of friends that would descend upon Newport dressed in their mothers’ clothing. Kind of WH Davies meets Danny La Rue.
Valparaiso release their debut album ‘Broken Homeland’ tomorrow and they’ve shared the track Bury My Body from the record with us which features some striking vocals from Shannon Wright. The Parisian musical collective deriving from the cult band Jack The Ripper also features the voices and poetry of Phoebe Killdeer of Nouvelle Vague, Howe Gelb, Spain’s Josh Haden, Dominique A, Moriarty’s Rosemary Standley, Venus’ Marc Huyghens, Mansfield Tya’s Julia Lanoë, and is recorded, mixed and produced by John Parish. Look out for a tour soon with different guests each night (we’d lay money down one of them won’t be Ronan Keating).