Better Oblivion Community Center “Better Oblivion Community Center” (Dead Oceans, 2019)

Phoebe Bridgers is definitely not one to shy away from collaborations. After finishing a tour with female supergroup, Boygenius, she turned her attention to working with Bright Eyes main man, Conor Oberst. Sometimes these collaboration projects can feel a little bit half-cocked and can sometimes sound like the artist’s work that wasn’t good enough to make the cut on their own albums. Thankfully this album doesn’t follow suit. Featuring musicians from Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and Jack White’s band, the pair have gone all out to create what really is a treat for your ears. Continue reading “Better Oblivion Community Center “Better Oblivion Community Center” (Dead Oceans, 2019)”

AmericanA to Z – Carolina Chocolate Drops

It’s easy to think that the Carolina Chocolate Drops were all about “reclaiming the banjo” and taking back a strand of American vernacular music of the 19th and early 20th centuries that had been culturally appropriated.  And, despite the band members protestations to the contrary  in interviews there is surely something to that – for here’s a strand of folk music that had been debased through vaudeville and beyond.  Hard to credit but our own cultural bastion that is the BBC was still putting out the unbelievable abomination that was ‘The Black and White Minstrel Show‘ as recently as 1978.  Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Carolina Chocolate Drops”

The Mostar Diving Club “Lovely Bones” – Listen

The Mostar Diving Club is the work of writer, composer and lead singer Damian Katkhuda, who first came to prominence fronting cult indie folk band Obi in the early 2000s.  The latest single ‘Lovely Bones’ is taken from his fourth album ‘Here Comes Joy’ and features jangly guitars, cellos, choirs and mellotrons all combining to create an intimate musical landscape over which Damian Katkhuda reveals the wisdom of fatherhood.  And, if you can’t hear subtle hints of ‘Scarborough Fair‘ then you’d best listen again.

Deer Tick “Mayonnaise” (Partisan Records, 2019)

Deer Tick, the mercurial Rhode Island indie outfit, have long been multi-labelled with Rock/Folk/Blues/Country tags but they don’t feel they have the drawl for the latter. Well my Providence friends, this is Americana UK, and you gentlemen are Americana at its finest, whether you like it or not. This latest release is proof once more, that this genre is a multi-faceted and exciting one and, in ‘Mayonnaise’, is being finely represented. Continue reading “Deer Tick “Mayonnaise” (Partisan Records, 2019)”

Birds Of Chicago + Salthouse @Celtic Connections, Drygate, Glasgow, 31st January 2018

Long time AUK favourites Birds Of Chicago flew into Glasgow as Celtic Connections was nearing the end of its run. With core members, Allison Russell and JT Nero accompanied by the acclaimed producer and wizard guitar player Steve Dawson, the trio’s show was heart-warming and uplifting. Russell and Nero are a delight to see and hear. Their chalk and cheese voices (hers sweet and melodious, his, a sandpapered drawl) combine wonderfully with a definite sense of soul in its essence while the songs flow wonderfully with elements of bluegrass, folk, Celtic and Gospel all entwined. Continue reading “Birds Of Chicago + Salthouse @Celtic Connections, Drygate, Glasgow, 31st January 2018”

Josh Ritter “Old Black Magic” – Listen

Exciting news that Josh Ritter is returning with his tenth album, ‘Fever Breaks‘.   If the first single is a guide – and we’ve a feeling it is – then ‘Fever Breaks’ is going to be Josh Ritter’s rockiest album since ‘Historical Conquests‘.  Some of this sound could just be due to the presence of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit.  Could this, already,  be a taster for the album of the year ?  You know what, it just might be.

Americana Music Fest 29th January, Hackney, London

Organised by the Americana Music Association UK (AMAUK), the showcase runs at five Hackney Central venues over two nights, culminating in the awards ceremony at hackney Empire on the third evening. It’s a fairly massive undertaking, with almost 60 bands or artists performing half hour sets over the two showcase nights. It links in with the AMAUK music conference, an opportunity for all those involved in this area of the music business to come together and discuss how to promote a genre which it’s fair to say no-one can definitely describe. Continue reading “Americana Music Fest 29th January, Hackney, London”

The Mekons announce new album for March – Listen

Leaving you this weekend dear reader with news that British folk-punk collective The Mekons will release a new album ‘Deserted’ on March 29th via our friends at Bloodshot, their first formal studio album since 2011’s Ancient & Modern.  Emboldened by a sold-out tour and a surge of interest in the States after the release of the documentary Revenge of the Mekons, the Mekons retreated to the fringes of Joshua Tree National Park and popular culture to record their new album. Singer/guitarist Jon Langford said of the recording experience: Continue reading “The Mekons announce new album for March – Listen”