Radiator King “Roll The Dice” (SoundEvolution Records, 2019)

‘Roll The Dice’ is the latest release from Brooklynite Radiator King (aka Adam Silvestri). His first release since 2017’s ‘A Hollow Triumph After All’, Silvestri has established himself amongst the latest wave of earnest songwriters who have been brought up on punk, but perform Americana-inspired rock and roll and this latest EP is more of the same. Continue reading “Radiator King “Roll The Dice” (SoundEvolution Records, 2019)”

Ryan Farmer “Just Another Night” (Independent, 2019)

‘Just Another Night’, the debut record from Nottingham-based singer-songwriter Ryan Farmer wastes little time in giving the listener a precise idea of what to expect for the next forty minutes. Within the first sixty seconds of the excellently-titled ‘She Can Do Everything (But Fall In Love With Me)’, he ticks all the old-time country cliché boxes, as he sings of turning his back to Jesus, copious amounts of whiskey, and an elusive lover. The track is akin to the classic country sound which has been popularised by the likes of Joshua Hedley et al in recent times and despite the themes which have been heard before a million times or more, the track is charming enough to ingratiate itself amongst their standards. Continue reading “Ryan Farmer “Just Another Night” (Independent, 2019)”

Kaia Kater “Grenades” (Smithsonian Folkways, 2019)

‘Grenades,’ the excellent second record from Grenadian-Canadian Kaia Kater comes with an intriguing back story. The singer-songwriter decided to explore her father’s Grenadian roots and it sets an interesting platform upon which the record is built. Having fled to Canada following the US invasion of his home country in 1986, he recounts his experience on interludes throughout the record. These provide not only interesting context to his daughter’s lyrical content, but a damning indictment on US treatment of developing countries such as Grenada. His words are often hard-hitting, such as on ‘Death Of A Dream’ when he helplessly exclaims “to describe the invasion… it defies words”.

Continue reading “Kaia Kater “Grenades” (Smithsonian Folkways, 2019)”

Austin Lucas “Immortal Americans” (Cornelius Chapel Records, 2018)

‘Immortal Americans’, the seventh studio album by Indiana native Austin Lucas, arrives on the back of several challenges and changes faced in his personal life. Having moved back to his hometown of Bloomington after a twenty-year absence, Lucas broke free from his record label, and also got sober. During this period, his partner discovered she had cancer, leading to an extended period in which he was the primary career for her. His songwriting, however, did not cease. The writing sessions on his acoustic guitar while his suffering lover was asleep in the next room has led to the more intimate feel of this calmed-down punk’s new record. Continue reading “Austin Lucas “Immortal Americans” (Cornelius Chapel Records, 2018)”

Timber “The Family” (Cornelius Chapel Records, 2018)

‘The Family’ is the debut release from Nashville-based Alabama duo, Timber. Formed almost by coincidence when Janet Simpson of the Delicate Cutters was recommended to Will Stewart of Willie & The Giant as a potential contributor, the collaboration went so well that they decided to write together, which led to the formation of this new project. The record begins promisingly with the melodic ‘Burying Ground’, as Stewart’s effortless croon combines with Simpson’s accompaniment on a beautiful chorus. The result is an alt-country classic in waiting. Continue reading “Timber “The Family” (Cornelius Chapel Records, 2018)”

Jim Clements “A Failure” (Independent, 2018)

A record titled ‘A Failure’ is hardly likely to be brimful with positivity, however, Canadian singer-songwriter Jim Clements clearly prefers to deal with the darker side of life.  His fourth record is a completely introspective affair, and Clements has had total control over the creative process with this being his first self-produced release. The writing style is almost entirely delivered from a first-person perspective, and Clements adopts various personas over the eight tracks. Continue reading “Jim Clements “A Failure” (Independent, 2018)”

O&O “Truth Comes Out” (Independent, 2018)

‘Truth Comes Out’ is the debut EP from London-based duo O&O. Comprising of Orian Peled and Obadiah Jones. The pair, who originally hail from Israel and Colorado respectively, have an interesting backstory from meeting at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and getting a one-on-one songwriting session with Sir Paul McCartney, through performing on Caribbean cruise ships while they sorted out visa issues, to performing at the O2 Arena in their current home city, Peled and Jones have experienced more in their thus far short existence than most acts experience in their lives. Continue reading “O&O “Truth Comes Out” (Independent, 2018)”

Matt Krahula & The Nightmare River Band “Stormville” (Independent, 2018)

‘Stormville’ is the third release from New York City’s Matt Krahula & The Nightmare River Band. The three-piece already have a diverse back catalogue, having covered punk on their debut ‘Call The Cops!’, before going a tad more melodic on sophomore record ‘Last Goodbye’. Their latest record follows on in the vein of the latter and settles on an alt-folk style with dashings of Americana. Opener ‘Tonight’ stomps into action, delivering a choral singalong chorus. ‘Arkansas To NYC’ is the first real genuine highlight, gradually building before a grandiose chorus featuring a brass section. The horns remain on ‘Hey Now’ which follows, however, do not give the same effect. Let down by a simplistic melody, it is a poor man’s Lumineers. Continue reading “Matt Krahula & The Nightmare River Band “Stormville” (Independent, 2018)”

Kris Gruen “Coast & Refuge” (Mother West, 2018)

‘Coast & Refuge’ is the fourth studio album from Vermont native Kris Gruen, following 2013’s critically-acclaimed ‘New Comics From The Wooded World’. It’s been an eventful few years for the singer-songwriter, sharing stages with the likes of Jesse Malin and Alejandro Escovedo, as well as contributing a track to feature film All These Small Moments, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Continue reading “Kris Gruen “Coast & Refuge” (Mother West, 2018)”

Deep Gold “Deep Gold” (Independent, 2018)

Singer-songwriter Deep Gold already has some reputation to live up to ahead of the release of his self-titled debut record. The former JOAN frontman has received comparisons to a holy trinity of legendary artists – Tom Waits, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. The record begins brightly, with the initially upbeat ‘Don’t Worry’, drifting along unassumingly before reaching a grandiose chorus featuring a brass section triumphantly blaring over a hollering chorus. The bluesy stomp of ‘Hot Dogs For Sale’ follows, and is an early highlight. It oozes a dive bar sleaziness, perfectly suiting Deep Gold’s raspy delivery. Continue reading “Deep Gold “Deep Gold” (Independent, 2018)”