Gavin Skelhorn “Merseycana” (Independent, 2020)

Nashville may be known as the Music City of the US, but arguably the title of the UK’s own city most famed for its musical heritage could go to Liverpool (the bonus fact that AUK is based there obviously only helps bolster such a claim). Merseyside act Gavin Skelhorn is building a bridge between Nashville and Liverpool with his new album – aptly titled after his own brand of Americana – ‘Merseycana’. Continue reading “Gavin Skelhorn “Merseycana” (Independent, 2020)”

Brendan & the Strangest Ways “Are We Sure The Dawn Is Coming?” (Independent, 2020)

Brendan Shea – the man who creates music under the moniker of Brendan & the Strangest Ways – had a tough time over the four years it took him to record ‘Are We Sure The Dawn Is Coming?’: he went through more than one messy breakup, difficulties keeping a band together, financial struggles trying to survive as a musician, and even issues with sobriety. So, it makes sense that this is as much of an album as it is a confessional collection of his trials and struggles. Continue reading “Brendan & the Strangest Ways “Are We Sure The Dawn Is Coming?” (Independent, 2020)”

Red Sammy “That Raging Heart” (Independent, 2020)

The band Red Sammy – fronted by Baltimore, Maryland native Adam Trice – bill themselves as a rock band, but their eighth studio album sees them working in a more soulful frame of mind, with influences coming from Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, among many others. These influences are heard on a collection of songs that, as the album title suggests, rely heavily on the tried and tested themes of heartbreak and love. Continue reading “Red Sammy “That Raging Heart” (Independent, 2020)”

Bedroom Ceilings “Another Bulb Burned Out” (Independent, 2020)

For their second album, Michigan duo Bedroom Ceilings chose to create a concept album of sorts, based around a protagonist who is struggling with the relatable themes of their place in the modern world, their happiness, along with the feelings that they are undeserving of success. These are big existential issues to handle, but the band do it by injecting a healthy dose of their indie-rock sound into confessional lyrics.  Continue reading “Bedroom Ceilings “Another Bulb Burned Out” (Independent, 2020)”

Thomas Eltorp “Extended Play 3/3” (Mani Records, 2020)

Danish singer-songwriter Thomas Eltorp set himself a lofty goal five years ago: to write, record, and release three EPs of “American inspired music”. ‘Extended Play 3/3’ is the last of these three Americana inspired EPs, which – unlike its previous counterparts – consists of songs performed live in-studio in a single take; no do-overs or re-recording allowed. Continue reading “Thomas Eltorp “Extended Play 3/3” (Mani Records, 2020)”

Exclusive AUK Mini-Gig: Jack Marion

For the latest in our mini-gig series to help keep us sane in lockdown, we bring you a solo offering from Jack Marion of the titular Jack Marion and the Pearl Snap Prophets. The North Carolina based group’s debut album ‘When the Well Run Dry’ was warmly embraced here receiving an 8/10 earlier in the year. Today we present you with two songs from that album, ‘Old House’ and ‘Family Funeral’. Continue reading “Exclusive AUK Mini-Gig: Jack Marion”

Lara Herscovitch “Highway Philosophers” (Independent, 2020)

The themes Lara Herscovitch covers in her songs are broad to say the least; they range from (literal and figurative) small things like caterpillar racing and tire pressure, to loftier topics such as the meaning of life and climate change. But with decades of humanitarian work across the globe in a broad range of fields under her belt, it’s no wonder she has such an interesting take on the world around her; and while she’s not reinventing the wheel, there is plenty in this set of vibrant songs to get excited about. Continue reading “Lara Herscovitch “Highway Philosophers” (Independent, 2020)”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Iron & Wine “Such Great Heights”

As soon as I saw our last Chain Gang entry was a cover of The Band’s ‘The Weight’, one very specific thing came to mind: a Saturday Night Live sketch from 2007 with that week’s host, actor/director/writer Zach Braff. Random I know, but that’s the way my mind works: it picks up small and insignificant things and remembers them. Forever. This is sometimes more of a curse than a blessing, but I digress. Continue reading “AUK’s Chain Gang: Iron & Wine “Such Great Heights””

Joshua Burnside “Far O’er the Sounding Main” EP (Independent, 2020)

In these times of uncertainty, there is something to be said for the comfort of the familiar and traditional, and that’s exactly what Joshua Burnsides offers up on his latest EP, ‘Far O’er the Sounding Main’. While this collection of five traditional folk songs was recorded by Burnside at home during the COVID-19 lockdown, they still sound very much like fully realised recordings. Continue reading “Joshua Burnside “Far O’er the Sounding Main” EP (Independent, 2020)”

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit “Reunions” (Thirty Tigers, 2020)

Jason Isbell is the kind of artist who can always be relied on to draw from experience and speak the truth exactly as he sees it, so it’s good to see he’s sticking to what makes him stand out from his contemporaries on ‘Reunions’. But there is a different kind of introspection too, one that meditates on his current relationships – be it as a husband, father, or friend – and looks back fondly on childhood memories. Continue reading “Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit “Reunions” (Thirty Tigers, 2020)”