Tasha Robertson “Sweet Hearts EP” (Independent, 2018)

Sweet Hearts‘ is the debut EP from Essex singer-songwriter Tasha Robertson, and is made up of four tracks. Tasha Robertson’s music falls solidly into the ‘quirky-pop’ category, with a light dusting of folky arrangements. So, from the start, there are melodies on ukuleles, steadily beating acoustic guitar adding rhythm and Tasha Robertson’s own cultivated quirky singing style which lies somewhere between Bjork’s speaking voice and a gulping childlike breathlessness. Similar then to Lucy Rose and not so very far from Kate Nash. Continue reading “Tasha Robertson “Sweet Hearts EP” (Independent, 2018)”

Kin Hana “Long Hair” – Listen

Aaron Carroll Hodges is a musician, composer working in New York here he has previously created a body of work that straddles the line between dark-pop, krautrock, and ambient hum.  For his latest album ‘Au Sable‘ he ahs recorded under his great-grandfather’s name and taken something of a sidestep into beautifully textured folk inspired music.   Hodges recorded the album partly in his apartment in Brooklyn and also at a friend’s home studio:  it features supple fingerpicking, layers of guitar and piano, bright vocal harmonies as well as ominous drones and field recordings, which lend songs such as ‘Long hair‘ an expansive and epic feel.

Dusty Stray “Through the Atmosphere” – Listen

On first listen, the gentle, dreamy ‘Through the atmosphere‘ sounds like a lullaby – but the song is actually a reflection on mortality, death and the afterlife.  All set to a gently repeating acoustic accompaniment, it was inspired by a stroll in a forest taken by  Jonathan Brown who explains that he was “thinking about a good friend of mine who had recently passed away. I was somehow trying to communicate with her beyond the grave. As I was walking in the forest, I came across a tree with a small red sign nailed to it with a first name followed by a date of birth and death. I thought it was strange to find this deep in the ‘bible belt’ of Holland“.



Anna Tivel & Jefferey Martin, The Green Note, London, 4th July 2018

Either one of these artists would be worth turning out for, even worth dragging into a heat soaked and sticky London evening, and wandering down the dust-blown streets of Camden Town. Yeah, even worth fighting with the recalcitrant and sauna like Northern Line. The first on stage, Anna Tivel, has been steadily building a reputation as simply one of the finest songwriters – her powerful songs, delicate of lyric, breathless of delivery are each perfect creations that can pull the listener up sharp. There are musings on the briefly observed lives of strangers, there are stories of broken hopeless loves, there’s self-destructive anger, there’s the final whispery tendrils of breath that close a life. Anna Tivel is not your everyday singer of boy meets girl under the silvery moon. Continue reading “Anna Tivel & Jefferey Martin, The Green Note, London, 4th July 2018”

Leland and the Silver Wells “Luck of the Draw” – Listen

Taken from the third album by Leland Ettinger, ‘Luck of the draw‘ shows off her musical roots, inspired in equal measure by Joni and the Floyd.  Which, it transpires, means a CSN ‘Wooden Ships‘ type sound that has the rich Laurel Canyon vocals melded into tempo changes and solid rock riffing.  Leland Ettiger has spoken of the concept nature of the album saying “I wanted to make a true album that feels like an emotional journey and a singular entity, even though everybody tells me that people don’t perceive music this way anymore. I think that there are still people who want the traditional emotional journey of an album. It’s like a novel, and the songs are the chapters that inform each other and give depth to one another.”  We think she’s right.

Mean Mary to tour UK and the EU

Being the youngest of six children, and being named Mean Mary, didn’t hold back Mary James in the slightest – one would say quite the reverse.  Picking up the guitar at the age of 4, making local TV appearances by the age of 6 and nailing that tricky first album at the same age is some proof of early musical success.   Then, with five to seven hours a day of instrument practice she soon progressed to the fiddle and also to a mastery of God’s Chosen Instrument – the Banjo. Continue reading “Mean Mary to tour UK and the EU”

Micah P. Hinson “Small Spaces” – Listen

Micah P. Hinson has a new band for his new album – ‘When I Shoot At You With Arrows, I Will Shoot To Destroy You’ is credited to Micah P. Hinson and the Musicians of the Apocalypse.  The band is actually anonymous – they’re all early influences on Micah P. Hinson and they helped record the album in a space of 24 hours and then, out of respect for the album’s inspiration, the silent and unknown carved statues of musicians that adorn part of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, they chose to go uncredited.  In the cathedral the musicians surround St. James – inferring that Micah P. Hinson stands in the same position relative to his band as a musical martyr.  Micah P. Hinson has hardly shied away from controversy and sometimes difficult allusions – and also a lot more than allusions in a life spotted with incidents including a severe back injury, a violent road accident, a love for drugs, a hate of drugs, time spent behind bars and more.  He is a compelling artist, not someone you’re likely to always agree with, an inventive lyricist and a  libertarian to what can seem to be the point of idiocy.  A bundle of contradictions.  Micah P. Hinson will now sing for you.

Steve Earle and the Dukes, The Mastersons, The Barbican, London, 29th July 2018

Steve Earle has, as two of the Dukes, lead guitarist Chris Masterson and multi-instrumentalist Eleanor Whitmore. Husband and wife, they record and perform as a duo as The Mastersons and they are the opening act on this evening at The Barbican. Their music is predominantly made up of crystal clear vocals, Chris Masterson’s exemplary guitar and the achingly beautiful violin playing of Eleanor Whitmore. They also have a new album – ‘Transient Lullaby’ – out, a follow up to their debut ‘Birds Fly South‘, the title song of both make up parts of the set. Continue reading “Steve Earle and the Dukes, The Mastersons, The Barbican, London, 29th July 2018”

Marek Kubala “Tableturn” – Listen

Marek Kubala has spent time playing his music around the North of England, but has now relocated to London.  With the move  South comes the debut EP  ‘Awhile‘ which is released this Friday.  The lead single it ‘Tableturn‘ which combines Kubala’s keening vocal with delicate finger picked guitar and Nick Drake-esque lush strings.  There’s a tale of unfairness with advantage being taken in this song, which pivots around an opportunity to deny the pain and reassert emotional control.  Deep moods wrapped up in gossamer threads.

Odetta Hartman “You, you” – Listen

Love is a beautiful thing, and Odetta Hartman clearly agrees.  She gets quite effusive about her partner Jack Inslee (who provides the electronica and found sounds on this track).  Almost too effusive, as she gushes “this song illuminates the fuzzy feelings of first love. We’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to travel the world, exploring & playing music together. From rainbows & waterfalls in Iceland, to Medieval medinas in Morocco, we have climbed mountains & crossed rivers, blossoming our love along the way.”  Yeah, ok, don’t go overboard.  ‘You, you‘ is a strange blend of different styles all supporting Hartman’s distinctive vocal – it’s taken from the album ‘Old Rockhounds Never Die‘ which is out later this week.