Handsomes continue their 20th anniversary tour

The Handsome Family are nearly halfway through their biggest UK tour to date which is good news if you happen to live near the places they haven’t been yet. 25 years into their career now, Rennie and Brett Sparks’ twisted take on Americana was given a boost when a track from their 2003 ‘Singing Bones’ album ‘Far From Any Road’ was plucked from relative obscurity to be used as the theme tune for the first season of ‘True Detective’ in 2015. Since then, the track has been streamed over 50 million times and counting. Continue reading “Handsomes continue their 20th anniversary tour”

The Hanging Stars, the Victoria, Dalston, London, 22nd February 2018

The Hanging Stars brought the sound of summer to the Victoria pub in Dalston on an otherwise cold and dismal February night last Thursday. Launching their sophomore release, ‘Songs for Somewhere Else,’ The Hanging Stars were appropriately accompanied by a mindbending liquid light show from Innerstrings which acted as a perfect counterpoint to their music – described by the band as ‘cosmic psychedelic country folk soul.’ Continue reading “The Hanging Stars, the Victoria, Dalston, London, 22nd February 2018”

All The Luck In The World “A Blind Arcade” (Independent 2018)

All The Luck in the World are three young Irish songwriters from County Wicklow who gained a degree of attention when a home recorded song of theirs titled ‘Never’ gained a large following on YouTube back in 2012, and subsequently got picked up by the travel comparison website, Trivago – further enhancing their exposure. Continue reading “All The Luck In The World “A Blind Arcade” (Independent 2018)”

Susto, Omeara, London, 6th February 2018

Is there anybody in there? / Smoking weed with God.” The song, ‘Waves,’ the fifth in their set tonight, typifies much of where Justin Osborne’s head is at: namely, in songs about his drug taking past and the religious undertones of what’s described as “soul loss” (the loose translation of the Latin American term, Susto). All that – and maybe the search for some kind of meaning in an increasingly complicated and troubled world. Continue reading “Susto, Omeara, London, 6th February 2018”

Buffalo Road “Whole New Silence” (Backwater Records, 2017)

Buffalo Road’s third record “Whole New Silence” is described as something of a “lost album” by their record company, having first been completed in 2016 while only seeing the light of day last November. Meanwhile, the band are currently said to be “pursuing separate ventures,” having split up due to work commitments. The band have some longstanding pedigree given that this Ipswich-based act released two previous albums in 1993 and 1995, so their third comes after a hiatus of some 22 years. Continue reading “Buffalo Road “Whole New Silence” (Backwater Records, 2017)”

Boathouse Keepers “Emperor of Oranges” (Backwater Records 2017)

If the lyrics to most popular music can usually be reduced to the essentials of “Baby I love you,” or “why did you leave me?” then you have to applaud the efforts of any musical act which chooses to put its songwriting focus on literature and history instead. Such is the case with Suffolk folk duo, Holly Johnston and Jonathan Coy, A.K.A. Boathouse Keepers, on this, their debut album, ‘Emperor of Oranges.’ Continue reading “Boathouse Keepers “Emperor of Oranges” (Backwater Records 2017)”

Ewan Cruickshanks “A Glasgow Band” (Armellodie Records 2018)

Ewan Cruickshanks is a keen supporter of the Glaswegian roots music scene, with a radio show affiliated to the local university, and February sees the release of his debut album. ‘Y.N.D. (Youth Never Dies),’ the instrumental only opening track sounds something like a collaboration between Sonic Youth and the Pixies, although it’s not typical of the rest of the album which could generally be filed under the heading ‘alternative/indie.’ Continue reading “Ewan Cruickshanks “A Glasgow Band” (Armellodie Records 2018)”

Kathy Greenholdt “Halos Are History” (Bindweed Music, 2017)

If much of modern popular music seems to span an almost infinitesimal range of genres and sub-genres then it’s still fair to say that the category of singer/songwriters dedicated to people who went on to become Catholic saints is still a relatively uncrowded one. Continue reading “Kathy Greenholdt “Halos Are History” (Bindweed Music, 2017)”

David Ramirez, St Pancras Old Church, London, 12th January 2018

“I may as well get in his good graces before I start getting blasphemous”, says David Ramirez as he pauses to reflect on the intimate surroundings of St Pancras Old Church towards the beginning of his set tonight. Ramirez is playing completely solo on his current tour although he pauses to reflect at one point on how playing with the compatriots in his regular band has meant his music is tending to evolve in a more rock ‘n’ roll direction. As for the evening, the environment is perfectly suited to his more intimately personal style of song writing, with Ramirez on acoustic guitar throughout. Continue reading “David Ramirez, St Pancras Old Church, London, 12th January 2018”

Interview: Broken Witt Rebels

The Broken Witt Rebels have just completed a headline tour and widespread success seems to be knocking on their doors following the release of their debut album. They’ve given up their days jobs in order to seek fame and fortune, remember their values, and are prepared to work hard – but are still at a level where they’re worried about who’s going to steal their whiskey. “We piss on our amps too. No one else is going to want to take those,” announces drummer James Dudley. Having seen The Travelling Band the previous week, who famously had about £30,000 of equipment stolen from their van in 2014 (later successfully recovered), this is no mean consideration. And it’s true to say the ‘territorial pissings’ observation has us looking for tell-tale stains on their Orange cabinets as they take to the stage later on.  Continue reading “Interview: Broken Witt Rebels”