David Graff “Supposed to Fly” (Independent, 2018)

After some early success, David Graff turned his back on the music industry in the late 1990s and began a career as an artist. However, the urge to create new music never left him. ‘Supposed to Fly’ is Graff’s first album this century. Although he started his musical career as a drummer, Graff soon took up singing and song writing in order to satisfy his creativity. Indeed, it is his singing, full of character and experience – a distinctive storyteller’s voice, that is the most notable aspect of this new release. Continue reading “David Graff “Supposed to Fly” (Independent, 2018)”

Micah P. Hinson “When I Shoot At You With Arrows, I Will Shoot To Destroy You” (Full Time Hobby, 2018)

It begins innocently enough. The sound of musicians setting up, and given the album was recorded in 24 hours, it’s an apposite scene setting. Then it starts. If you’re unfamiliar with Hinson’s voice, think of the saddest, most mournful sound you can and double it, but even with that knowledge, he’s never been as jaded and forlorn as he is here. Continue reading “Micah P. Hinson “When I Shoot At You With Arrows, I Will Shoot To Destroy You” (Full Time Hobby, 2018)”

Drew Morrison and the Darkwood “Electric-Notes Wild” (Storm Cloud Agency Records, 2018)

Electric-Notes Wild is the debut album by Drew Morrison and The Darkwood. The Scottish songwriter and his combo have been the house band at Country Soul Sessions in London’s Soho for over 5 years, performing with acts such as Rotifer, Paul McClure and The Local Heroes, Matthew Edwards and The Unfortunates, Morton Valence, Bob Collum and The Welfare Mothers, Lynette Morgan and The Blackwater Valley Boys and many others. Continue reading “Drew Morrison and the Darkwood “Electric-Notes Wild” (Storm Cloud Agency Records, 2018)”

Darren Hayman “Thankful Villages Volume 3” (Independent, 2018)

Released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice, this final instalment of the former (indie-folksters) Hefner main man’s triptych focuses not only on the aforementioned villages, but also rural stories in general. As such it contains interviews, field recordings, soundscapes and original songs, running much like a radio show. Given this, it’s very much an ‘English’ folk offering and quite removed from what we might consider to be Americana. Continue reading “Darren Hayman “Thankful Villages Volume 3” (Independent, 2018)”

Kramies (ft. Grandaddy, Guided By Voices, Train) “Of All The Places Been & Everything The End” (Hidden Shoal, 2018)

Since signing with Australian label Hidden Shoal Records, Colorado-based Kramies Windt has forged a critically, if not necessarily commercially successful career by drawing on his European (Dutch) background, adding this to his own Appalachian roots and teaming up with indie producer, Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle. The result is a unique blend of the new world and the traditional; the medieval hipster who, through the delicate spells he weaves, creates a mellow trip to a sonic netherworld. Continue reading “Kramies (ft. Grandaddy, Guided By Voices, Train) “Of All The Places Been & Everything The End” (Hidden Shoal, 2018)”

Brent Cowles “How To Be Okay Alone” (Dine Alone Records, 2018)

The debut solo album from Brent Cowles, ‘How To Be Okay Alone’, follows two well-received records with his band, You, Me & Apollo. His personal narrative has included a strictly religious childhood, divorce by the age of just 19, the break-up of his band and homelessness. ‘How To Be Okay Alone’ was the question Cowles asked himself, scribbled in his notebook, following another relationship breakdown. It is a deeply personal record that covers the range of emotions from self-doubt, lonesomeness and despair to exhilarating joy. Continue reading “Brent Cowles “How To Be Okay Alone” (Dine Alone Records, 2018)”

Rosali “Trouble Anyway” (Scissor Tail Records/Spinster Sounds, 2018)

Philadelphia’s Rosali builds upon the ethereality of her debut – 2016’s acclaimed ‘Out of Love’ – on the ghostly ‘Trouble Anyway,’ recorded and mixed by Jeff Zeigler, who has worked with The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile among others.  On her sophomore outing, Rosali enlists a group of musicians that share her love of mood and texture, including Charlie Hall (War on Drugs), Paul Sukeena (Angel Olsen), Mary Lattimore, Mike Polizze (Purling Hiss), Nathan Bowles (Steve Gunn, Black Twig Pickers), Gretchen Lohse (Carol Cleveland Sings), and Dan Provenzano (Purling Hiss, Writhing Squares). Continue reading “Rosali “Trouble Anyway” (Scissor Tail Records/Spinster Sounds, 2018)”

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)”

The Burning Hell “Baby” (BB*Island, 2018)

Frank Zappa asked the question in 1986, “Does Humour Belong In Music?” I don’t know if that was a rhetorical question or not, but to head uncertainty off at the pass, the answer is yes. Flight of the Conchords and the national treasure (TM John Peel) that is Half Man Half Biscuit, are just two that justify an affirmative answer to that question. That said, Weird Al Jankovic and Tenacious D also make ‘humorous’ music but, to compare such acts to The Burning Hell, is to compare Cannon & Ball to Stewart Lee, so, like music of any genre, there’s some good and there’s some not so good. Continue reading “The Burning Hell “Baby” (BB*Island, 2018)”

Sarah MacDougall “All The Hours I Have Left To Tell You Anything” (Label In Between, 2018)

A Canadian of Swedish heritage, Sarah MacDougall is often summed up as capturing  a sense of the icy wastes of both countries in her music. She’s certainly been garlanded for her work, nominated for several awards in both countries and is one of those artists who have seen their songs included in popular television series, in this case, The Vampire Diaries. ‘All The Hours I Have Left To Tell You Anything’ is her fourth album but unfortunately, it continues in the tradition of its predecessor, ‘Grand Canyon‘, which saw MacDougall’s songs almost swamped by overblown arrangements in comparison to its excellent forerunner, ‘The Greatest One Alive’. Continue reading “Sarah MacDougall “All The Hours I Have Left To Tell You Anything” (Label In Between, 2018)”