“Sometimes it’s anger and sometimes I want a way back” sings Mitch McAteer on the lead single from his debut EP before adding “to the love we one had but I know it’s not simple like that“. It’s the gruff voiced Irish singer acknowledging the pain of still loving someone who can seemingly do without you. It hurts, and that pain is right there in his raw vocal. The song, like the rest of the EP, was recorded over four days in the isolated Irish countryside – no signal, no wifi, no distraction. Just captured emotions.
On her latest single, Lo Carmen plays out a tale of the ingenue fresh in town and relying on her battered paperback guide to see her through. It’s honky-tonk country to its (probably dyed) roots, and features a cheatin’ cowboy who in the traditional way kisses off with “well you’ll get a song out of this“. Seems he was right.
‘Dead Man Blues‘ leads off Ben Hemming’s new album ‘The Devil Beside Me‘ which is released on May 31st. The song has a pulsing beat which adds an additional edge to Hemming’s unsettling growl of a vocal. Of the song Ben Hemming has said :”‘Dead Man Blues’ is really a metaphor for feeling ignored in a world that no longer shares your beliefs and actually it’s the first track on the new album because that sense of isolation and detachment is a central theme that runs throughout the record.” Ben has some upcoming London dates, at The Luna on 18th May and on the 21st July at The Gladstone Arms.
Just a little while ago Jamestown Revival would probably have found themselves being compared to the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, but here in the 21st century the topical comparison is the Milk Carton Kids. That’s still not a bad thing. ‘Round Prairie Road‘ is a real place, as Jonathan Clay explains the song, it “is about a piece of land out in the country that has been in my family since the 70’s. In fact, it’s the place where Zach (Chance) and I conceived the idea to start Jamestown Revival and where we wrote our first song for the band. As we spent the next 10 years of our life touring, a lot of things changed with the land. Oil companies came to exploit their mineral rights, fences went up and it felt like too many people had a key to the lock on that gate. It was our sacred little piece of paradise, but there was not a way to keep it unchanged – no matter how much we loved that place.”
Now it’s true the first 20 seconds or so of the intro sounds uncommonly like ‘Cinnamon Girl‘, but stick with it as The High Divers open the song out to be a tragic memorial to having to work all Summer, watching the boss ogle the girl you like, when all you really want to do is get out of this place to… anywhere, anywhere else, to that unobtainable place that seems like freedom (whatever that is, right ?) This is the first single off the Charleston based The High Divers’ new EP, which hits the streets on the 7th of June.
We leave you this weekend dear readers with a new track out today from the forthcoming Springsteen album ‘Western Stars’ which will be out via Columbia Records on 14th June. As we’ve previously noted, the 13 tracks of the new album were recorded primarily at Springsteen’s home studio in New Jersey, with additional recording in California and New York, and encompass a sweeping range of American themes, of highways and desert spaces, of isolation and community and the permanence of home and hope. All the things we like most. Have a good one.
Damn Tall Buildings – one of the leading NWOABB artists (that’s New Wave Of American Bluegrass Bands, and yes that is definitely a thing) – return with their latest single from upcoming album ‘Don’t Look Down‘ which is out on June 7th. ‘Words to the Song‘ encourages participation, even if you don’t know how the song goes, or what the hell is going wrong in the world and how it should be fixed. Keep on keeping on – and play that banjo, always!
Sara Rachele’s new album ‘Scorpio Moon‘ is out at the end of May. Unusually it was recorded straight to tape. Even more unusually it features Binky Griptite and other members of The Dap-Kings (who you’ll recall as Sharon Jones’ band – they also provided Amy Winehouse with her full band sound). ‘Goodbye, Goodbye‘, though, is pure frail folky Americana – a song that seems to teeter forever on the edge of collapse. As Sara Rachele plaintively sings “goodbye, goodbye, you don’t have to say it tonight / Goodbye, goodbye, you don’t have to say it so I will, goodbye ” you can feel your heartbreaking.
Pete Gardiner alludes to several kinds of ‘Dangerous People‘ on this new single which channels rage and despair in about equal measures. Who’s the bigger threat, the poisoner keeping shtum about what he’s been doing “no fool admits to murder whilst he’s being tried for theft” or those thinly disguised people responsible for the turmoil in the world’s political situation: “how do you like what’s going on in America ? How do you like what’s going on down town ? How do you like the salesman on your doorstep?” The Northern Ireland based singer adds that his aim was “to write something in the style of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows’ where the lyrics somehow say everything about where we are in the world without being specific about anything.”
It just cannot be a coincidence that this big piano-led song by Dallas’ Emmeline is more than a little reminiscent of The National’s ‘Fake Empire‘. Maybe it’s because, like the Dessners, she has a classical background, and has been playing since the age of four. Maybe it’s because the song – although much softer toned – drifts around a similar “life’s a bit messed up” zone. Whatever it is, this is an ultimately optimistic mini-anthem that can be nodded along to as Emmeline sings “I’m not a box that you check-in / I’m not a name to be given / I am an Empire.” Don’t check her in, do check her out.