Hiding behind production can make the music less than it could be, that at least is Patrick Park’s opinion who says of his new album ‘Here / Gone‘ that “I feel like sometimes I try to hide a little bit behind the production. Sometimes you just feel so naked out there without it. When I play live, I’m always exposed, but I’ve never made a record with that same feeling. It just seemed like this was the record to do it with, and these were the songs to do it with, and this was the time to do it.” Teaming with producer Rob Schnapf (Beck, Kurt Vile, Elliott Smith) for a fresh perspective got ‘Here/Gone’ recorded in two days. ‘Love Lover Love‘ is the first track released, and its blend of folk sounds gives a strong framework for Patrick Park’s thoughts on life, love and the fleeting nature of both.
Marry Waterson is, of course, part of that seemingly ever expanding Waterson-Carthy English folk dynasty, whilst Emily Barker is the Australian folky singer-songwriter who also dabbles in country, jazz, blues and other genres. Together they make for an intriguing blend of voices, as demonstrated on their album ‘A Window to Other Ways‘. ‘Twister‘ describes an odd-ball couple, rejoicing in their differences: “We’ll be fearless in mutual weirdness / Out to lunch deviants, have unusual ingredients / Normal’s too formal, we’re in withdrawal.” They can be heard with a full band tonight at Kings Place a short stone throw from King Cross Station.
Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous had the rare but very rock and roll feat to have “died twice”, the first time in 1996 when his heart stopped beating for a few minutes following a drug overdose. That he returned and gave us one of the most beautifully fragile records ever recorded, ‘Good Morning Spider‘ was both a personal blessing and a gift to everyone else, albeit the sombre tone perhaps reflecting his experiences. Sadly Linkous committed suicide in 2010 but left a legacy behind of tracks such as ‘Junebug’ with its naturalistic evocative imagery: “Your cousins… they’re gods to the seas. The March afternoons. The sun and the moon.”
The lovely ethereal UK singer-songwriter Roo Panes is back this week with a new single ‘Commentator’. Recorded at Urchin Studios, it’s one of three new tracks to appear on the deluxe edition of ‘Quiet Man’ due out April 26th alongside live tracks recorded at Roo’s headline show at Shepherds Bush Empire last year. Roo is also playing the HowTheLightGetsIn Festival next month, and has a headline UK show on 4th December at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Izzy Heltai likes to get his music out there – hence his upcoming tour has 20 dates across April and May, unfortunately for us all in the States. It’s a lot of travelling, and a lot of sleeping in his car for the 22 year old singer songwriter from Northampton, MA who, with his Fleet Foxes like tunes has found a home in the New England folk scene. Listen to the new single ‘Marching Song‘, from his EP ‘Only Yesterday‘ below.
Louien is the performance name for Live Miranda Solberg, and this new track is taken from her album ‘None of My Words‘, which is out this September. Live has said that “this album is probably more about the first phase of a grieving process – hopelessness, isolation, anxiety and depression”. However this warmly hopeful song has a more cheerful aspect – a reconciliation, a chance to “forgive and be forgiven“. Hopeful, but life doesn’t always unravel that way – as Live notes “it’s about this beautiful moment that never got to grow into something more, and we never got to realise this new turn in our relationship. ”
Chris Shiflett – lead guitarist with the Foo Fighters – also has a solo career, racking up his fourth album release in the shape of ‘Hard Lessons’, which will be out on June 21st on East Beach Records & Tapes/Thirty Tigers. ‘Hard Lessons‘ is the second time that Shiflett has worked with Dave Cobb, as producer and acoustic guitar player for the album. The second single from the album is this track, ‘Welcome to Your First Heartache‘, which offers some straight-ahead advice in the vein of “she may be the first to break your heart, she won’t be the last, we’ve all been there man“. Indeed we have, one way or another. Continue reading “Chris Shiflett “Welcome To Your First Heartache” – Listen”
Anna Tivel’s new album ‘The Question’ is out on April 19th on Portland’s Fluff & Gravy Records, and it’ll feature her trademark ability to paint vivid pictures with just a few words. ‘Worthless‘ takes on that old saw “sticks and stones may break my bones” and says, you know what – hate-filled words can hurt, hamper and maim. “I never did wrong / I never did gamble / until the day you called me worthless” suggests a damaged ego, but as the song expands there’s a suggestion that something heavier, much heavier, than “just” self-destructive tendencies is going down.
Tracing their roots to early 1990s LA indie band Further, formed by Darren Rademaker and brother Brent (who went on to form another classic americana band Beachwood Sparks), The Tyde cite Felt, The Beach Boys and The Byrds as major influences and you can hear them and more all over this track from their debut album ‘Once’ from 2001 which still sounds as fresh today as when it came out 18 years ago. Listen to that sublime instrumental break at 2.22 and the refrain that follows: “You made me wish I was your man”. A timeless sentiment but one that rarely sounds as heartfelt as the last minute of this song. I still love it more than life itself (and it taught me how to spell the word “tattoos”).
What do you get when you cross a veterinary cardiologist with a computer programmer? Well, when they are Crystal and Pete Damore then you get the powerful folk duo Ordinary Elephant. On this sparse guitar and banjo song, taken from their soon to be released album ‘Honest‘, they confront a dark stain on their nation’s conscience. “Scars We Keep” is about coming to terms with being raised in an area historically entrenched in racism, and refusing to be bound by that, as they sing “I was born to be a bigot but that doesn’t mean I am one“. Powerful stuff, and well worth your time to listen, and ponder on.