Lewisburg are a band from North London born out of the solo project of singer-songwriter Ali Robertson. Now a four piece with Julien Baraness (guitar), Alessandro Taglione (bass) and Adrien Latge (drums) they make a music they call “dark-country” showing the influence of the likes of Phosphorescent and Eels. ‘Slow Morning’ is one side of their new Double-A single, it’s slow and sinuous and downright groovy in its tentative indecision.
Americana sometimes has a reputation for dwelling on the bleak, of wilfully embracing the darker side of life. Like most generalisations it isn’t completely true. Take the Orlando-based The 502s’ new release ‘What to do’ which sounds almost exactly like your Americana summer party record 2018. There’s a bit of The Felice Brothers in it, some Avett Brothers too – lots of brothers (although The 502s’ core is built around cousins) making for a big, boisterous sound. Oh, and it’s about trying to figure out whether a relationship has run its course or not. That’s Americana for you – wilfully bleak.
Juanita Stein doesn’t need any introduction, but in case you’ve been living under a rock for a few years (rent’s low, comfort is too) – having been the lead singer for Howling Bells Stein released a debut solo album ‘America’ last year to much acclaim and has now polished off the follow up ‘Until the lights fade’ which is out at the end of August. It has a rockier edge than the previous release, as showcased perfectly on ‘Forgiver’, a cynical tale of a male ingénue, which is the lead single.
‘Howlin” is the frenetic new song by Mississippi-based Americana band Young Valley taken from their new sophomore self-titled studio album, out April 20th on all formats via Matt Patton’s (Drive-By Truckers / The Dexateens) new label imprint Dial Back Sound. You can pre-order it here. Singer-songwriter Zach Lovett told AUK: “People inherently seem to think you have this never-ending wealth of knowledge on the blues if you’re from Mississippi. For me, my youth was spent blaring Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, and Steve Earle. ‘Howlin” is a hodgepodge homage to all of the things that shaped me. Where I’m from, what I grew up on, and, of course, a little fire and brimstone.” Which sounds better than gruel and Rick Astley, thank you the North of England.
The title track of the new album from Josh Rouse sees him heading off in a somewhat different direction to hitherto. Somewhat gone are the mumbled vocals and in comes hints of The Blue Nile, The Style Council, Prefab Sprout and later Roxy Music. The acclaimed Nebraskan folk/roots pop singer’s new album is out on April 13th – and there’s a UK tour to come later in the month.
Previously Peter Liddle was the frontman of East London folk-rock band Dry the River. After almost a decade of making music, including a pair of album releases, the band decided to call it a day in 2015. P.D. Liddle has since signed to Xtra Mile Recordings, and ‘You shouldn’t have called’ marks the first fruits of his new solo recordings. It’s chamber-folk coupled to a delicate and painfully introverted vocal. He’ll be playing this, and more, at Omeara on April the 13th.
OCMS, as we call them using the vernacular, are back. ‘Whirlwind’ is the latest song to be premiered from the group’s new album ‘Volunteer’ which is due out April 20th in the UK. It’s the closing track to the album and lead singer Ketch Sector told RS that he found inspiration for it when he remembered a story he heard on one of the band’s long road trips. “When I sat down to write ‘Whirlwind,’ I thought of my friend Gill Landry’s paternal grandparents,” he said. “They had just had some kind of major wedding anniversary, like 60 or 70 years. They got married when they were teenagers in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. There’s a great power in the story of a marriage taking place amidst the great uncertainty of massive social upheaval that was happening all around with that generation, particularly in the rural south. And that kind of story becomes a universal one in the context of country music, because no matter what your twist or your hurricane is, you’ve gotta ride it out.”
‘Can’t Cut Loose’ is Erin Rae’s new single from her forthcoming album ‘Putting on Airs’ on Single Lock Records. That’s John Paul White’s label – and he signed her on first hearing because, as he says, “I was instantly transfixed”. With a soothing sound, and an ethereal vocal, it’s a song about getting things straight – sorting out the confusion of romantic love, or shaking some other reliance. Fighting demons. But really quietly, and determinedly.
Scott Mickelson has paid some dues – his band Fat Opie were heralded as folk-rock-punks, they played CBGB’s, the Bitter End, and Madame Wong’s West in LA. They had the same management company as Neil Young and Tom Petty. And then everything fell apart – the deals never went anywhere, Mickelson got sick, the band broke up. Which makes it all the more surprising that ‘No Such Luck’ should be such a fun listen with wry laughs at life’s constant blindsiding and unexpected turns. It’s the second single from his album ‘A Wondrous Life’, and there’s just a touch of Future Islands in the rocking singer-songwriter mix.
Remember when the Americana scene was full of ex-punks who’d brought a kick-ass sensibility to a moribund music? Well, Sarah Shook has the right credentials – her inspirations are the Pistols, Elliott Smith and Hank Williams. ‘New Ways to Fail’ is the second single off her band’s second album ‘Years’ and it blends in pedal steel with rumbling guitar and a “get lost, and do it now” vocal. The lyrics might be Hank Williams rhyming clever – but they’re also unashamedly direct and to the point. But enough chat – Hit It !