Mavis Staples “No Time For Cryin’ ” – Listen

Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Staples wrote this song, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Kennedy Center Honoree Mavis Staples really nailed it live at The Union Chapel last year.  It features on her new live album – ‘Live in London‘ – which is on ANTI, and hits the streets on the 8th of February.  Mavis cuts to the chase and lays down the funky news “people are cryin’, bullets are flyin’, not time for tears…we got work to do“.   There’s no despair – there’s just righteous anger and hope for a better world.

Beat Circus “All the Pretty Horses” – Listen

This is something different – Beat Circus will be releasing ‘These Wicked Things‘, the third in the band’s Weird American Gothic trilogy, on March 22nd.  The album is an immersive experience, it’s a story told like a movie with spoken word, song and atmospheric instrumental tracks like ‘All the Pretty Horses‘.   The music covers a lot of bases – from experimental orchestral music to cowpunk taking in mariachi and Mexican folk as well as jazz influences.  And a lot more. Continue reading “Beat Circus “All the Pretty Horses” – Listen”

Lucille Furs “Paint Euphrosyne Blue” – Listen

Lucille Furs are an LA based band who….you know what ?  Singer Trevor Newton Pritchett has actually provided the perfect band description himself “You might hear the Zombies for their kind of haunting and contemplative quality” – yes we do – “the Kinks kind-of casual criticism” – again, yes. “The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band…Temples, Love…Charles Bradley…” Well, yeah.  Although, Trevor, you might like to add Elvis Costello and the Attractions in their early pop pomp to that list.  This is class.

The Rev “El Diablo” – Listen

The singer and songwriter for The Rev is Eric Meyers, and he’s had what could be described as a colourful life, which has also suggested that he was predestined to play the guitar.  Not that he embraced this initially – he tinkered a little and then was drawn into sports, he surfed and free-dived and travelled the world for the perfect wave.  He boxed to keep fit.  One boxing accident saw him almost lose his sight, and sent him back to the guitar whilst he recovered.  A dive almost became a drowning.  He took the hint – learnt guitar, wrote songs, formed a band and can now present this Outlaw tale of dirty deeds and dangerous situations.

Emilie Kahn “Island” – Listen

Of course we are all about the alt-country and the twang, but, as regular readers will have noticed we also have great admiration for the folk-inspired and the off-mainstream rock.  And harps.  Both types.  Joanna Newsom, Robin Williamson, Maeve Gilchrist, Máire Ní Chathasaigh – all great, and here’s a new one for that list.  ‘Island‘ is the first single off Emilie Kahn’s new album ‘Outro‘ which is released on February 22nd on Secret City Records.  It’s the gentlest track off the album, and sounds like a break-up song, but there’s more to it according to Emilie Kahn who says “I think as women we are often made to feel like we should be in competition with each other, something I’ve always felt in the music industry; I wrote “Island” about that feeling of isolation that comes with worrying that you may never be special enough“.

Ryan Adams debuts new song “Manchester”

Ryan Adams has debuted a new song from his forthcoming album ‘Big Colors’ – the track entitled “Manchester” starts with the line “Oldham streets/Built to bruise/Freckled face/And a pair of shuffling shoes”. Ryan Adams singing about Oldham – imagine. XS Manchester premiered the track, and Adams said: “Manchester, the city and music of this mystical place shaped my entire life. It is at the heart of all the things I love about music from The Smiths, Joy Division, Oasis, New Order, Simply Red and The Stone Roses. I wanted to make sure this song ‘Manchester’ played first and only in this city I love so much. I hope you enjoy this and cannot wait to be back soon.” You might love Manchester Ryan but did it give you a broken arm like Liverpool? We always go the extra mile.

Update: This track now seems to have disappeared so instead enjoy the other new track from his forthcoming album, ‘Doylestown Girl’:

A Band Called Jack “Voices” – Listen

This single by A Band Called Jack is taken from the album ‘Running Through Your Head‘ which was released last year.  The slightly psychedelic tinged rock of ‘Voices‘, touched as it is with flecks of folk running right through it, and with an earnest vocal has the feel of early Cosmic Rough Riders (remember them ?) about it.  They’ve played, they say, empty pubs and festival fields – but the anthemic choruses suggest where they really want to be.

Once Great Estate “Battles” – Listen

This track from Once Great Estate’s eponymous release manages to mix a Southern Rock feel with that slightly unearthly sound we call Southern Gothic with lyrics that could have been robbed out from Led Zeppelin demo’s “there’s a cold wind from the North / and has come to raise the dead / It’s taken all I’ve got / just to stay ahead“.  Course, it could be referencing the war between the states rather than a Tolkinesque fantasy – what the heck,  once Tracy Horenbein ‘s vocal blends with Christopher Ash’s fiddle it doesn’t really matter.

Lonesome Shack “Past the Ditch” – Listen

Lonesome Shack came together in Seattle before the trio relocated to London where they have been busy pulling together an album, ‘Desert Dreams‘, which will be out in March on a variety of formats including a strictly limited vinyl pressing.  There’s a lot in their music, as ‘Past the Ditch‘ demonstrates – a pinch of folk – guitarist Ben Todd wisely spent time transposing old banjo tunes to his finger picking style – a sprinkle of country blues and a swirl of Canned Heat boogie.

Copper Viper “Fly” – Listen

Fly‘ is the second single from Copper Viper, and is taken from their forthcoming album ‘Cut It Down, Count The Rings‘ which will hit the streets (and all streaming sites) in March.  There’s more than a touch of Milk Carton Kids about this easy swinging gypsy guitar-flecked acoustic number, with the intertwining voices of Robin Joel Sangster and Duncan Menzies hitting all the right notes.