Jan 30, 2015
There aren’t many folk musicians with a voice as powerful as Nathaniel Rateliff’s. During quieter moments, the Denver-based singer-songwriter’s baritone channels the conversational yet vivid style of Bill Callahan and Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner. But when he decides to showcase his room-filling pipes, those comparisons fall short. What happens as the decibels rise can really only be described as some sort of barbaric yawp, a passionate and cathartic yell that displays an exceptional range and stunning emotional resonance. CoS
Singer-songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff spends his time straddled between musical ley lines. When he performs with Night Sweats, his sound gears more toward fiery, horn-driven soul music. Under his own name, however, the Colorado native reflects inward, cultivating a brand of rich and contemplative folk. Before Night Sweats drop its latest LP this spring, Rateliff goes solo with the release of the Closer EP on January 27th via Mod y Vi Records.
Stripped down and unabashedly bare-bones, the six-track effort is a showcase of Rateliff’s poignant lyrics and multi-faceted vocals. “Liverpool” finds him at his most laidback and unassuming, crooning about a modern love affair like some self-aware Sinatra. “Laughter” does away with the lyrical focus and instead emphasizes layers of rich, emotionally resonant harmonies. No matter what topic he’s exploring, or the inherent emotional scope, Rateliff is a master at gently reeling listeners in by the heartstrings. CoS
"The guitar riffs swirl and soar, the layered vocals drip with the perfect mix of moodiness, and the hooks are as interesting as they are immediate." - CMJ
“Sweetly swirly psychedelicacies.”
- Darryl Sterdan, Sun Media Entertainment Editor
"You guys sound like My Bloody Valentine's van running over a wild turkey." - Dr Johnny Pee, The Dinner Is Ruined
Jan 29, 2015
Trying to catch up on some recent submissions; this one jumped off the page at me - funky, melodic and very smooth. It has a definite MGMT feel - quite great!
He was known at first as a traditional singer-songwriter with simple arrangements of acoustic guitar and vocals, a French cousin to Will Oldham and Jason Molina. Then he became the leader of a rough and enraged band who recorded Off the Map, an electric storm of a record, with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago. But the truth is we hadn't seen anything yet. H-Burns is back to prove once more that it's possible to stay true while endlessly reinventing oneself. Calmer, poppier, cleaner, more Californian, but still anxious and sorrowful, Night Moves was produced by the all too rare Rob Schnapf (who has previously worked with Beck, Elliott Smith, and Guided By Voices) with a group including A. A. Bondy (Verbena) and Troy von Balthazar (Chokebore). The result: 11 songs orchestrated around theme of nighttime in Los Angles. A restless and troubled night with the insidious threat of an earthquake lurking in the shadows. There are ghosts there too, those of Elliott Smith, Brian Wilson, Neil Young, Roy Orbison, and Bruce Springsteen. GET
Nowhere to be
Through the radar
In the wee hours
Too much hope
Words On Music is proud to re-release Should's classic 1995 American shoegaze CD-EP A Folding Sieve. This reissue doubles the number of tracks of the original album (which was released on Austin Texas' ND record label under their former name shiFt). Added to this album are both tracks from the 1997 7" single on ND that featured Should's cover of the Jean Paul Sartre Experience song "Own Two Feet," a cover of the 18th Dye song "Merger," and four unreleased songs recorded in 1995 and 1996.
The mini-album garnered enthusiastic praise from Alternative Press who decreed A Folding Sieve had even outshone the Lilys brilliant In The Presence Of Nothing debut album. "Rolling" opens the album with Tanya Maus' naked, wax-melting voice that recalls Mimi Goese of Hugo Largo. Expansive atmospheric guitar washes propel the breathlessly beautiful "Breathe Salt" and "Pulling." The looping guitar riffs on the catchy "Feels Like Morning" recall the Ultra Vivid Scene anthem "Mercy Seat."
In addition to the notable Jean Paul Satre Experience and 18th Dye interpretations, Should also give a nod to Loop and Playing With Fire-era Spacemen 3 on "Inst1" with its dulled howling guitar and bass pulsations. "Faded," another bonus track, has the buoyancy of early Pale Saints, with the imprecise, lush vocal patterns of Chapterhouse.
Brutally honest music - very reflective music... Wonderful at name your own price!
Logan Archer filled to the brim with sound and craziness, a record that's both hilariously charming and jaw-droppingly gorgeous at points. perfectly arranged and deranged, one of my favorite records ever. Favorite track: Eva Angelina.
Jan 27, 2015
Darren Hayman is a thoughtful, concise and detailed songwriter. He eschews the big, the bright and the loud for the small, twisted and lost. For 15 years, and over 14 albums, Hayman has taken a singular and erratic route through England’s tired and heartbroken underbelly.
He returns with a powerful new collection of songs based based on William Morris's Chants for Socialists. The album is due for release on wiaiwya on 2 February and was recorded at three of Morris’s homes; The William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow (with a choir of left-leaning locals), Kelmscott House in Hammersmith (where volunteers hand printed the record sleeves on the Albion press used by Morris) and Kelmscott Manor in Gloucestershire, (where Hayman played Morris's own piano).
The result is a beautifully crafted album, lovingly produced with a team of enthusiastic helpers, made available for everyone to pay what they can afford or what they think it’s worth. Chants for Socialists is an album of 19th century chants made relevant to the 21st century while staying true to many of William Morris’s ideals
Darren explains the process below:
In 2012, I found a photocopied leaflet in the William Morris Gallery, in Walthamstow, called ‘Chants for Socialists’. It struck me as a bold and divisive title. Not one you would be likely to find on a record or CD today.
There are very few of my contemporaries that sing political songs and I understand why. Today’s politics can be very nuanced and personal. The way we discuss today’s problems can be hard to reduce to a song or short poem. Political songs can be gauche and hectoring. I struggle myself, and can only really claim to have written a handful of overtly political songs over a 15-album career.
William Morris wrote these lyrics in the late 19th century; they were to be sung to the popular tunes of the times. In only two cases did he specify a particular melody. I saw these as ‘emergency’ protest songs, something to draw on in times of strife. I think we are in troubled times. I regard these as useful lyrics.
Morris grouped these songs under a banner of socialism and I class myself as a socialist, but these songs, to me, are more about simple kindness and hope. I acknowledge the naivety and rhetoric in these words. They offer few practical solutions for today, but I love their simplicity. They make me feel young again. They remind of the hope I had in the Red Wedge movement, and how politicised I was around the 1984 miner’s strike.
Adapting the lyrics was not easy. In places I have edited hard and tried to contemporise the syntax. Elsewhere, I have been more faithful to Morris’s elliptical and florid prose. Similarly with the music, I have tried to build a bridge between the 19th and 21st centuries. I have dressed the songs with a simple, urban folk sound. Warm, fuzzy guitar distortion sits alongside broken pianos and dented brass.
I offer these songs as political, historical curiosities and as something to comfort aging lefties like myself. They are uplifting, songs to be sung in communities.
A communal approach was taken in the recording of this album. The group vocals were recorded at two of Morris’s former homes: the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow and Kelmscott House in Hammersmith. Singers were invited indiscriminately from the local area. Morris’s own letterpress was used to hand print the limited vinyl edition of the record, and I also travelled to another of Morris’s homes, Kelmscott Manor, to record his piano.
The record is being released in a number of ways. There is a CD version and hand letter-pressed vinyl edition as well as a deluxe version with an extra ‘dub’ version of the album.
Most importantly to us, however, the digital version will be free or ‘pay what you feel’; the idea being that people should only contribute that which is within their means. Hopefully this is a just means of exchange to match my wildly naïve, utopian dreams.
You Blew It! are following up their critically acclaimed sophomore album, Keep Doing What You’re Doing, with a 7” on Jade Tree. Pioneer Of Nothing comes after a cycle of touring with bands like The Front Bottoms, Say Anything, and Citizen and will see the band taking on their own headlining tour in support of the 7” with Tiny Moving Parts and Rozwell Kid. Pioneer Of Nothing is stylistically a perfect match for longtime fans of the band and new ones coming in from Jade Tree’s long and established fan base.
Founded in 1990 by Tim Owen and Darren Walters, the Jade Tree label has sustained itself for almost a quarter of a century now. With a roster that includes The Promise Ring, Fucked Up, Lifetime, My Morning Jacket, Texas is the Reason, Swiz and countless other seminal acts, they have proven themselves as a self-sustaining entity in the constantly shifting tides of underground music culture.
Members of Jawbreaker, Texas is the Reason, and Handsome hash out one of the most riveting debut records we’ve ever heard, braiding punk rock bravado with a pop consciousness, post-modern style, and the poetic literary flair that hurled Blake Schwarzenbach into the songwriting elite. Worth it alone to wallow in the album’s climactic refrain of “You keep fucking up my life!” If it doesn’t send a shiver to your spine, call the medics.
Jan 24, 2015
If one of your Hot Dreams happens to be catching noirish folk explorers Timber Timbre performing at Toronto's Massey Hall, we've got some good news and some bad news for you. Starting with the bad, that show already took place over half a year ago. Thankfully, the Live at Massey Hall team have put the performance onto their concert-chronicling website.
The footage was captured May 23 of last year, and finds the group presenting an atmospheric, reverberated performance of "Grand Canyon," as well as a sexy but sax-less stripped-down version of "Hot Dreams." Elsewhere, they focus on older tracks like "Trouble Comes Knocking."
Jenny Lewis' TV-heavy promo campaign behind last year's The Voyager continues, with the songwriter heading from the late-night scene to the PBS crowd for an upcoming episode of Austin City Limits. The full concert will be aired over the weekend, but you can get a sample of her set now via a performance of "Just One of the Guys."
The preview isn't just the live performance from the upcoming telecast, though, with the onstage run-through of the country-dusted track being complemented by additional behind-the-scenes footage. For instance, you'll see light-hearted moments of the band goofing around during rehearsals, or chatting with various crewmembers. That said, you also see Lewis, in her Technicolor dream coat, giving a passionate performance for the ACL crowd.
Lewis' Austin City Limits appearance airs January 25. exclaim
Jeremy (HI54LOFI) I've had the opening track on repeat for ages… so I guess it's time to give the rest of these tunes some ear love as well. Favorite track: Rivers, Veins, and Roots (Free Download).
Gabe Seeing them again the end of this month :) Favorite track: Nothing to Fear.
rosieoh I had never heard anything like this band before their music is so soothing. I can just listen forever and never get tired of listening. Favorite track: The Chimney Sweep.
Jan 22, 2015
Glass Vaults are a band from Wellington, New Zealand led by core members Richard Larsen and Rowan Pierce. The pairs' songs hypnotically migrate between subtle electronics and pulsating percussion that serves as a rich textural veneer to Larsen's haunting yet sentimental vocals.
Jan 19, 2015
Nick Ferrio and Andrew Stratis conceived of this album in the spring of 2014 after Mathias had gone through a particularly hard time in his personal life. During the whole process of contacting the different contributors, divvying up songs and orchestrating manufacturing, they managed to keep it all a complete secret. In early October of the same year, with the help of Dan Mangan via video projection, Nick announced it to Mathias while he stood dumfounded on stage in front of a packed crowd at the Rock House in St. John's. Mathias was speechless and barely made it through the rest of the show. He still can't get over this.
But he did decide that all the money raised from the sales of this record will go to the wonderful Kingston Humane Society, in memory of Mary Beth Kom.
Michael Feuerstack is a Montreal based singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. Widely acclaimed for his work as Snailhouse, a name under which he toured extensively and released a staggering amount of music since the mid 1990′s, Feuerstack is now starting fresh under his own name.
Jan 18, 2015
Jan 15, 2015
Twin sisters that sing together is a magical formula in music that I can never get enough of, plus these two are from the homeland - double bonus!
Elder Sister Plum's tunes go down smooth like a good whisky. Her swashbuckling folk lullabies and musical ghost stories provide a treat for every listener.
Plum is a queer folk musician and songwriter based out of Victoria, BC.
“Gray Lodge Wisdom is a deeply assured and ambitious collection of prismatic folk tunes that should possess emotional weight even for listeners who don’t know Stratton’s backstory...the best album of his career.”
- Stephen M. Deusner, Wondering Sound
“There’s much to love in Stratton’s “Gray Lodge Wisdom,” the year’s strongest folk record...much of the album is a dense and intimate tangle of Stratton’s guitar playing, but the richly arranged title track is all open, unbroken sunshine, the sound of warmth returning after months behind the clouds.”
- David Greenwald, The Oregonian
“Will’s songwriting occupies a territory which defies a specific genre or era. Though the arrangement choices on some of the songs (the maelstrom string loops of the title track, for example) ground it firmly in a contemporary field, the actual melody and core elements could have been composed in the 1970s, and still be relevant and resonant today...no schmaltz here, just simple, timeless, beautiful songs.”
- Dani Charlton, Amazing Radio
“Gray Lodge Wisdom serves as a reminder of youthful optimism and persistence. Its eight songs prove that at the most basic level, vivid storytelling paired with compelling instrumentation are still the stuff good songs are made of.”
- Hilary Saunders, Paste Magazine
Great compilation with contributions from of Montreal, the Rentals, the dodos and much more, and get this it's name your price... Preview a few tunes from what's to come in 2015 from some exciting indie artists.
Jan 13, 2015
Jan 12, 2015
Carrie & Lowell sounds like memory: it spans decades yet does not trade on pastiche or nostalgia. Stevens’s gauzy double-tracked vocals wash across the dashboard of long-finned, drop-top Americana, yet as we race towards the coast we are reminded that sunshine leads to shadow, for this is a landscape of terminal roads, unsteady bridges, traumatic video stores, and unhappy beds that provide the scenery for tales of jackknifed cars, funerals, and forgiveness for the dead. Each track in this collection of eleven songs begins with a fragile melody that gathers steam until it becomes nothing less than a modern hymn. Sufjan recounts the indignities of our world, of technological distraction and sad sex, of an age without either myths or miracle—and this time around, his voice carries the burden of wisdom. Carrie & Lowell accomplishes the rare thing that any art should achieve, particularly in these noisy and fragmented days: By seeking to understand, Sufjan makes us feel less alone.