Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Music 2011 goes Americana again.

This is something that is too good not to mention straight away. 

July 19 is the US release date for Stranger Me, the third studio album from Memphis, TN based singer songwriter Amy LaVere. It is, as were the preceeding ones, released by independent label Archer Records.

I have, quite literally, only just found out about it and currently know nothing more. I shall be equally surprised and disappointed if it has not been worth the wait since Anchors and Anvils (2008) and the amazing Died Of Love EP (2009).  I'll add more, and relevant links, asap but for now I just wanted to share the excitement!
It will be available, at least in the US, on vinyl too. Count me as being on-board. UK CD & d/l date is slated as July 4 and the track listing is as follows: 
  • You Can't Keep Me
  • Red Banks
  • A Great Divide
  • Often Happens
  • Lucky Boy
  • Tricky Heart
  • Stranger Me
  • Candle Mambo
  • Cry My Eyes Out
  • Let Yourself Go (Come on)
The album is produced by Craig Silvey whose recent production credits include 'The Suburbs' - Arcade Fire (2010) and 'Suck It And See' - Arctic Monkeys (2011).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer - Music, mud, cider and...

I hope that all of you who were at Glastonbury have now got home safely with memories that will last a lifetime - in the best possible way. Tired no doubt and with post-festival blues quite likely. It's not mud, certainly not the cider, that is causing the withdrawal symptoms - it is the music.  I watched/listened to as much of Glastonbury as I could remotely and I must say I did think that I wished I was there more than once and not for the most part because of the Pyramid stage headline acts.  In many ways I'm quite certain that I could have very happily spent the whole weekend at the medium and small stages poking around for music less well known.
I wasn't there and it is not the same, so that is just theory, but I do know that there are plenty more festivals to come this summer. I shall be at some and for many of them there are still tickets available. They say 'hair of the dog' is the best cure for a hangover, or at least it postpones it somewhat.

I'm now thinking about my priorities; those acts that I most want to see from amongst the long list of available options. I think I should start with Latitude 2011, as it is now only 2½ weeks away (tickets are still available as of today). This is a list in no order of perceived merit and not least because some may clash as I don't know the timings.
One band that will not now be appearing at Latitude (or other overseas gigs) in 2011 is one that I have already mentioned as being amongst those that I was looking forward to: Violens (see announcement). Rest assured that something or someone worthwhile will take their place. At any festival there are things that will not go according to plan - from absentees to lyrics fluffed or simply forgotten - it is all part of the mix.
The first dozen on my must-see list (and I might well change my mind) are here in alphabetical order:

  • Avi Buffalo
  • Cat's Eyes
  • Chapel Club
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Iron and Wine
  • KT Tunstall
  • Lykke Li
  • The Bees
  • The Gentle Good
  • The National
  • Trophy Wife
  • Various Cruelties
This list is also limited to acts that I have never before seen live.  There are plenty of others, including many that I have seen live before, that will be in the reckoning too. It is necessary to start the process somewhere but the limiting factor is that, however good the planning and my subsequent discipline might be, I can only ever be in one place at once.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Where The Music Never Stops.

Just reposted from Glasto. Live with guests (from the audience) @ 6:30pm.
One of the headline artists at EOTR 2011.

Thoughts on Frome...

A weekend spent at home, here in Frome, listening to Glastonbury coverage and considering my priorities for the three festivals that I am attending this summer. It has led me to some other considerations and one is that, several times recently, I have been asked something along the lines of "What is it like to live in Frome?"
I suppose that now I have lived here for over fifteen years I might have some ideas about that. 
I had recently changed jobs and was looking to move out of Bristol and buy a place of my own. One lunchtime I needed to visit a branch of the Halifax Building Society (as it then still was) and decided to use the branch the phone book told me was in Frome.
That worked out just fine for two reasons: I found the branch in the Market Place without any problems.  In to the bargain I found the town I just knew I wanted to live in. I can't really explain why but is just seemed right and what is more property was still affordable (unlike Bath, for example).

In summary it is big enough to have most things that are an everyday requirement, has a thriving and eclectic selection of independent shops and businesses, and yet it remains small enough never to overwhelm. If you have visited this blog you will already know that it has a thriving arts scene including live music. It is also one of the most remarkable architectural survivors of all English country market towns.
Yes, I am doubtless writing while wearing rose-tinted spectacles - of course it has flaws and a few architectural faux-pas - but more than a few gems.  Cheap Street is just one of them.

Cheap Street at 10:30 this Sunday Morning, June 26.
If I can I intend to expand on this theme in the coming weeks and months with pictures of the town and immediate surroundings.  If I succeed in that ambition, and there is interest, I might spin it off onto a page of its own.

Friday, June 24, 2011

New Music 2011 - Forthcoming album releases

I'll start with three - and all of them by artists appearing at EOTR 2011 - so the possibility of  hearing at leasts parts of them played live sooner rather than later is very real and all are also by artists that I have previously seen live at least once, which adds weight to my comment in the previous post.
Lanterns On The Lake - Gracious Tide, Take Me Home
This, the début album, is released by Bella Union Records on September 19, 2011.

The album track 'You're Almost There' is available as a free download.  The three self-released CD EPs are all sold out now but you can purchase them as downloads from the band's website. At least some of the songs will no doubt appear on the album in some form too. As well as Truck Festival and EOTR 2011 the band is playing  at Deershed 2011 [pre-booked tickets only - there are none available on the day this year] and, if you fancy a visit to the UK's highest pub and regular live music venue, LOTL is hosting a night with special guests at Tan Hill Inn on August 27 - £10 with camping included and no grumpy neighbours except sheep, one or two of which you might well find in the bar and likely in front of the fire (vying for prime space with the cats and dogs), and nothing else other than native wildlife and your fellow campers to disturb!
The band also played at EOTR 2010 - subject to a minor misfortune and ultimately a major victory.
Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know
September 12, 2011 is the release date for this, her third LP.
There is to be a limited version that will include 12" LP, CD and other goodies. You have been warned.  I can't wait to hear this live.  This is the track list:

  • The Muse
  • I Was Just A Card
  • Don't Ask Me Why
  • Salinas
  • The Beast
  • Night After Night
  • My Friends
  • Rest In The Bed
  • Sophia
  • All My Rage

Beth Jeans Houghton - [title as yet unknown to me]
An album some time in the making. Dodecahedron is promising and again another dab hand (and band) when it comes to live performance.
I'll add this one too, although it is an album already released, while I'm working in the genre of folk-influenced music. Much is written about regional folk music within the UK and Ireland but, in my recall at least, little of it specifically concerns that of Devon. I came across this and have now ordered it unheard, which is something that I like doing as you may well know.
The artists involved suggest goodness. Jim Causley is prime mover here but it also includes others unlikely to risk their well earned reputations on a dubious project. It was released by Wild Goose Records in March of this year.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Longest Day - nearing half-time in 2011

There is irony in that now I have got reliable broadband after almost three weeks without I can't seem the pick up the threads again, which along with other events, explains the slightly cryptic, even diffuse, title.
The fact is that I don't really know what it is going to be about; it is a journey I just had to start before the destination was apparent. In that sense it is akin to last year's rambling (as yet still incomplete) that was New Music 2010 - Part 16 - Across America in music but is written two months earlier  in the musical calendar.
At this point I am only musing on the festivals that I am yet to attend but in many ways the picture is becoming clearer now that I'm actually writing again. That said it may take a while for this to become apparent, if indeed it ever does.
Those artists that I mentioned in the above might actually be a good place to start: Avi Buffalo at Latitude 2011 and Best Coast at EOTR 2011 - and I have seen neither live  but have spent much of the last six months listening to the respective albums.  Switching to the US East Coast two acts that I am very much looking forward to, although very different one from another, are Sarabeth Tucek, who recently released her second album 'Get Well Soon', and Brooklyn's Violens.  Having seen School of  Seven Bells, Chairlift and Telepathe at various points over the last couple of years I have high hopes.
As an aside while on the theme of East Coast artists, Marissa Nadler has just revealed  her fifth album ' Marissa Nadler' and the first to be released on her own label,  Box of  Cedar Records; and given that her 2009 album 'Little Hells' is still right up there on my playlist this is a definite must-have purchase.  I'm not, however and if the art work wasn't a clue, promising that this post will be a whole load of easily accessible summery music.  On the contrary some of it will likely be far more challenging, which is always a good thing.

Marissa Nadler is someone that I have never seen perform live and as far as I know she is not gracing UK stages this summer season.  Getting side tracked like this is something that I'm rather good at; should I mention the forthcoming album by Rosi Golan?  Later maybe...
Another realization is that, increasingly so, I have the opportunity to see acts that I have seen in previous years so that I should be able to compare and contrast.  This is something that I am looking forward to as, and this much is always the case, the new acts and artists.  Here are two, starting with the more guitar led:  British Sea Power  and Foals.  On the other hand there are  new guitar bands that I have never seen before: The Vaccines being just one amongst them...  It is going to be interesting, which ever way you look at it .

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Real - Martha Tilston live at Rook Lane Chapel

I have mentioned the album Real - Live at Union Chapel before. It is amazing but only half as good as the real deal.  Imagine then my delight when I discovered, some weeks ago now, that Martha Tilston was including Frome's Rook Lane Chapel on her itinerary.

This is what happens when the late Victorian Gothic revival of Union Chapel is replaced with very early 18th century 'reformist' architecture.
Is this sacrilege? Hell, no! this building had served its original purpose for more than a quarter of a millennium before it was left to go to ruin - only then to come back again.
Rook Lane Chapel is simultaneously Frome's oldest and most modern live arts venue and, needless to say, the music and performance were quite equal to the challenge.  For those that weren't able to be there new songs were performed - perhaps three or four, come to think of it in retrospect.
Yes there was banter, there was chat with the audience, but in the silences you could have heard a pin drop and for all the right reasons.
And then there was the encore...

Hello again!

I'm back...
It is not that I've really been anywhere but ISP issues are, I sincerely hope, now a thing of the past. This has not, of course, meant that I have been unable to listen to music... not least because I prefer mine in physical format.