Monday, June 24, 2013

New Music - Part 23 - Canadian Electronica

It seems to have been a while since I have written much about my ongoing fascination with music from Canada. What jolted me into action is the recent release of Olympia, the second album by Katie Stelmanis and her band Austra. It was with some trepidation too...

Feel It Break (2011) was almost too good to be true, until that is I saw them touring it live, twice, at festivals; End of The Road 2011 and No Direction Home 2012. Things have, quite naturally and rightly so, moved on but from initial impressions I think that Olympia is a worthy successor. I can't wait to see Austra live once again to hear the new music but it doesn't seem that I'll get that opportunity in 2013.
What it did do however, and why I don't know for it only happened this evening, is  serve to remind me about Canadian duo Purity Ring (Corin Roddick and Megan James) and their 2012 début album Shrines. I think it is fair to say that it is rather more oblique and obscure, yet ultimately just as beautiful.
The thing is that it may require some effort to come to appreciate and is disorientating.
I rarely say this but its appeal is not immediate and possibly too much effort or trouble for some. I was tempted by the tag Eclectronica for a while. You can either be bothered or you simply don't get it. I understand that.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

New Music - Part 22 - a long awaited return...

Back in 2008, my first year of properly planned festival and live music attendance, one of the new acts that I saw at Latitude and then also live at Bristol Harbour Festival a few weeks later was a singer called Beth Rowley. She is from Bristol, which in part explains her appearance at the latter where she blew away the audience in Queen Square Gardens on a sunny summer afternoon. That year also saw the release of her début album Little Dreamer by Universal. If it had a systemic fault it is that it was too timidly produced, tending towards the Radio 2 end of the market if you will.
After that she seemed to fade away but it is all about to change...

This coincides with a set of three EPs; the first of which, 'Wretched Body', is released on July 8 and here is the title track from it.
It is rather a promising direction I think and, reading between the lines, I suspect that Universal is no longer involved. This is the track listing of what appears to be a digital-only release:
  • Wretched Body
  • Can't Stop Tomorrow
  • Steal Away
  • Princess

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New Music - Part 21 - Up-coming UK folk

To be quite honest my in-box is overflowing with new things that I want to mention, hence two posts in successive days and the likelihood of several more to come before the end of this coming weekend. In contrast to yesterday's post these are all forthcoming albums and are not the début ones from the artists concerned.

This first, Over the Edge - The Carrivick Sisters, is not actually released until October 4, 2013 (physically on CD as a six-panel cardboard digi-file with lyric booklet).

If you can't wait until the release date then I suggest you check out its predecessor, From the Fields (2011), which I mentioned specifically for the song 'Charlotte Dymond'. While that one is essentially in the UK folk tradition much of this album, and I strongly suspect the new one too, happily borrows from other roots music in particular that of Appalachian and bluegrass.
Over the Edge consists of nine original songs, two original instrumentals and one traditional song. The track listing is below:
  • Over the Edge
  • If You Asked Me
  • The Moon
  • I Know You
  • Making Horses
  • Outside Time
  • Lady Howard
  • Pretty Fair Damsel
  • Man in the Corner
  • Old Friend
  • Slap on Eleven
  • Bird
If you sign up to their e-newsletter here then you can grab yourself a very good deal pre-ordering the album on CD [4 July - this offer has now ended]. Recording and releasing an album doesn't come cheap and many of the costs come up front.

The next two releases come courtesy of Navigator Records; the first is the second LP by Derbyshire singer-songwriter Lucy Ward. Her first LP, Adelphi Has To Fly, was released by Navigator Records on June 13, 2011. The next, Single Flame, is released on August 19, 2013.
Once again it combines the new and traditional, but...
If there is one single thing that makes me regret the cancellation of Frome Folk Festival 2013 it is that she was one of the confirmed artists for it. No artist wants seemingly confirmed bookings cancelled, for that matter, and I hope Frome can make it up to her in due course.

This next is from Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker; new to the Navigator Records fold with their album Fire & Fortune that is scheduled for release on July 22, 2013.
That said, if you haven't experienced the delights of their previous releases such as the Homemade Heartache EP (2012) or the albums, The Seas Are Deep and One Light Is Gone, then you already have a whole new world to discover.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Music - Part 20 - And why EPs really matter...

This was originally started as a follow-up to my previous post about new (to me) music that I saw at Sunrise Festival 2013. On the other hand things change and, at least in the case of this blog, I have the absolute freedom to follow my whim: Yesterday I filed that half-written post in 'Drafts' and started over with this one instead.
It is still about new music and three acts/artists as was its predecessor. On the other hand the only one of these three that I have seen live is the first and all three have only released EPs thus far in their respective careers. The importance of the EP (digital or otherwise) is something that I mentioned at the end of last year when compiling my 'best of 2012' lists.

Most recently that was at Sunrise 2013 but, despite being the youngest, we have crossed paths on several previous occasions. This is Ned The Kids Dylan.

In the 'Groovy Movie' film tent at Sunrise 2013 on Saturday evening.
There is not a cover version to be heard here --- of Dylan or anybody else.

That said, and it says a great deal I think, here he is closing End of The Road 2012 (at 3:15 on Monday morning) with Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes), and Hurray For The Riff Raff.
That is also true of the 'My Life EP', released in May 2013. If the quotes and comments in the link above seem rather surprising then all I can say is if you have a chat with Ned about music you will very likely find that you end up changing your mind! If you are still wondering what the fuss is about, and particularly if you are going to Glastonbury, then here you go:

Next up, and the longest established, is Oxford-based Swindlestock. I had never heard, or heard of, of them let alone seen them live until this week. It now looks good - live in Oxford and then live at Truck Festival 2013. They are in the throes of recording a new EP. This is the previous one - 'The Flood' - and it is a fine piece of cross-genre Anglo-Americana if ever there were one. (I just made that genre up, although I'm almost certainly not the first to do so.)
 A new EP is in the works. I wanna hear that live.
If you want a bit of 'The Flood' then here it is:

So that brings us to the last of the three; North Somerset based Wolfhound. Now a trio with the addition of Anja Quinn in late 2012, sisters Sally and Natalie Joiner have been playing since 2010.
This is their début EP - 'Empty Lighthouse (2011). The second is imminent. Sometimes they also have a guest - a fourth player live - Bashema Hall on keys.

Friday, June 07, 2013

New Music - Part 19 - Sunrise Festival 2013 - Part 1

No. I haven't vanished; I have just been busy and, in part, that has involved working through the photographs, memories and musings of that which was Sunrise Festival 2013 last weekend.
I didn't think that I had taken photos prolifically. The reality proved to be slightly different - exactly four-hundred of them as it transpired! It is therefore time to dive in - to define what it was that made an impression and why.
I am, indeed still unsure of the subject of this one that I took on Saturday afternoon. Neville Staple, the other photographers, or merely just the fact that I could? I really can't say because I didn't think about it in that way at the time. 

More likely, I didn't really think about it at all and often that is the best way.
It probably hardly needs to be said that much of my time was focussed on the artists and acts less well known, though perhaps that is less obvious at a smaller festival such as Sunrise but I shall start with one that I have seen live and mentioned here before and one of several who stick resolutely to playing their own material.
Frome's Molly Ross - Spit & Sawdust stage - Friday.

This next is of an artist I first heard of, live, on the small Sunrise Stage at Latitude Festival 2009. To see that she was on the roster for Sunrise Festival 2013 was one of the things that made me get a ticket forthwith.
Tallulah Rendall, Main Stage Sunset 2013, Saturday afternoon.
The first time I saw her she was playing with a band - this time she was solo but that bass guitar is a clue. She played several songs from her forthcoming album 'The Banshee and The Moon', which involved live sampling of both guitars and vocals as loops that she then played and sang over. The multi-layered result was very special and the aforementioned album is on my wants-list already. It will be good any-which-way, I'm sure of that, but how about 180gm vinyl...
A band gloriously unpredictable and liable to appear in almost any situation was Calico Jack. They played live several times and also danced with the little kids at others...
Calico Jack live on the Spit and Sawdust stage, late Saturday evening. Here is a taste of that.
'Blue Shoes' is a track from the band's début CD Holdfast (2012).
While most pirates and privateers are usually assumed to hunt the oceans far and wide this bunch, although boat-dwelling, are pirates of the inland waterways and have the Kennet & Avon Canal as their home patch.