The Kindling – New album release 31.3.15

the_kindlingWhen faced with music of a similar caliber it can be hard at times to pinpoint just what it is that can make one sound more desirable than the other.

The Kindling demonstrate this point for they create music that is stripped-down and minimal, but the less-is-more approach doesn’t always work as well as this.

This is what defines the London 3-piece and gives weight to their appeal.  I was instantly drawn to The Kindling for they have perfected the art of minimalism, the space within their music creates a haunted stillness which resonates; the beauty is in the simplicity

Consisting of Guy Weir (Vocals, Guitar, Keys,Percussion), Tomas Garcia (Drums, Percussion, Keys) and Ben Ramster (Bass) the band began in 2011.  Initially one of the experimental home recordings of Guy Weir found its way into ‘Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent’ long list and it was at this time that the other members joined.  Together they played a few shows off the back of this success, performing with the likes of Daughter at Strongroom in London and at the Windmill with Laura Stevenson.

After speaking to Guy Meir I also discovered what music has inspired and influenced. Artists include Low, Songs:ohia/Jason Molina, Portishead, Dirty Three, Julie Doiron, microphones/Mt Eerie, Roy Orbison, Smog, Beatles, early McCartney, Neil Young, Tom waits and Tindersticks,

In 2013 they released their 2nd EP “Half Light” which saw lead song “Haunting Stars” receive lots of praise and attention. Becoming very popular among bloggers this release proved to be well received.

This year sees the release of their first full length album “By Morning” which is to be released on the 31st of this month.  This was recorded in an old analogue studio with all of the overdubbing and finishing touches completed at Weir’s home.

Whilst maintaining the same effective minimalist approach, this album looks to be more ominous, perhaps a little darker in its reflection whilst the experimentation is alluring.

The new single taken from this forthcoming album is called “Television Static Dreams”. Weirs soft vocals are crisp and clear, tunefully sung with a rich tone that wraps around you.  Accompanied with flourishing percussion, the crescendoing cymbals are joined by simple yet effective beats and handclaps; all of which adds atmosphere to this great track.

I was also particularly fond of the song “Climb In”.  This is the only other track off their new album which is available to preview alongside  “Television Static Dreams”.  Listen carefully to the intro and see if you can hear the delicate detail of a guitar string being plucked as the rolling wave of drums gently build, breaking only for the verses.

You can pre-order “By Morning” and listen to previous EP’s here

The Kindling are playing live this Saturday at The Union Chapel  Daylight Music event in Islinglton.

Posted in Alternative, Atmospheric, Experimental, Folk, Indie, Indie Folk, Minimalist | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Romare – Debut album release ‘Projections’ available from Ninja Tunes this Monday

RomareIt’s amazing what you can discover when fishing around in pursuit of something to please the ears. Today I have learnt something new about a song I know and love via the discovery of London-based Romare.

Romare is an electronic musician who, whilst studying African American Visual Culture at University, came upon the work of Romare Bearden, (an American artist and writer who depicted African-American life).  Bearden’s artworks inspired the young Romare to apply a similar technique to his music and this approach has proved to be highly fruitful and remains central to his work today.

After stints as a drummer and guitarist he moved to Paris where he took to the turntables and began mixing his own music.  Just like DJ Shadow, for whom  Romare has been compared, he began sampling from his own collection of second hand records and has created his own unique sound as a result.

In 2012 he was signed to Black Acre and is to release his debut album, ‘Projections’ from from Ninja Tune this coming Monday.

The single “Motherless Child” has been chosen for his first release and is one of the catchiest tracks on the album.  It succeeds in maintaining the underlying sentiment to this well covered song whilst bringing it into modern day; slowed down vocals encapsulate dreamy compassion whilst a fusion of jazz and afro rhythms add good dynamics to the whole mix.

The song “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Chld” (or simply “Motherless Child”) has been covered for many years and is based on a traditional Negro spiritual, spirituals being songs (generally Christian) that were created by enslaved African people in the United States.

When I first heard ‘Motherless Child’ it was when I saw Ritchie Haven’s perform a live cover of it for 1969’s Woodstock Festival.  I love that version but have come to realise that there are a wealth of covers out there all performed by a vast array of artists ranging from the likes of Donny Osmond, Tom Jones, Louis Armstrong right through to Ghostface Killah, John Legend and Prince.  I have to admit that Romares version is nearing my favourite..

This is to be his first single release from Romares forthcoming album and demonstrates his fine ability to take an old song and recreate it in his own style.

More can be heard on Romare’s Soundcloud page here

“Projections” will be available via Ninja Tunes this Monday 23rd Feburary

Posted in Afro beat, Alternative, Atmospheric, Electronic | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Roisin Murphy announces forthcoming album due for release in May this year.

DG roisin murphyFormer singer with indie/electronic duo Moloko, Roisin Murphy is back!  After a break of nearly eight years she has returned.  Having recently shared a taster from the new album due out this spring, her single ‘Gone Fishing’ gives us a glimpse of the good things to come.

After departing from Moloko in 2002, Roisin went solo and released two albums between 2005 and 2007 and has just now announced the release of her new album ‘Hairless Toys’, due for release on the 11th May this year through PIAS Recordings.

Her latest venture pays homage to, “the dark disco of European house music, Casablance Records and Grace Jones, while seamlessly taking in the freedom and organic spirit of jazz, county and gospel”, whilst vocally she maintains the effortless contralto vocal range she is best known for.

The single “Gone Fishing” is a floaty, delicate and free flowing track with hints of Grace Jones weaving their way through this electro-pop tune.

Roisin drew inspiration for this song and, indeed album, from Jennie Livingston’s documentary ‘Paris Is Burning’.  This documentary tacklins race, class, gender and sexuality in America and after watching this documentary Roisin stated how, “The making of one’s own world, a safer world and the creation of a new, better family in music or youth culture is a theme I touch upon elsewhere on my album Hairless Toys.”  Roisin also states how, “I watched the documentary, having read an article which referenced it in a discussion about House music’s origins in black, gay culture.  I was deeply moved by this film”.

The single “Gone Fishing” was created not long after.

“Hairless Toys” can be pre-ordered here

Posted in Afro beat, Alternative, Country, Dream Pop, Electro pop, Electronic, Experimental, Pias Records | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Jack Name – January 20th 2015 album release: “Weird Moons”

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}For some, the art of being weird is nothing more than a contrived attempt at selling themselves as something different, something more interesting and mysterious.  With Jack Name these characteristics are a given, he is alternative and his approach to his music is far from being conventional.

John Webster Adams is now known as Jack Name because, he says, “I like the idea of destroying identity, we’re all the same underneath anyway”; I like and appreciate his sentiment.

In the past this LA artist has also recorded under various other names including Muzz, Fictional Boys and John Webster Johns but Jack Name is his current “anti-identity” and this manages to sound even more anonymous than “John Smith!”

After releasing last year’s masterpiece “Light Show”, this January saw the release of “Weird Moons” and, from what I have read about this enigmatic artist so far, this album addresses the darkness that resides in the real world by placing it all into symbolic fictional narratives.  Jack Name encountered a darkness of his own where, no sooner had he finished recording his debut album, he was diagnosed with cancer, “I had had it for five years without even knowing,” he said.  “Weird Moons” sees  strange tales of werewolves and shape-shifters evolve over it’s eight illustrative tracks and these were all inspired by what his body went through during the cancer treatment Name endured.  The track “Lowly Ants” has a line that states, “I can’t stand still, my body is charging, and I feel like I’m all alone” and “Sometimes I waste my mind, I feel like I’m already dying.”

Whilst the content of this album has intense and dark undertones I can’t help but think that it would’ve never existed in all it’s obscure and weird glory had John Webster Adams never come face to face with his own mortality.  It inspired a deep rooted desire to  exorcise the darkness that had presented itself and did so by metaphorical exploration

Lead single, “Running After Ganymede” begins with the howling of a wolf, soon joined by brooding synths and a driving beat that is reminiscent of a Gary Newman or Joy Division track.  Accompanied by its looping Psyche-Pop riff it also sounds like something a Terminator would chase you too!

Released via Castle Face Records todays “Weird Moons” came out 20th January this year and can be purchase from here: http://castlefacerecords.co.uk/?user_location=EU.  Jack Name is to tour with Thee Oh Sees this summer and is currently touring with Ariel Pink until the end of February.

Posted in Alternative, Atmospheric, Castle Face Records, Dream Pop, Jack Name, Psyche Pop | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Darren Mcgrath – New EP – Lost Inside A Dream – Out Feb 2015 (plus interview)

darren mcThe beauty of searching for new things is that you never know what you are going to find, that’s the charm and that’s the constant draw.

Darren Mcgrath is a Liverpool-based singer/songwriter whose creations combine the old with the new.  With his roots deriving from modern Indie Folk and Acoustic Blues, he fuses old psychedelia and Rock and Roll into the mix.

In January this year he released a 5-track EP titled Distant Light which, with it’s heady, dreamy and atmospheric feel,  reminds me of The Verve’s debut album ‘A Storm In heaven’.  It was to be his first solo venture from his band The vibes, and is exploratory soul-searching and infinitely mellow by nature.

This music possesses a raw, unpolished quality which allows you to anticipate the potential of this artist whilst throughly enjoying his creations as they are now.  You can download Darren Mcgraths debut EP here:  https://darrenmcgrath.bandcamp.com/album/distant-light-ep

In February this year Mcgrath is to release his second 5-track EP, ‘Lost Inside A Dream’.  Taken from this new EP the first single ‘Angel In Disguise’ was released only days ago and has a more tense, edgy and grungy feel to it; one that you would be more likely to find in the Rock ‘n’ Roll sound of The Vibes.  This factor, coupled with the stripped down structure of this song, is what really appeals to me

You can listen to his new single here: https://soundcloud.com/darren-mcgrath-1/angel-in-disguise-new-song

I caught up with Darren Mcgrath and asked him a few questions about his current projects, here’s what he had to say:

How long you have been writing/recording                                                                    Ive been writing/recording about 2 years now – With my band The Vibes (I am the main songwriter with them) and we have recorded 2 well reviewed EPs and gigged for nearly 2 years now – Check Us Out) https://soundcloud.com/thevibes-Liverpool- and now finally ive got around to doing my solo thing.  These solo songs haven’t been really suitable for The Vibes as we are a rock And Roll band. Angel In Disguise is a song ive recently wrote with The band in mind so maybe that’s why its a bit more Rock n Roll than the rest (it might be a Vibes tune in the future).  Distant Light is my debut solo EP and has a theme – (Searching for you’re Destiny -From Darkness To Light) and I wrote and recorded it December 2014 really fast in a burst of creativity which produced about 10 songs – so I decided to do 2 Eps (5 songs each) The 2nd one – Lost Inside A Dream – is out the end of Feb 2015 – It features Angel In Disguise. its a continuation of Distant light and has a more positive optimistic mood to it.

Are you gigging anywhere at the moment?                                                                          I am currently looking forward to getting my second EP out the end of this month (im really proud of it) I have also just started rehearsing songs with The Vibes for our 3rd Ep – which is sounding great – then we will be out gigging around Liverpool.

Where you are from?
I’m from The Wirral, Liverpool.

What are your influences, albeit music or whatever inspires?                                                                                                                                          My influences vary – But I love Rock And Roll,The beatles,Elvis,U2,Bob Dylan,Neil Young,Paul weller,Led Zeppelin,Oasis,Pink Floyd,Coldplay,Nick Drake,Hendrix,Rolling Stones,White Stripes etc…

Did you intend ‘Angel in Disguise’ to have a more edgy feel to that of the songs on your EP?
Angel In Disguise is a song ive recently wrote with The band in mind so maybe that’s why its a bit more Rock n Roll than the rest (it might be a Vibes tune in the future)

Was Distant Light your first release?
Distant Light is my debut solo EP and has a theme – (Searching for you’re Destiny -From Darkness To Light) and I wrote and recorded it December 2014 really fast in a burst of creativity which produced about 10 songs – so I decided to do 2 Eps (5 songs each) The 2nd one – Lost Inside A Dream – is out the end of Feb 2015 – It features Angel In Disguise. its a continuation of Distant light and has a more positive optimistic mood to it.

Posted in Acoustic, Alternative, Alternative rock/blues, Atmospheric, Blues, Experimental, Indie, Psychedelic | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stalking Horse – New single ‘Calling Shotgun’ (now available for free download)

stalkinghorseLeeds-based former frontman of the post-punk four-piece This Et Al, Neil ‘Wu’ Widdop has discovered the hard way just how fickle the music industry can be.  In what turned out to be nothing more than a mere flurry of interest This Et Al were scooped up, signed, delivered and then dropped by its label, the dust of their rising still settling as it fell.  Disenchanted by the whole experience and determined to go it alone, Stalking Horse was born.

Since the release of his debut solo album ‘Specters’ in 2012, Widdop’s continues to explore the expansive realms of his new found musical freedom, the echo’s of his falsetto vocals still compliment crisp percussive loops as they map out their own experimental pathways.

Following the release of the single ‘Leviathan’ in November last year, the brand new single ‘Calling Shotgun’ is now available and can be download for free from here: http://stalkinghorse.co.uk/

The booming of what sounds like a foghorn introduces us to ‘Calling Shotgun’ and, in its path, a descending trickle of notes soon follow.  As they quickly subside the high pitch and distinct vocals of Widdup take over.  Fluidly the verses merge and overlap as the song gathers momentum, the instrumental section builds and drums pound like the fierce waves before subsiding once more; it’s all about the ebb and flow.

Posted in Alternative, Alternative rock/blues, Electronic, Experimental, Indie | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

C Duncan – Deput LP..sometime in 2015

c_duncan_732_732Known as C Duncan, Christopher Duncan is a Glasgow-based composer and recording artist.

With a degree in music composition under his belt, Duncan is also a multi-instrumentalist and has had his music featured on various TV programs such as ‘Waterloo Road’.  His mellow, smooth, folk-based songs have also been played on BBC 6 Music, as well as various radio stations across the world.

Duncan has has just completed his debut album which is due to be released on FatCat Records sometime in early 2015.  The debut single ‘For’ was launched at the tail end of 2014 which, deservedly, received a lot of praise.

Delightfully dreamy and uplifting, I can’t help but think that this what you would get if you were to merge the old folk harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel with the modern Indie folk of Fleet Foxes.  With its floaty layering of vocals and delicate percussion, there is a gentle sway to the rhythm of this track. One which makes want you nod to it’s flow, handclaps come in as you reach the second verse, punctuating the downward motion of your nods, it’s an absorbing experience.

The second single to come from Duncan’s debut album is the track, ‘Say’.  C-Duncan has named influences such as the Swedish electronic music duo, The Knife and modern composers such as Arvo Pärt and Henryk Gorecki.  These influences can be detected in the hushed, choral-like vocals of this track and the fluttering rhythm that gently drives the song

For more information on C Duncan, click  here

For downloads and to hear his other tracks, click here

Posted in Alternative, Folk, Singer/Songwriter | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Astronauts – ‘Hollow Ponds’ – (Plus interview)

10603683_358373387671064_7250116113057238946_nIt may be hard to conceive how one broken leg and a long stay in a hospital could inspire one to write a single song let alone a whole album, but in Dan Carney’s case, he has achieved just that.  Previously a member of the the east London five-piece folk band, Dark Captain, Carney is now going it alone after the band finished in 2012

After the acclaim for the Skydive single, the debut album ‘Hollow Ponds’ is now available to download from Lo Recordings.  Initially conceived last year, this album was created whilst Dan was laid up in hospital awaiting surgery for a badly fractured leg.  The fracture ward that housed Dan on his road to recovery was located near to Epping Forest and ‘Hollow Ponds’ is an area within the forest also known as Leyton Flats.  Coupled with the strong longing to be walking and the effects of the morphine, these woods began to take on a very mystical edge and his dreams of escaping to these realms would now be put into writing

‘Hollow Ponds’ is an album of dreamy pondering and escapism.  Beautifully constructed and intensely atmospheric, this is an album of exploration and freedom; the journeys of a mind trapped inside a hospitalized body.

‘In My Direction’ is the second single taken from ‘Hollow Ponds’ and is due for release on the 19th January.  Drift into this as its minimal rhythm drives you through the song, giving way only when the chorus kicks in.  There is an air of Iron and Wine meets Crosby Stills and Nash about this track

I was lucky enough to get hold of Dan Carney to ask him a few questions, here’s what he had to say:

1. Had you intended to go solo after Dark Captain disbanded? Was it an idea you already had? How much impact did the accident with your leg have on the birth of ‘Hollow Ponds?                                                                                                       I was starting to feel like I wanted to do something on my own, and that a “band” set-up didn’t really suit me that much any more. When I hurt my leg it made me realize, as these things can, how much I’d been taking for granted, letting things drift by without doing what I really wanted to do. So I just decided to get on with it. Some of the songs were already written so it was kind of a rolling start.                                                                        As well as kicking me into starting Astronauts and informing some of the songs/lyrics on ‘Hollow Ponds’, my accident also made me realize that any time spent doing anything other than music is, for me, kind of a waste of time and spirit. So I put pretty much all of my energies into music now. I don’t have as much money but I’m about 500 times happier!

 2. What do you make of people comparing you to the likes of Crosby Stills and Nash, Fleet Foxes and Iron and Wine? Do you consider these your influences? What has influenced you both musically and creatively?               I’m happy to be compared to anyone, as long as it’s favourable! I like all those artists but I wouldn’t say I’m that influenced by any of them. I love all sorts of things, from Washington DC punk rock to grime and hip-hop, US indie rock, singer/songwriter stuff, soul music, British psychedelia/Canterbury scene.

 I can get as excited about a clicky, stuttering beat on a dance track, or a particular bass drum sound, or the general concept of Slayer, as I can about a chord change in an Elliott Smith song. Having said all that, a more knowledgeable friend introduced me to David Crosby’s first solo album ‘If I Could Only Remember My Name’ a few years back – it’s now one of my favourite records ever.

 3. Are you planning to tour anytime this year?                                                           Yes definitely – there are some shows in Italy in February, and then shows in France and Luxembourg booked for March. I don’t have a full band when I do this, as it’s too difficult to organize, so we do them as a duo – acoustic guitars and backing tracks. It’s seemed to work well so far.

 4. It was highlighted in the write up on Lo Recordings that you had ventured into uncharted territories with your new material, especially in tracks such as,‘Try To Put It Out Of Your Mind’, ‘Vampires’ and ‘Openside’. What makes these different and how did you alter your songwriting to explore these new realms?                                                                                                                                 ‘Vampires’ and ‘Openside’ are different from stuff I’ve done previously as they involve noisy, scratchy guitars! The bass and drums from ‘Openside’ were recorded live in a studio – the semi-improvised breakdown at the end happened naturally, so I decided to leave it in. I still love the old open-tuned acoustic guitar sound that is a bit of a “trademark” of mine (if I have a trademark), but I’ve always enjoyed making noise, so it was great to do that.

‘Try To Put It Out Of Your Mind’ is a weird beast, and one of my favourite songs from the album. It grew from a cyclical acoustic guitar part and turned into this thing with a big melancholy, droney intro and a kind of industrial-sounding beat which involved me hitting a guitar with an e-bow. I don’t know if I’ve ever “altered” my songwriting as such – I don’t tend to sit around with a guitar all that much – I’ll often make a drumbeat on my laptop and go from there, or layer up some organ sounds, and that’ll kick something off. Just follow my nose basically, and get lost in it. And Astronauts allows me to do that.

 5. Finally, did you ever go for that walk around Hollow Ponds??

I sure did! I live about 300 yards from there now. It’s lovely.

You can download Hollow Ponds here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/hollow-ponds/id899685125

For more information:  http://www.lorecordings.com/release/hollow-ponds/

Posted in Alternative, Atmospheric, Experimental, Folk | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Marlon Williams

1527071_982200805127080_3031770523830650328_nMarlon Williams is a singer and songwriter from Lyttelton in New Zealand.  He is just 22 but has already been nominated for 2 NZ Music Awards, 3 APRA music awards, and has recently won the 2013 NZ Country Album of the year and APRA Country song of the year.

Now residing in Melbourne, he plays local residencies and supports for Sweet Jean, Jordie Jance and Renee Geyer.  He has also supported Justin Townes Earle and Band of Horses and is now set to tour New Zealand in the very near future.

Originally setting out as a solo performer he has now established a full band known as the The Yarra Benders and is set to release his self-titled debut album in April this year.

His alternative country sound with deep crooning vocals makes me think of Chris Isaak, whilst the atmospheric and cinematic sound of his new single, ‘Dark Child’, is reminiscent to the sound of Timber Timbre; dark and beautiful, he captures these sounds whilst his individual style stamps out his own path.

“Dark Child” is the second single to be released from Williams forthcoming album.  Written by his friend Tim Moore and released in December 2014, this track has a different sound to his other material.  Dark and tragic, it is a wonderfully constructed song and is a song of contrast.  As the angelic vocals,  delicate dreamy guitars and atmospheric choral layers build, it is not long before a darker edge unfolds, its delivery is bitter sweet.

More can be discovered here: https://marlonwilliams.bandcamp.com/                               You can also find more information on his website:http://www.marlonwilliams.co.nz/

Posted in Alternative, Atmospheric, Country | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Alex Burey – ‘Inside World’ EP

alex bureyAt the tender age of just 19 years old, producer, songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist, Alex Burey is something of a wonder.

He writes songs with a maturity and an insight that far exceeds his years, paying attention to the finer details which, in turn, gives him a very distinguishable edge

He is understated, expressing his heartfelt passions from under a blanket of ‘bedroom pop’.  He is subtle, with a classic sound that wraps you in a potent spell of dreamy bliss, the tenderness is tangible from every word he sings.

At the age of seven Burey began playing the piano, with classical music being his first love; and so began his first ever ventures into songwriting.  It wasn’t long before he moved onto the guitar and bass where, once at school, his attentions were drawn to grime music.  Burey remembers how, “Loads of people in the area were MCs but no one was making the music”.  So he taught himself how to use software starting with a mixer his Dad had brought home to fix up lights for a Halloween party.

His taste in music is vast and eclectic, ranging from the likes Aphex Twin to Pink Floyd, Shuggie Otis to Outcast.  Evident in his music, these influences are melted down and then reformed, the old blending with the new, boundaries are explored and seemingly limitless.

Having built his own studio at the bottom of the garden, Alex Burey has created and recorded his first EP, ‘Inside World’, which is to be released on the 26th of this month on his very own Pling label.  His music brims with a shy, delicate honesty, laid back and highly sophisticated.  His lyrics are warm, meaningful and by Burey’s own admission he describes how, “I always aim for my music to be comforting”…and comforting he, his curious sound leaves you listening to his songs on repeat.

Debut track, “Unspoken” is a romantic serenade built on a gentle rhythm where hints of Devendra Banhart can, perhaps, be detected here in Burey’s lush warbles as he tenderly sings about an “unspoken beautiful thing” ..

I first came upon Alex Burey when I heard the experimental track, “The Intimidator”.  I was instantly drawn in, the tick-tocking of the introduction makes for a compelling start..

This song in particular reminded me of Damon Albarn, a comparison I later went on to read in another article.  Elements of psychedelia, 60’s pop and modern rhythm driven indie like Alt J can also be heard. I particularly like the way this track develops, it’s pace altering between verse and chorus, tension builds and subsides, its layers adding to the mystery.

Alex Burey perfoming at  St Pancras Old Church, London on Wednesday 21st Jan.  You can also find him here: https://soundcloud.com/alexburey

Posted in Indie, Pop, Psychedelic, Singer/Songwriter | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment