Posts Tagged ‘Laura Marling’

Laura Marling’s gorgeous performance at the beginning of the global lockdown, “Live From Union Chapel”, became a defining moment of this year’s new normal. Pressed to vinyl exclusively for recordstore.co.uk to celebrate her seventh studio album Song For Our Daughter being named Album of the Year.

Laura Marling’s exquisite seventh album ‘Song For Our Daughter’ arrives almost without preamble or warning in the midst of uncharted global chaos, and yet instantly and tenderly offers a sense of purpose, clarity and calm. As a balm for the soul, this full-blooded new collection could be posited as Laura’s richest to date, but in truth it’s another incredibly fine record by a British artist who rarely strays from delivering incredibly fine records.

Taking much of the production reins herself, alongside long-time collaborators Ethan Johns and Dom Monks, Laura has layered up lush string arrangements and a broad sense of scale to these songs without losing any of the intimacy or reverence we’ve come to anticipate and almost take for granted from her throughout the past decade.

Music, as the sociologist Simon Frith long ago pointed out, is “an experience of placing: in responding to a song we are drawn, haphazardly, into affective emotional alliances with the performer and with the performer’s other fans”. Music makes you feel things, it’s about shared emotional experiences. And while, since the invention of the Walkman, those experiences are possible in the isolation of one’s own headphones, nothing can begin to touch the communal concert experience.

Performing alone onstage in a concert space, the audience unseen and unheard, can’t be easy, which is perhaps why Laura Marling’s live stream from the Union Chapel in Islington, North London, was bloodless and, frankly, rather boring. A dozen songs were left to speak entirely for themselves over the course of 80 minutes, the only other form of communication non-verbal glances and facial expressions exchanged with her guitar tech. No word of greeting. Not even much of a smile.

The Chapel looked beautiful, light pouring in – not “like butterscotch”, for it was the wrong time of day – through the stained glass windows. Candles and a rug adorned the stage, Marling alone on it with just her Martin and Guild guitars for company, clad in boots and jeans and a pale polo-neck. The occasion was a ticket-only benefit for The Trussell Trust and Refuge, two vital charities, so good on Marling for stepping up and stepping out. But perhaps the show might have worked better if she’d taken a leaf from Mary Chapin Carpenter’s book and engaged with the audience via less sophisticated technology – anyone who’s dipped into Carpenter’s series of Songs from Home, 23 so far, Angus the golden retriever an elegant companion, will know what I mean. It’s chatty and intimate; she smiles, takes us into her confidence, a guest in her home. The intimacy draws you in.

Marling looked up and out into an audience that wasn’t physically there, yet with no attempt to communicate directly with those at home, as “live” TV tries to do. She drew mostly on songs from Once I Was An Eagle (2013), including the “suite” which comprises the first four songs, and Song for Our Daughter, released in April and with which she would in normal circumstances be touring. There was also a dip back into her 2008 debut, Alas, I Cannot Swim, for “Tap at My Window” and her second album, I Speak Because I Can, with “Rambling Man”. She closed with “Once” from Eagle.

All credit to Marling for doing the gig – and particularly for bringing forward her latest album by four months because of the crisis: most artists have been postponing releases. She’s a skilled guitar player, mixing elements of Travis-style picking with some nifty riffs and runs, often in open tunings – which she’s been discussing in an engaging series of lockdown tutorials. She has compared playing live to having toothache, which can’t be fun, and you feel she’s better with a band. Marling’s young still, just 30, with seven much-garlanded albums under her belt, her writing revered by many as being up there with Joni Mitchell. Perhaps you need to be her age and younger to fully appreciate it but it always seems to me simply derivative, uneven, and unfinished. Take this, from “Alexandra”, which opens her latest album:

You had to say
You feel too bad
You could not bear
Be understood
I had to try
A fuck to give
Why should I die
So you can live
What did Alexandra know?

What, indeed. And I have to say I don’t much care.

She opens with ‘The Suite‘ otherwise known as the four song medley that begins her fourth album Once I Was An Eagle, consisting of ‘Take The Night Off’, ‘I Was An Eagle’, ‘You Know’ and ‘Breathe’.

Naturally she leans heavily on her new record, so it’s fortunate that it is destined to be regarded as possibly the 2020 Lockdown classic album. Few artists have owned the situation we have all found ourselves quite like Laura Marling has. She was quick off the mark by beginning guitar tutorials twice a week, bringing a regular, intimate experience that very few have been able to match. She surprises the world with the LP months early and now breaks the mould by staging the first proper gig of this era, in a real venue and making an event out of an empty room.

‘Fortune’ is exquisite and heart-breaking, almost as much as ‘End of the Affair‘ but ‘Goodbye, England‘ is given an added weight and poignancy by the state of the country. The disease arrived and the sun came out and now the white cover of winter seems like another time, a Narnia like world that didn’t require distance or face covers or quarantine in your home for months on end.

The solitary offering from her debut record, Alas, I Cannot Swim, is the stunning ‘Tap at my Window‘ that holds a personal significance and is seldom given a live outing so is particularly welcome.

Reportedly two thousand people tuned in and it is hard to imagine anyone leaving having not felt uplifted, emotionally improved and even feeling they’d been in the room with her all along.

Laura Marling.

British singer-songwriter Laura Marling has accomplished a lot across seven studio albums and 12 years recording music. She’s garnered Mercury Prize and Grammy nominations, collaborated with Ed O’Brien of Radiohead, Blake Mills and others, and she’s even started teaching online guitar lessons, which she details below. This all to say, she’s a supremely talented artist who moves in dynamic ways within the folk-rock lane. 

Her new album “Song For Our Daughter” was scheduled to come out later this summer but she found an opportunity to connect us all during the COVID crises by releasing it early. Marling said in a statement regarding the change of date, “In light of the change to all our circumstances, I saw no reason to hold back on something that, at the very least, might entertain, and at its best, provide some sense of union.” The album is a nod to Maya Angelou’s collection “Letter To My Daughter.” Marling herself is not a mother but she takes us there through her delicate song writing  writing for a girl who needs confidence and hope.

ALAS, I CANNOT SWIM (2008)

Laura Marling is an alt-folk singer-songwriter from a small village just outside of Reading. The story goes that she came to London with nothing but her guitar and a handful of songs. Still just a teenager, her talents were soon noticed at early Way Out West (who released her debut single) and Blue Flowers gigs. On her debut album for Virgin records she shows astonishing ability to spin heart rending tales of love and loss for someone so young. She has a breathtakingly pure voice that’s equal parts Regina Spektor, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. She is an extraordinary talent – voice, lyrics, music, presence. no wannabe celeb, aspirant popstar-babe. Rather a determined woman with an overwhelming desire to communicate through word and music. If you have a heart you need Laura Marling in your life right now.

Marling’s debut, produced by Noah & The Whale’s Charlie Fink, We had four weeks at Eastcote Studios, two weeks doing my record and then a further two weeks back-to-back doing the Noah & The Whale record. We laid down the bass, drums, guitar and vocal all at once, and then we did overdubs – this is the same for all albums I’ve done, pretty much. My dad ran a recording studio which shut down when I was quite small, but I remember growing up around all of that outboard gear at home. So I guess I was slightly more familiar with the studio than the average 17-year-old, but still it was my first proper session.

These were all my first songs, written from the age of 16-17. There was a batch of songs before that that were on an EP, “London Town” – I didn’t like them very much by the time I got to making this. I haven’t listened to this for a long while, I very rarely play any of those songs live, so it’s a bit of a distant memory to me now. And the production was very much of the time I guess, that ‘new folk’ world – glockenspiels and banjos and whatever – which is good, that’s what it was supposed to be then. I don’t really think of this as part of my catalogue.

I SPEAK BECAUSE I CAN (2010)

UK songstress Laura Marling releases her sophomore album, “I Speak Because I Can”, on Virgin Records. Produced by Ethan Johns (Kings of Leon, Ryan Adams), I Speak Because I Can is the follow up to Marling’s lauded, mercury prize-nominated debut, Alas I Cannot Swim. I Speak Because I Can is Laura Marling’s coming of age album, if such a thing can be said about the brilliant songwriter whose compositions belie her age (for the record, she’ll be twenty this year it was released). Recorded in 2009 at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in outside London, and featuring the talents of her backing band Mumford and Sons, I Speak Because i Can reveals a new side to Laura Marling, whose debut was released when she was only seventeen years old. Its ten songs are imbued with a new richness, ripeness and sophistication, marked by homespun tales and sparse instrumentation. I Speak Because I Can showcases not only Marling’s ability to tell one hell of a story, but her incredible guitar playing, which has grown more intricate since her first album. Marling chose Ethan Johns to produce her new material, as she credits many of his earlier records (among them albums by Ray Lamontagne, Kings of Leon, Emmylou Harris, Sarabeth Tucek and more) with kindling her interest in music. She had long admired his way of working – his use of reels; his quiet, traditional methods of production; the warmth found within the records he produced. he gave her the space to find her own identity; as such, the record reveals a new maturity, and at points, Marling’s voice sounds a little harder, a little world-wearied, while still showcasing her impressive range not heard on previous recordings. and while I Speak Because I Can is, at times, a darker album than its predecessor, it is a brilliant step forward from a young artist who continues to keep us awe-struck at her talent.

A leap forward, with Marling inspired by British folk and The Odyssey, and working with producer Ethan Johns The difference between being 16 and being 19 is quite a shift, isn’t it? Ethan was very intimidating, but I quickly realised it was nothing but a type of shyness. He turned down the first record, but I tried again with the second one – he seemed to be more impressed with the song writing. I went down to meet Ethan at Real World Studios, where he was working at the time. He came and picked me up from the station, and he was wearing triple denim and circular pink sunglasses, like John Lennon, and he had his crazy California hair. I thought he looked completely mental. I was very shy still, I didn’t really say much. As we were walking around Real World, he said, “It’s never really worked out for me, working with female artists, I seem to not do well with it.” So, being in my tomboy/late teenage years, I was like, “Well, I’m not like every girl, it’s going to be a totally different experience”, and it was. We started at Eastcote, but Ethan didn’t like the sound of the room, so we moved to Real World.

I took my band with me, and we all stayed there at probably horrendous expense. We got driven in our splitter van from Glastonbury to Real World, we stayed there for two weeks and it was really magical. I’d read The Odyssey, and I obviously thought I was quite clever because of that, so a lot of it was based around Penelope and Odysseus, and Hera – there’s a lot of Greek mythology and Classics, I was really into it then. I had discovered tunings after the first album too, and a lot of I Speak Because I Can was in major and minor open-D tunings. I was also going through the unbelievable intensity of anybody’s late teenage years, I was so full of fucking hormones and excitement. I remember writing a lot, it was a good time.

A CREATURE I DON’T KNOW (2011)

The follow-up to 2010’s ‘I Speak Because I Can’. like it’s predecessor, the new record was produced by Ethan Johns. the vibe here is looser, the rhythms more adventurous, her vocals are more soulful, more sexual and more assured. marling has found a new intensity on her deeply impressive third album. she has come a long way in a short time, and has undoubtedly got further to travel. The more expansive third record, again produced by Ethan Johns, I went from touring I Speak Because I Can straight into the studio to make this. That was the cycle that I was on then – I made the album, put it out, toured it for a year and then went straight back into the studio with a new crop of songs.

It was a natural progression; the sound of this album was dictated by my touring band at the time, as we had been playing all these songs in soundchecks for the previous six months. We did all the pre-production away from Ethan because everybody was too scared to play in front of him. My drummer and my keyboard player, they’re proper musicians who’ve been playing with me almost since the beginning, they’re proper trained incredible musicians, but everyone else in the band didn’t really consider themselves a musician.

So I had a slightly ragtag band. Of course Ethan’s got the little black book of every musician you might want, but I only wanted people that I loved on the records, that I knew were on my side. Maybe that was a bit paranoid of me, but I was a bit paranoid then of everybody, and I wanted to make sure that ultimately I had control of everything. It was also very important for me to keep my musicians employed, which I did manage to do for those four or five years, which felt like an achievement. So what I was doing was because of a mix of paranoia and economic anxiety!

LIVE FROM YORK MINSTER (2012)

Marling’s only live album, including a cover of Jackson C Frank’s “Blues Run The Game”, There are a lot of churches to play in Europe, but we decided to supersize that to cathedrals. We organised it through some quite intense logistical negotiation, literally talking to the bishops and persuading them it was a good idea, because I don’t think they do it very often, particularly somewhere like York Minster. It was such a spectacularly beautiful venue. We were bringing in our own sound system, and the acoustics in some of the cathedrals were much more tricky than others – Liverpool was completely wild and very hard to tame, but we were in a smaller room in York Minster, not in the main atrium, and luckily it was a good one to record.

A completely stone room with wood on the ground has a particular quality to it. I think Charlie Fink had played “Blues Run The Game” to me, and I figured it was in the same tuning as “Goodbye England…”. I added it to the set because it was such an unusual tuning that there were not many songs I could play in it.

ONCE I WAS AN EAGLE (2013) 

A stunning 16-track folk-rock epic, and Marling’s own favourite, I discovered smoking weed before this album, that’s the reason the first four songs are one. It’s like a nice lull, where you’re off on another planet. I’d had some intense emotional growth since the previous album, and I’d started to feel like I very much wanted to be on my own and not with a band. Though they’re still my band and I love them very much, it felt like I couldn’t get any time on my own, like I was always on tour or in the studio, and it started to feel like people recognised me a little bit, and it all overwhelmed me. So with this album I went back to Ethan on my own. It was a really amazing experience. I think he had wanted to get his hands on my music without all of those people around, so he could do with it what he really wanted. By that point we were friends, and I entrusted him with this really emotionally intense album.

“Once I Was An Eagle” is Laura Marling’s fourth album in five years, and she’s still just 23 years old. It’s been an accelerated artistic growth but Marling hasn’t put a foot wrong yet. Once I Was An Eagle features a reduced cast of – predominantly – Marling and regular producer Ethan Johns. The English Joni ruthlessly dissects her love life on this confessional album. It’s a beautifully melodic collection that hits engaging heights.

I went and recorded everything for him, in order, at his house – just me and a guitar with his engineer Dom Monks, who’s also brilliant – and then I went away for a week. When I came back he’d done most of the instrumentation on it, and he’d started to paint around the tracks.

I still think of it as a magical happening. People were trying to say it could have been shorter, and maybe a couple of songs could have been B-sides, but that was the story I wanted to tell. Ethan was into it too, he wanted to do a double record.

Ruth [de Turberville, cellist] came to play on the record towards the end. There’s a bit in “Pray For Me” where her cello line sounds like it’s rising above me, wrapping itself around my neck and pulling me down – there was some emotional quality to it, just as what Ethan did on it had an emotional quality. There was a sense that something was about to peak, it did feel like that. I felt like it was the best record I’d ever made, and I could sense that it would be harder to carry on from then.

SHORT MOVIE (2015)

Self-produced in London, Marling’s fifth was the quickest she’s ever written and recorded, The funny thing was that the magic from “Eagle” didn’t last, because Ethan and I ended up making a record afterwards that we threw in the bin. It was a big financial mess, and that was quite a shock to me. I don’t have a lot of money to play with, I’m not a multi-million selling artist, so scrapping an album was a big deal. There were a couple of reasons for it, it wasn’t totally the song writing. I was living in Los Angeles, so Ethan had come over to do it, we rented Sunset Sound which was also really expensive. The nice thing is that on that record we had Jim Keltner, so I got to hang out with him for two weeks – he was amazing. It took me a little while to get over the shock of that, and the disappointment that me and Ethan felt.

Laura Marling has released four albums in only seven years – and she’s only just turned 25 now. Working on fresh material, fifth album Short Movie Self-produced, the songwriter worked extensively alongside drummer Matt Ingram and studio engineer Dan Cox during recent sessions. Short Movie has a cinematic wide eyed joy, and Marling’s writing seems freer. False Hope, inspired by the experience of being tapped in a New York airb’n’b during hurricane sandy, swirls round in a sea of electric guitars. Gurdjieff’s Daughter pulls a huge chorus out of its back pocket with the ease of somebody producing a lighter. There’s a strain of playfulness, too. Strange Love sees Marling adopt the kind of stilted, burning delivery that should come free with a bit of wheat to chew on. Short Movie is wonderfully unlike anything Marling has attempted before.

I came back to London and said to my drummer [Matt Ingram], “I need to do an album for cheap.” He said, “Come and do it at my studio.” I ended up producing it with him, and that was an amazing experience. “Short Movie” was a very quickly written batch of songs, because I’d scrapped everything from the album that we threw away. So this was a very concise timespan, just a very short period in my life. I actually don’t really like the album, but I get why I wrote it and why I had to write it. I needed to keep moving or I was going to drown in the sorrow of having failed. It’s the first time I played electric guitar on a record – a friend had a bungalow in Joshua Tree that they weren’t going to be in for a couple of months, so I took all my guitars out there. I had guitar amplifiers all around the house, and there were no neighbours so I could play as loud as I wanted. That’s how that sound arrived.

SEMPER FEMINA (2017)

A return to form, produced by Los Angeles wunderkind Blake Mills, It was so interesting working with a different producer, he couldn’t be more different to Ethan. And I was such a huge fan of Blake’s already, so it was weird to go in and be so in awe of somebody. He’s my age too. The main thing he inspired in me was that if you worked hard enough you could be as good as him – there was no mystical quality as to why he was so good, other than that he worked really fucking hard. Ethan is from an older time where there was more money in the music business, so he works from midday until nine o’clock and he doesn’t work at weekends, which is fine; but Blake works from 10am until it’s done! I took three members of my band with me, because I was a bit worried that Blake would intimidate me to the point where I wouldn’t be able to get my point across. I’m glad I did that because it just about kept it from becoming a Blake Mills record, which it could have easily become.

In those three weeks, I’d come back home at like 3am every night and play guitar in my backyard – I’d practise every night so that the next morning I’d come in and he wouldn’t be able to play my parts better than I could. I just couldn’t believe that someone could work so hard for someone else’s music, it was amazing. He’s quite a force to contend with, though, he doesn’t fuck around and he doesn’t banter, he just works. Blake literally seems bored when you’re playing him a song, when he feels it’s not sonically interesting. On “Soothing”, he started changing the chords so they were more interesting inversions, and then he orchestrally arranged this three-piece bass part for it.

Semper Femina is Laura Marling’s sixth album – an intimate, devoted exploration of femininity and female relationships, and among her finest work to date. Written largely on the tour that followed 2015’s Short Movie and recorded in Los Angeles with production from Blake Mills, it is at once a distinctive and musically compelling collection of songs, run through with Marling’s fierce intelligence; a keen, beautiful and unparalleled take on womanhood.

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SONG FOR OUR DAUGHTER (2020)

Laura Marling’s exquisite seventh album ‘Song For Our Daughter’ arrives almost without pre-amble or warning in the midst of uncharted global chaos, and yet instantly and tenderly offers a sense of purpose, clarity and calm. As a balm for the soul, this full-blooded new collection could be posited as Laura’s richest to date, but in truth it’s another incredibly fine record by a British artist who rarely strays from delivering incredibly fine records.

Taking much of the production reins herself, alongside long-time collaborators Ethan Johns and Dom Monks, Laura has layered up lush string arrangements and a broad sense of scale to these songs without losing any of the intimacy or reverence we’ve come to anticipate and almost take for granted from her throughout the past decade.

Marling’s classic-sounding latest, returning to her roots with Ethan Johns co-producing, I didn’t enjoy producing Short Movie myself, and I didn’t feel like I wanted to do that again – you can’t get a good enough perspective on your own, being both inside and outside the record at the same time. I thought Dom Monks and Ethan Johns as co-producers would just give me that security, but I think it was challenging for Ethan to change his role. I’d had to do a lot of random admin stuff earlier in 2019, which meant I’d sat on these songs for a while, which was hellish for me. But in that time I’d also moved back to London, set up my own studio, demoed everything extensively, contacted everyone I wanted to play on it… Ethan was the last part of the puzzle actually. He wanted to use this studio in Wales because he likes to record to tape, but I’m not a purist in that way. Dom Monks is the zen master between two nutbags, though, so he held the sessions together.

I wrote the album while I was travelling around Europe for about four months, mainly the south of France and Italy, living in a campervan and staying on farms, very late twenties. It was really nice. I always feel like my albums are on/off – I Speak Because I Can was good, A Creature I Don’t Know was OK, Once I Was An Eagle was good, Short Movie was whatever, Semper Femina was good, and I sort of felt this one might be whatever… I don’t know, though! I never know what people are going to think, but people seem to really like it. I wasn’t expecting it to do so well. I thought I’d lean back into just being a songwriter which is all I really want from Laura Marling, from my solo stuff. And then Lump provides me with this whole other experience.

Laura Marling performs “Song For Our Daughter” at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London as part of the Mercury Prize 2020: Album of the Year. 

LUMP – LUMP (2018)

A collaboration with Tunng’s Mike Lindsay created Marling’s “greatest pleasure”. We were doing some Neil Young support shows and at the London one my guitarist Sam said, “Oh, my friend Mike’s coming down after the show, he’s quite weird and he wants to ask you a question.” He is a weird guy, in the best possible way, and he’s got an unusual manner. He said quite bluntly, “I need you to come into my studio in Shoreditch, I have something and only you can do it.” I was recently single at that time, feeling quite free about possibilities, so I said yes. I was renting a flat in Dalston, so I walked down on a very hot day to his basement studio in Shoreditch. It was absolutely boiling, no natural light. After a bit of awkward small talk, he played me 36 minutes of music without stopping. I had just started reading the Surrealist Manifesto and I’d underlined a bunch of words, and I started singing them over the top – Mike had demarcated where he thought songs were, and verses and choruses, and after the first day we’d done “The Curse Of The Contemporary” and “May I Be The Light”, and by the third day we’d almost finished the record.

I knew when we were making it how special it was – there was no buddiness or communication, just like when Ethan worked on Eagle… and I left for a week. Lump had that quality too. Mike and I have now made two albums and toured, but we don’t really know each other too well, and are paranoid about maintaining that distance between the two of us, so we don’t lose that quality. Lump is the greatest pleasure in my life now, because it doesn’t feel like mine. There’s a second album done, it’s probably coming out this year but I don’t know when.

With Short Movie this Hampshire native has, for the fifth consecutive time, made the strongest album of her career, expanding her palette to include electric-guitar-led alt rock (‘False Hope,’ ‘Don’t Let Me Bring You Down’) and percussive drones (‘Strange’, ‘Short Movie’) while retaining the English-rose folk that made her name (‘Walk Alone,’ ‘Easy.’) There’s a clear through-line to her earliest work, yet a clearer progression that points to an evolving artist – which is how it’s supposed to go, of course, but is rarely the case with a Brit-winning major-label star… This is Marling at her finest, but as she’s proved five times in a row, the best is always yet to come.”

Following in the dusty, sun-baked footsteps of 2013’s mesmerizing “Once I Was an Eagle”, Laura Marling’s fifth studio outing feels even more rooted in the California desert, doubling down on the former’s penchant for pairing breezy, American west coast mysticism with bucolic, Sandy Denny-era English folk, but with a subtle shift in architecture. Marling’s gift for gab and deft finger-picking are still front and center, but with the self-produced “Short Movie”, she’s expanded her sonic palette by plugging in.

While by no means a straight-up electric guitar album, Short Movie does bristle with a current of nervy energy, and that coffee-black, post-midnight buzz is the fuel that gives cuts like “False Hope,” “Don’t Let Me Bring You Down,” “Gurdjieff’s Daughter,” and the hypnotic title track their swagger. That said, Marling is an unrepentant folkie, and those late-night blasts of tube-driven self-evaluation and raw verisimilitude eventually give way to bleary-eyed mornings spent assessing the wreckage, and the album’s best moments arrive via the aged wood and steel of her trusty acoustic.

The dreamy, psych-tinged opener “Warrior” invokes Nick Drake’s “Road” with its bluesy, open tuning and refrain of “I can’t be your horse anymore, you’re not the warrior I’m looking for,” while the equally Drake-ian “Feel Your Love” offers up a less defensive, but no less weary stance toward potential suitors, positing “you must let me go before I get old, I need to find someone who really wants to be mine.” Avoiding complacency has always been the light that guides the precocious singer/songwriter (only 25 at the time of release, this is Marling’s fourth album in just five years), and Short Movie does little to temper that restlessness. It may lack the cohesion of her last outing, and her steadfast derision of anything resembling a hook can be taxing, but it makes up for its meandering with a strength of character that eludes many of her contemporaries. An old soul to say the least, Marling continues to evolve as both a musician and a writer, albeit subtly, and we’re all the better for it.

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For more than ten years now the name Laura Marling has stirred images of acoustic guitars, folksy ditties and gentle lullabies. By 2018, her project Lump with collaborator Mike Lindsay proved she was no one-trick pony. On Song For Our Daughter – released early as a quarantine gift – Laura Marling has presented a timeless record that sits her alongside the singer-songwriting greats.

One of very few artists to pull the release of their album forward instead of pushing it back to accommodate the pandemic, folk darling Laura Marling made one of the smartest decisions of 2020. Her stirring acoustic Song For Our Daughter – addressed to a non-existent child – presents a prolific artist at the height of her powers. Confessional, searing and unmistakably contemporary despite beautiful touches of the vintage, Marling’s seventh full-length places her in the canon of the world’s greatest singer-songwriters.

The decision to release this early, as the world felt like it was slowly imploding was smart but hardly surprising given the oracle-like understanding of the human spirit contained within all of Laura Marling’s work to date. She knew we needed it. It’s the insight of someone drawing on past lives that rides in the front seat of her seventh album. This knowledge feels simultaneously everyday and exhumed from lost civilisations. Like great literature, the lyrics feel like truths that are universal and timeless, which is perhaps befitting of a year when our individual and collective perception of time stretched and folded into a muddle of confusion like never before.

This record is the perfect companion for that moment when your heart becomes a blue wisp of smoke. It’s a collection of songs that leave you buoyant, floating, and lost at sea… It stares you in the eye, giving you bad news, but the way it’s done is so glorious that you don’t truly begin to process what’s being said.

Single ‘Held Down’ introduces a Laura Marling more relaxed in her writing than she has ever been: confessional, layered with her own ghostly vocals, laden with precisely-chosen strings. It is apparent almost at once that this is an artist at the top of their game.

Confessional and searing, her many ideas; her poetical lyrics unfurl petal by petal, paced to perfection. By the middle section of her LP, Marling seals the deal on the best singer-songwriter album of recent years, making one thing very clear – Song For Our Daughter will survive as a modern classic.

The title track does what it says on the tin, addressing the imaginary daughter she might one day have: “Lately I’ve been thinking of our daughter growing old/all of the bullshit that she might be told,” she sings. It is introspective and comforting, easy to receive as the listener in the absence of recipient offspring. It tracks, too, like a note to Marling’s own past, present and future self.

Highlight ‘Fortune’ sails onward on a distinctly vintage tide of strings and Joni-worthy acoustic riffs: a timeless, bittersweet ballad with roots in a great tradition of confessional writing –  though still unmistakably contemporary. Marling does faster bpm’s justice too: album opener ‘Alexandra’ trumps popular folk predecessors from Alas I Cannot Swim with restrained, delicate ease. Longtime fans never fear: ’For You’ proves lullabies are still a knack of Marling’s too.

Everything about Song For Our Daughter is extraordinary: the songwriting and Marling’s voice (still ponds filled with quivering swans), the delicious use of expletives, the reflections upon words unsent, the half-spoken moments leaning on the third wall, the mulch of memories… The one constant, the acoustic guitar, combines with the intricate nest of words in such a way that each strum begins to leave another paper cut reminder of lives unlived, of nullified agreements, village secrets, everlasting hope in early morning light, and too few promises kept.

Mostly, it’s a record of towering songs that are nourishing and restorative; an open sandwich in a land of soup.

Laura Marling has been releasing prolifically since 2007. Despite that, one of her most-streamed songs is not one of her own but a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’. With Song For Our Daughter, she joins the ranks of the world’s most extraordinary singer-songwriters. Laura Marling has written her own Freewheelin’ classic: a Blue for the 21st Century.

Song For Our Daughter is out now via Chrysalis/Partisan.

 

Laura Marling’s exquisite seventh album “Song For Our Daughter” arrives almost without pre-amble or warning in the midst of uncharted global chaos, and yet instantly and tenderly offers a sense of purpose, clarity and calm. As a balm for the soul, this full-blooded new collection could be posited as Laura’s richest to date, but in truth it’s another incredibly fine record by a British Singer Songwriter who rarely strays from delivering incredibly fine records.

Taking much of the production reins herself, alongside long-time collaborators Ethan Johns and Dom Monks, Laura has layered up lush string arrangements and a broad sense of scale to these songs without losing any of the intimacy or reverence we’ve come to anticipate and almost take for granted from her throughout the past decade.

The album came out 6 months early, but since buying it’s been a constant and companionable listen. Maybe her most intimate, certainly her maturest work. Hints of Joni Mitchell on the opening duo help, but this is her work. A simple basic backing band that delights on the uptempo shuffle of “Only the Strong”, with tasteful addition of chamber music on “Blow By Blow”, title track, “Fortune”, choir on “The End of the Affair” , & steel on “Hope”. “For You” a great climax.
Taking much of the production reins herself, alongside long-time collaborators Ethan Johns and Dom Monks, Laura has layered up lush string arrangements and a broad sense of scale to these songs without losing any of the intimacy or reverence we’ve come to anticipate and almost take for granted from her throughout the past decade.
Absolutely gorgeous, amazing voice, beautiful songwriting, and I absolutely adore it.
Released April 10th, 2020

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Looking across Radiohead members’ solo ventures, Thom Yorke has three albums of his own, the latest being 2019’s ‘ANIMA’; Jonny Greenwood has scored several films, including Paul Thomas Andersen’s ‘There Will Be Blood’; drummer Phil Selway has two records to his name; bassist Colin Greenwood has had the odd deviation from Radiohead duties, but has largely stayed on script. And now Ed O’Brien looks set to break his duck with a debut album in 2020.

Because he is one-fifth of one of the world’s most consistently brilliant and successful bands, it’s a bit jarring to hear that Ed O’Brien still needs to combat the idea that his songs are “shit.” That inner monologue will be familiar to many musicians or creative people working in any medium, an inner critic that tells you whatever it is you’re doing isn’t good enough. But, well, most of our inner critics have a bit more solid evidence to stand on.

There wasn’t years of material. This was all from about summer of 2013 to summer of 2014. I also had to let go of the computer. I don’t respond well to operating as I go along—whether it was Ableton Live or Pro Tools, and they’re great software—but I needed to literally be lost in the moment and not have my engineering head on or whatever. I had a great studio in Oxfordshire which are owned by Radiohead’s management called Courtyard, and there’s a great engineer-producer called Ian Davenport, who’s worked a lot with Gaz Coombes.

His first work as EOB, including lead single ‘Brasil’, is produced by Flood, and is set to feature contributions from Laura Marling, Nathan East and The Invisible’s Dave Okumu, among others. “This feels like the start of something new and truly significant for me,” he told fans on social media in December. He promises to tour the record next year too. Really, I’m excited for the next one. I think every record that you make, you have to be learning, and you’re only learning when you’re out of your comfort zone, and I was out of my comfort zone the whole time.”

Flood and Catherine Marks produced [the record]; Flood produced all of it, Catherine was involved for some of it—and I talked to him a lot about wanting to capture the spirit of a place, and the spirit of this place in Wales, Lands, and to have a fully immersive experience. That we’d eat, sleep, and drink it. I’ve been very fortunate in Radiohead—you know, the first time we did that was with OK Computer—and we’ve done this, this has been a tried and tested route. And what happens is, you kind of get the soul of the record, and you get it in the early stages.

All the same, to hear O’Brien talk about how he was able to silence his own long enough to make “Earth”, his debut solo album released under the EOB moniker, might just help others along their own creative journeys. Conceived while living in Brazil in 2012, begun in earnest in 2013, and recorded in Wales and London with a cast of great musicians, Earth is a testament to an expert collaborator learning how to take control. But it’s no singer-songwriter affair; it’s a rhythmic album, with a pulse that beats even throughout its quietest acoustic moments and rises to festive, electronic heights.

Listen to ‘Earth,’ the new album by EOB (Ed O’Brien of Radiohead).

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Laura Marling’s exquisite seventh album “Song For Our Daughter” arrives almost without pre-amble or warning in the midst of uncharted global chaos, and yet instantly and tenderly offers a sense of purpose, clarity and calm. As a balm for the soul, this full-blooded new collection could be posited as Laura’s richest to date, but in truth it’s another incredibly fine record by a British artist who rarely strays from delivering incredibly fine records.

When Laura Marling moved Song For Our Daughter up from August, it became a semi-surprise release meant to, hopefully, provide an anchor for people in confusing, traumatizing times. Not that this album is purely comforting, being a series of missives to an unborn child warning of how this warped world would challenge her. Despite coming from turmoil, Marling’s songs — the lilting sigh “Held Down,” the catchy “Alexandra” and “Strange Girl,” the raw and sparse “For You” — are able to harness beauty hidden within the ugliness surrounding us. In the end, it was the exact kind of salve we needed, just when we needed it.

Taking much of the production reins herself, alongside long-time collaborators Ethan Johns and Dom Monks, Laura has layered up lush string arrangements and a broad sense of scale to these songs without losing any of the intimacy or reverence we’ve come to anticipate and almost take for granted from her throughout the past decade.

“It’s strange to watch the facade of our daily lives dissolve away, leaving only the essentials; those we love and our worry for them. An album, stripped of everything that modernity and ownership does to it, is essentially a piece of me, and I’d like for you to have it. I’d like for you, perhaps, to hear a strange story about the fragmentary, nonsensical experience of trauma and an enduring quest to understand what it is to be a woman in this society. When I listen back to it now, it makes more sense to me than when I wrote it. My writing, as ever, was months, years, in front of my conscious mind. It was there all along, guiding me gently through the chaos of living. And that, in itself, describes the sentiment of the album—how would I guide my daughter, arm her and prepare her for life and all of its nuance? I’m older now, old enough to have a daughter of my own, and I feel acutely the responsibility to defend The Girl. The Girl that might be lost, torn from innocence prematurely or unwittingly fragmented by forces that dominate society. I want to stand behind her and whisper in her ear all the confidences and affirmations I had found so difficult to provide myself. This album is that strange whisper; a little distorted, a little out of sequence, such is life. Laura Marling
Released April 10th, 2020

Laura Marling’s exquisite seventh album “Song For Our Daughter” arrives almost without pre-amble or warning in the midst of uncharted global chaos, and yet instantly and tenderly offers a sense of purpose, clarity and calm. As a balm for the soul, this full-blooded new collection could be posited as Laura’s richest to date, but in truth it’s another incredibly fine record by a British artist who rarely strays from delivering incredibly fine records.

Taking much of the production reins herself, alongside long-time collaborators Ethan Johns and Dom Monks, Laura has layered up lush string arrangements and a broad sense of scale to these songs without losing any of the intimacy or reverence we’ve come to anticipate and almost take for granted from her throughout the past decade.

Releases April 10th, 2020, Chrysalis Records Limited, in partnership with Partisan Records

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It began when Tunng’s Mike Lindsay – a prolific, Mercury prize-winning producer – was introduced to Grammy-nominated, Brit award-winning singer-songwriter Laura Marling after her show supporting Neil Young in London. LUMP is a heady blend of wonked-out guitars, Moog synths and pattering drums, set against droning, coiling clouds of flutes and voices. The lyrics are inspired by early-20th-century Surrealism and the absurdist poetry of Edward Lear and Ivor Cutler – a bizarre but compelling narrative about the commodification of curated public personas, the mundane absurdity of individualism, and the lengths we go to escape our own meaninglessness. The composers are keen to stress that LUMP is a creation that passed through them, and they look upon it parentally. It is their understanding that, now it has come into being, LUMP is the artist, and it will continue to create itself from here on. Lindsay and Marling will assist it as necessary.

LUMP (Laura Marling and Tunng’s Mike Lindsay) perform Curse of the Contemporary on BBC Later… with Jools Holland on BBC Two (22 May 2018).

Lump mixes the stunning, instantly recognisable vocal prowess of Laura Marling with the off-kilter electronic folk-tinged oddness of Lindsay’s band Tunng. An enchanting and fascinatingly diverse outing, one to listen to in it’s entirety. Superb.

As an intimate meditation on modern womanhood, Laura Marling’s Semper Femina was about as grounded as could be. Just a year later on LUMP, the debut of her side project with Tunng founder Mike Lindsay, Marling shakes off the pressures of authorship and embraces the surreal, ditching her persona of world-weary folk singer to be the medium for the faceless expressive force the duo call LUMP. While her lyrics might be free to lean into the abstract, Marling’s vocal performance is still recognizably folksy, down to her cadence and melodies on nearly every track. Lindsay has wrapped her voice in pulsing, hypnotic arrangements that easily slide from euphoric to ominous, and on the album’s dreamiest cuts the atmosphere gets filled out with sunny woodwinds and an angelic choir of Marlings harmonizing into infinity. All that surrealist pop plays out over 30 minutes of interlocking songs, enough to keep you thoroughly entranced and get you hoping LUMP might soon inspire its hosts to deliver more.

“Late To The Flight” kicks off the album in stunning fashion, welcoming listeners with a shimmering aural sunrise painted in flutes and endless layers of Marling’s delicate voice.

Tunng’s Mike Lindsay – a prolific, Mercury prize-winning producer – was introduced to Grammy-nominated, Brit award-winning singer-songwriter Laura Marling after her show supporting Neil Young in London. LUMP is a heady blend of wonked-out guitars, Moog synths and pattering drums, set against droning, coiling clouds of flutes and voices. The lyrics are inspired by early-20th-century Surrealism and the absurdist poetry of Edward Lear and Ivor Cutler – a bizarre but compelling narrative about the commodification of curated public personas, the mundane absurdity of individualism, and the lengths we go to escape our own meaninglessness.