Posts Tagged ‘singer songwriter’

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If we thought Mitski’s “Working for the Knife” video provided a dramatic return for the songwriter, who took a brief hiatus following the release of 2018’s overwhelmingly acclaimed LP “Be the Cowboy“, nothing could have really prepared us for the level of drama compressed into the three-and-a-half minute visual for the follow-up single “The Only Heartbreaker.” In addition to arriving with the news of a new LP called “Laurel Hell” that’s slated for release in early 2022, and to introducing a heavy new wave vibe to the release, the “Heartbreaker” visual sees Mitski continuing to interpretive dance to her new music as the fantasy planet she inhabits—Laurel Hell?—goes up in flames.

According to Mitski, the song addresses “the person always messing up in the relationship, the designated Bad Guy who gets the blame. It could simply be about that, but I also wanted to depict something sadder beneath the surface, that maybe the reason you’re always the one making mistakes is because you’re the only one trying.”

“The worst pain I’ve experienced is when I’ve fully understood the pain I’ve caused another,” adds Maegan Houang, who co-directed the visual with Jeff Desom. “It’s one of the hardest parts of being human, that no matter our intentions, we’ll inevitably do something hurtful to our fellow man, if not someone we love. In this case, the harm Mitski enacts in the video is to the world. It’s unstoppable and destructive, but worst of all, she doesn’t even want it to happen. She’s a stand-in for humanity as we collectively do so little to save ourselves and our planet.”

“The Only Heartbreaker” the new song by Mitski from the forthcoming album ‘Laurel Hell’, out February 4th 2022 on Dead Oceans Records.

Los Angeles singer-songwriter Christian Lee Hutson has shared his first new music of the year with a new track called “Strawberry Lemonade” with a lovely Waley Wang–directed video that takes place in Washington Square Park in NYC. The track was produced with Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, featuring vocals from the latter and Sharon Silva. Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy also added electric guitar, and Bright Eyes’ Nate Walcott plays some piano and trumpet. It’s quite a nice family affair!

One of Hutson’s most brilliant tracks to date, the single follows his 2020 album “Beginners”. It starts with him detailing a dream. “A series of vignettes about memory, letting go and holding on,” he explained in a press release. “I remember talking to a friend, around the time that I wrote it, about the relentless repackaging of 1960s culture; so some of that ended up in there. The laugh at the beginning of the song is my friend Harry who plays bass on the song.” After all the compelling imagery, Hutson slips in unforgettable sage words. My favourite: “Pain is a way you can move through time / And visit people who are gone in your mind.”

“I want people to feel like it’s okay: we’re all here fucking up all the time; we’re all just learning and living, and it’s going to be all right,” Hutson added. “I don’t even know if I fully believe that, but it’s the voice I always wished I had in my life.”

On his major label debut, Hutson is anything but a beginner. His intricate guitar work, evocative sense of melody and harmony, along with production by Phoebe Bridgers brings about a first record that exceeds expectations.  Three traces have led me here. First, Nathaniel Walcott, who wrote the awesome string arrangements for five of the tracks. He is the keyboardist in the band “Bright Eyes”, led by Conor Oberst. Second, the backing vocals sung by Phoebe Bridgers, who is co-founder of a duo named “Better Oblivion Community Center” – with Conor Oberst. Third, who contributed the harmonica? Well, Conor Oberst. So on the bottom line.

All songs written by Christian Lee Hutson except “Single For The Summer” written by Christian Lee Hutson and Sharon Silva.

One of the great human beings of Planet Earth, Billy Bragg has been mixing pop and politics with compassion and wit for 40 years and, unlike some of his contemporaries, has continued to evolve, look forward and consider the bigger picture. “As a mid century modern geezer, I’m aware that my notions of personal relationships were formed almost fifty years ago, likewise my politics,” Billy says. “To cling to that and imagine that you’ve nothing to learn from younger generations, you’re in danger of becoming a dinosaur. Kids have got new priorities and new ideas. Thatcher’s dead. The world has moved on. I’m trying to respond to the things I’m hearing now, rather than reminding folk of ‘the good old days’.”

One thing that Bragg does better than almost anyone is mix the personal with the political, bringing a relatable point of view to his most strident material, as well as his tender love songs (few are as observant to the slings and arrows of relationships). Written and recorded during the 2020 of the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, The Million Things That Never Happened has the personal and the politically intertwined like never before. There are songs about personal accountability (“Shoulda Seen it Coming,” “The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here No More’), aging and death (“Pass it On,” the title track), and changing with the changing times (“Mid Century Modern,” “Ten Mysterious Photos That Can’t Be Explained.”).

The production on the album by The Magic Numbers’ Romeo Stodart and Dave Izumi is warm and soulful, like Billy’s voice, with mellotron giving songs a surreal thread that fits the times in which it was created, the weirdest two years most of us have ever experienced. The album’s most effective moment, though, is also its most simple and direct. “I Will Be Your Shield” is a song about the power of love and friendship in the times of deepest strife, that is little more than Billy and a piano. “When things start to unravel / And days fill you with dread / When comments dent your confidence / Confide in me instead.” While the world changes by the minute, Billy’s empathy remains steadfast.

Releases October 29th, 2021

Billy Bragg under exclusive licence to Cooking Vinyl Limited

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Another artist in the midst of a breakthrough 2021, Arizona-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Joy Oladokun will share the famed Ryman Auditorium stage with Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit the night before her Sunday afternoon Shaky Knees set, with her first-ever headlining tour to follow in the spring. Inspired to pick up a guitar at age 10 after seeing a Black woman (the great Tracy Chapman) play for the first time, Oladokun made her major-label debut over the summer with “In Defense Of My Own Happiness”, a sweeping, yet intimate collection of soulful folk-pop songs that features collaborations with Maren Morris (“Bigger Man”), Jensen McRae (“wish you the best”), and Penny & Sparrow (“heaven from here”). Oladokun—aka “the trap Tracy Chapman,” as her Twitter bio reads—makes powerfully emotional music, but is quickly becoming known for her funny and engaging stage presence.

Joy Oladokun has released her inaugural Spotify Singles recordings, including a re-work of her original song “Sunday” as well as a cover of Bonnie Raitt’s classic “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” featuring the inimitable Jason Isbell.

Oladokun also recently released a special deluxe edition, “in defense of my own happiness (complete)“, which includes all 14 tracks from her major label debut, and ten additional songs from her self-released 2020 record, “in defense of my own happiness (the beginnings)”.

Joy’s new rendition of “Sunday” is a soulful and raw rendition of the emotional original, a deeply personal meditation on religion, sexuality, and acceptance. Her cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” moves at a lilting pace before Isbell (Joy’s tourmate for a run of shows last month) comes through with an Earth-shaking guitar solo.

Says Joy: “I’ve been a rabid consumer of Spotify Singles since their inception. Being asked to do one was a dream come true and I wanted to bring in the best crew. I asked Jason Isbell to play guitar on the Bonnie Raitt cover and he absolutely smashed the energy and emotion of what I was trying to do. So excited to have these out in the world.”

Joy Oladokun (born 1992 ) is an American singer-songwriter. Oladokun’s music spans the genres of folk, R&B, rock, and pop and is influenced by her identity as a queer woman of colour. She has released three studio albums; Carry (2016), In Defense of My Own Happiness (The Beginnings) (2020), and In Defense of My Own Happiness (2021).

With a guitar in hand, baseball cap over her eyes, and hooded sweatshirt loose, a woman sings with all of the poetry, pain, passion, and power her soul can muster. she is a new kind of american troubadour. she is Joy Oladokun. the Delaware-born, Arizona-raised, and Nashville-based Nigerian-American singer, songwriter, and producer projects unfiltered spirit over stark piano and delicate guitar. after attracting acclaim from vogue, npr, and american songwriter, her words arrive at a time right when we need them the most.

“Words are such a powerful tool,” she states. “I remember all of the best and worst things anyone has ever said to me. I love and respect the ability of words to touch on the physical realm. I’m very intentional with my words. I’m grateful and try to be as encouraging as I can, because I’ve been in situations where that has not been the case and it’s hurt me or others. people are traumatized by words or uplifted and encouraged to change their lives and careers by them.”

Her dad’s record collection included hundreds of titles, and he introduced Joy to everyone from Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, and King Sunny Adé to Conway Twitty and Johnny Cash. as mom and dad stressed academics, she wasn’t allowed to watch tv on weekdays. But on saturday, they would “either rent a movie from blockbuster or watch the thousands of hours of concert and music video footage dad had recorded since coming to the states.” one afternoon, she witnessed Tracy Chapman pay homage to Nelson Mandela during his 70th birthday tribute at Wembley arena.

“When you listen to me, I want you to feel like you’ve taken an emotional shower,” she leaves off. “that’s what I’m trying to accomplish for myself. To me, music is a vehicle of catharsis. I write a lot of sad songs, but I always push for a sliver of a silver lining or glimmer of hope it could be better. that’s why I’m writing in the first place. I want you to be changed when you hear me, and not because I’m special, but because I make music with the intention to change myself.”

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Over the past few years, Anjimile remained one of the most captivating performers and artists in the New England music community. Now relocated to North Carolina, Anjimile is becoming the world’s to share, and he’s sharing a lot from the inside on an introspective new single titled “Stranger,” out today (October 19th).

The stand-alone single, the first new, original music from Anjimile since acclaimed 2020 debut album, “Giver Taker”, is a delicate folk-pop composition about his trans identity and the changes sustained in his recent years taking testosterone. It was recorded with producer/pianist Thomas Bartlett and songwriter/producer Gabe Goodman.

And it also marks Anjimile’s signing to legendary record label 4AD Records, current home to Big Thief, Dry Cleaning, Helado Negro, and others.

“Stranger’ is something of a confrontation between my past and present selves in relationship to my trans identity,” Anjimile says.”I started testosterone about 3 or 4 years ago, and It’s been simultaneously liberating and alarming to note the changes to my mind and body over the years. ‘Stranger’ is an admission to myself that, while I welcome all of those changes — especially the deepening effect of testosterone on my singing and speaking voice — it’s still scary and there is a degree of internal ambivalence to my transition. In transitioning I lost, or gave up, a part of myself. And that is hard to reconcile. ‘Stranger’ is an attempt at some semblance of reconciliation, I guess.”

The follow-up to “Giver Taker” is currently in the works, but in the meantime, float freely with the gorgeous “Stranger” .

Shannon Lay recorded a sombre folk album during the American lockdown, which was then beautifully
coloured by quite a few musicians and that soon surpasses her great previous albums .The American singer-songwriter Shannon Lay already showed on her previous albums that she is not only a great singer, but also an excellent songwriter. You can hear it even more clearly on the “Geist” released this week. It is an album with a sober acoustic basis, which has been coloured in a very tasteful way by a number of guest musicians. It delivers a warm-blooded and timeless sound, which colours beautifully with the beautiful voice of the American musician. “Geist” builds on the previous two albums of the musician from Los Angeles, but makes a bit more of an impression. Annual lists material for lovers of contemporary folk with here and there a longing for the past.

After “All This Life Goin Down” from 2016, “Living Water” from 2017 and August from 2019, “Geist” is already the fourth album by American musician.

The music on “Living Water” that reminded me of illustrious American folk singers from a distant past like Karen Dalton, Linda Perhacs and Judee Sill, but I also heard something from Joni Mitchell. The great thing about Shannon Lay’s music, however, was that one moment she took you back to the distant past, but the next moment she sounded quirky and contemporary.

It is a line that was extended to the August produced by Ty Segall, which at most sounded a bit fuller than its predecessor. “Geist” released this week is again a logical continuation of that album.
The musician from Los Angeles, California, started her new album on her own due to the lockdown in the studio of Jarvis Tavinere of the band Woods. The recorded basis of acoustic guitar and the voice of the musician is beautiful, but was eventually further coloured by quite a few musicians, including multi-instrumentalists Ben Boye (Bonnie Prince Billy) and Devin Hoff (Sharon Van Etten), who added strings, among other things. Then some keyboards were added and Ty Segall was allowed to play a guitar solo.
Despite all the additions, “Geist” is a pretty sober sounding album, on which the bass played by Shannon Lay still dominates. Also on “Geist”, the music of the American musician still reminds of folk singers from a distant past, but the album sounds a bit more contemporary than its predecessors and occasionally also contains some influences from Celtic music.

The accents that have been applied by the aforementioned musicians are particularly tasteful and also provide the album with a special atmosphere and subcutaneous tension. Just like on her previous album, Shannon Lay draws for beautiful but also adventurous songs, to which she adds an over of Syd Barrett’s Late Night.

The musician from Los Angeles delivered a high-quality album with “August” two years ago, but I personally like “Geist” a little better, especially because the album leans less on the past and sounds completely timeless. Geist is an album that is completely convincing immediately upon first listen, but because of the special accents and twists in the instrumentation and the imaginative songs, it is also an album that becomes even better and more interesting for a long time. It is currently raining five-star reviews for the American musician and there is really nothing to argue with.

Geist” feels like a window – or a mirror – into possibilities of the self and beyond. Shannon Lay’s new album is tender intensity, placeless and ethereal. It exists in the chasms of the present — a world populated by shadow selves, spiritual awakenings, déjà vu, and past lives.

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Reb Fountain is to be counted among our finest songwriters whose imagery is both personal and universal, and her command of a melody and a song transcends genre.

The namesake of her new album, which is out now, Reb Fountain says on the single, “’Iris’ is a love letter to my sisters and my many selves, an embrace that holds all the stories we never shared, a rainbow connection, a feminist arsenal, a space to rest, a prism for the heart. What’s in your heart that you dare not speak? If love be our currency, what stories we would tell?”

The perfect extension of her 2020 self-titled record, “Iris” elevates Reb Fountain’s music to new heights. Reb effortlessly combines pop elements with her trademark noir folk-punk sound; weaving authentic and anthemic tunes that create an instant and indelible impression. Written during lockdown in 202, Reb has said on the album “Writing a song a day to keep myself grounded and productive during lockdown, “Iris” provided me an opportunity to speak my unspoken, to reflect what I have seen and experienced from within and to bear witness.”

Diving into the deeper meaning of the album’s namesake, Reb says “Iris is in many ways an unsung hero, known as the goddess of the rainbow, sea and sky, she acts as bridge between the gods to humanity with little of her own story known. So many stories go unheard, so many aspects of our humanity are unsung; visibility is a contested and inequitable space where what is essential and of beauty is often ‘invisible’. I wanted and needed to give voice to this essential human spirit; to conjure and hold and commune with the very real, valid and invaluable voices within and around me.”

“Beastie” is my way of exploring and disrupting tales and tropes that separate ‘others’ from our ‘selves’. It’s easy to relegate evils to the ‘shameful past’; harder to confront our own current inhumanity, especially if one’s identity comes with benefits or losses. I wanted my eyes open and to speak in solidarity with resistance; to make a conscious choice for equity, justice, community, and love . . . and to give folks a chance to join in chorus . . . the band and I look forward to hearing you sing along in the near future.

The award-winning songwriter, Reb Fountain, is a consummate recording artist and performer; spell-bounding audiences with her music and artistry alike. Throughout 2020, Reb and her all-star band (Dave Khan, Karin Canzek and Earl Robertson) astounded audiences around the country on her sold out album release tour.

Reb was born in San Francisco and immigrated with her family from North America to Lyttelton — the quiet port town out of Christchurch that’s been fundamental to New Zealand’s alt-folk scene, raising artists like Marlon Williams, Aldous Harding, and Delaney Davidson.

IRIS” is out via Flying Nun Records on the 1st of October, 2021 on both black and transparent turquoise vinyl, CD and digitally. 

Released October 1st, 2021

All songs written by Reb Fountain except “Swim to the Star”, written by Peggy Seeger and Calum MacColl

Waysides” is not the typical album, but rather a hodgepodge of tracks cut from Bedouine’s previous records, threads of older material, scraps of the sounds and moments of her past. The album encapsulates the artist’s coming of age, grappling with emotions and experiences that come with gaining wisdom. Waysides is the kind of album that would back delicate daydreaming or frolicking through a field, as much as it would work for deep contemplation and nostalgia. Azniv Korkejian has a way of wrapping up rather heavy-hearted lyrics in a charming manner, so much so that the emotion at hand must often be extracted. Sometimes the emotional weight of the song is completely different from how the song sounds, as if one track can become two simultaneously. To use a phrase Korkejian herself sings in “You Never Leave Me,” her music is both “sweet and tough.” 

Bedouine loves covers. In the past couple years, LA-based singer-songwriter Azniv Korkejian has recorded tunes by Margo Guryan, Ron Sexsmith, Big Star, and Bill Withers plus the folk traditional “All My Trials.” And now she has put her own spin on Shaggy’s immortal 2001 chart-topper “It Wasn’t Me.” But Bedouine’s “It Wasn’t Me” is an original the latest single from her upcoming album “Waysides” following last month’s “The Wave.” Here’s a statement from Korkejian about the track: This song represents a special stage to me. I was just starting my habit of bedroom demoing. Locking myself in for hours at a time to put away a feeling was the most rewarding thing. If I felt that I captured what I was feeling, I’d send it to whomever it was about, like an elaborate letter. It was thrilling. That was 15 yrs ago and not much has changed. The song itself is about spending an evening with someone, thinking it was this incredibly romantic time, only to find out I was alone in that feeling. It’s a reflection of that bewilderment and the denial that can follow. It feels good to share after so long. It makes me nostalgic for bygone days, which is one of the threads that runs through Waysides.

The 2nd single from upcoming album, “Waysides” is out via The Orchard. 

Releases October 22nd, 2021

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Marissa Nadler is releasing a new album, “The Path Of Clouds” on October 29th via Sacred Bones and Bella Union. shared its second single, “If I Could Breathe Underwater” via a video for the song that fittingly features Nadler underwater. The song features harp playing from longtime friend Mary Lattimore of Nadler’s. Jenni Hensler directed the video, which was partially shot with 16mm film camera.

Nadler had this to say in a press release: “When I wrote ‘If I Could Breathe Underwater,’ I was contemplating the possibilities of possessing various superhuman powers: teleportation, shapeshifting, energy projection, aquatic breathing, extrasensory perception, and time travel to name a few. As a lyrical device, I married those powers with events in my life, wondering if and how they could change the past or predict the future. I loved working on the melody for this song and bringing the choruses to their climaxes. Mary’s layered, hallucinatory shimmers really echo the netherworld of the story.”

Hensler had this to say about the video: “This song took on many meanings to me and I love that about it. How beauty and tragedy collide. Dreaming of having supernatural powers to change reality and have the ability to live and breathe underwater. It could also speak to the duality of existence. That we all have inner personas or shadow selves, and how we envision those different masks we wear. I chose to make something that touched on the idea of duality and the inner persona. To connect to the two worlds.”

Previously Nadler had shared the album’s first single, “Bessie Did You Make It ?” via a video for it. Nadler wrote and recorded the album during the pandemic and was partially inspired by binging reruns of Unsolved Mysteries as she “began to notice parallels between many of its stories and her own life,” as a press release puts it. On The Path of the Clouds she worked with various collaborators, including Mary Lattimore, Simon Raymonde (of Cocteau Twins and Lost Horizons and the head of Bella Union), multi-instrumentalist Milky Burgess, Jesse Chandler (Nadler’s piano teacher and a member of Mercury Rev and Midlake), Emma Ruth Rundle, and Black Mountain’s Amber Webber. Seth Manchester (Lingua Ignota, Battles, and Lightning Bolt) mixed the album.

If I Could Breathe Underwater, off of my upcoming album The Path of the Clouds. The album is out October 29th on Sacred Bones Records and Bella Union Records.

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Three years after dropping her much-adored debut album “Lush”, Snail Mail has announced her new LP “Valentine”, out on October 5th. The project’s title track, out today, is a sunburst of unrequited love with one very scream-worthy hook that will find a special place in the heart of anyone with a soft spot for anthemic alt-rock. Josh Coll directs the music video, streaming below, and turns in a tale of aristocratic affection with buckets worth of blood.

Many young female musicians who were heralded as prodigies have made music this year revisiting the barbarity of that early renown, the powerlessness they felt as teenagers trapped in an all-consuming gaze. Lorde described having “nightmares from the camera flash”; Billie Eilish observed “a stalker walking up and down the street” Clairo spoke about being “just useless and a whore” but still getting cosigned by “your favourite one-man show” after being sexualized in the industry. To deal with the aftereffects of a “young life colliding with sudden fame,” Lindsey Jordan of Snail Mail who became an indie rock phenom after she released her debut album, “Lush” at 18—spent time at a recovery facility. There she charted out arrangements for what would be her upcoming second album, Valentine, later building on and refining those sketches in North Carolina with producer Brad Cook. Her intimate worlds, usually confined to a “you” and “I,” now face unwanted intruders: “Careful in that room,” she warns a lover on Valentine’s title track. “Those parasitic cameras, don’t they stop to stare at you?”

The most striking change on “Valentine” is Jordan’s voice, which is deeper, hoarser, and more mature than before. It cuts through foggy, cinematic synths as she lays out the unsteady dynamics of a relationship (“You’ve gotta live/And I gotta go”) while emphasizing the force of her devotion (“Fuck being remembered/I think I was made for you”). “Valentine” is accompanied by a gory, high-drama music video in which Jordan plays a chambermaid to a high-society woman with whom she has an illicit affair; crestfallen and crazed after seeing her lover with a man, she binge-drinks, stuffs her face with cake, and eventually murders him. The song ratchets up from slow-jam to power pop, souring in an instant as Jordan reels from betrayal: “So why’d you want to erase me?” she cries, speeding into the question with all of her might. Jordan is shattered yet hopeful, anticipating future envy upon seeing her lover with someone else and preparing for when, not if, they change their mind. Undergirding all these emotions is a simple truth: “I adore you.”

2/18 – Manchester, England – Manchester Academy 2
2/20 – Glasgow, Scotland – QMU
2/22 – Bristol, England – SWX
2/23 – London, England – O2 Forum Kentish Town

Valentine, the new album, is out on Matador Records