Posts Tagged ‘singer songwriter’

Joanna Sternberg recently shared “This Is Not Who I Want To Be,” It’s our first taste from the New York-based musician’s debut album “Then I Try Some More”. Its released this week Sternberg has already lined up a stint opening for Conor Oberst this summer and has another single, “For You.”

Sternberg has a way with simple stories and melodies that feel eternal, and “For You” falls into that category. It’s little more than Sternberg and a gently galloping guitar, but it gets at something universal: not seeing humanity reflected in another person’s eyes. “With a smile like yours, you could get away with murder, so I will not trust you,” they sing. “With a face like yours, you will know no suffering, I can’t connect with you, although I’ll try each time though I don’t know why.”

Here’s Sternberg with a statement on the song:

This song is about being in any sort of a relationship with a narcissistic person who does not care about you. I have always wanted to be friends with everyone, so it has been difficult to say goodbye to these people. I wish all of them well. I wrote this song as a reminder to surround myself with people who reciprocate my love. I am sorry about the judgmental tone of this song, because I know that everybody feels pain and it is impossible to see into anyone’s mind, body or heart … but I guess life is full of fleeting emotions so if this song is too negative, maybe you will give me another chance and listen to “Pimba” (my song about a baby penguin) which is the next track on the album!

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Released July 12th, 2019

All songs written and performed (vocals and all instruments) by Joanna Sternberg. 

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Joan Shelley Announces New Album <i>Like the River Loves the Sea</i>, Releases Single “Cycle”

Louisville-based singer-songwriter Joan Shelley has released a new single, “Cycle” and announced her forthcoming album title “Like the River Loves the Sea”.

The acoustically mellow track, “Cycle” stays in the lane of Shelley’s normal folk music. Touching on the vocal and lyrical nuances of Joni Mitchell, as well as the folk undertones of Gillian Welch, Shelley’s sweetly soft vocals mixed with the wistful melody and building strings of the song are a match made in heaven.

The song is the second taste of music from Like the River Loves the Sea. The first, “Coming Down For You,” still finds Shelley diving into her singer-songwriter ways, but the track is sonically a bit bigger and less stripped-back than “Cycle.”

Due out August. 30th via No Quarter Records, Like the River Loves the Sea was recorded in only five days in Reykjavik, Iceland, and all 12 songs were written by Shelley. Following her 2017 self-titled album, Like the River Loves the Sea illustrates the ethos of love and comfort throughout nature.

“The best music would be a conversation with the divine that has seen all of it, or with the oldest trees that have witnessed the whole human story. These songs are partly that conversation, at times through the lens of lovers,” Shelley says in a statement. “They are also a longing cry born of all the dividing; a call across the slowly spreading ocean. Primarily, Like The River Loves The Sea is built as a haven for overstimulated heads in uncertain times.”

“Like The River Loves The Sea” out August 30th, 2019

What a Boost artwork

For all the upward motion suggested by its title, What a Boost basks in a cozy kind of groundedness. The subtle, psychedelic folk on Rozi Plain’s fourth album is as soothing and reliable as a mug of milky tea; these songs don’t rise and fall as much as they simply steep. The British singer-songwriter refined the record over the course of a year on the road, and it bears the marks of an itinerant existence: Worn grooves stretch on like the white lines of a highway, circular guitar figures convey a dutiful sense of routine, and Plain’s fragmented lyrics meander like backseat daydreams. On the hovering ”Conditions,” she sounds a bit like Charlotte Gainsbourg fronting the Beta Band as she sings “Is this the way for love?” with the nonchalance of a traveler asking for directions.

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Tweaked and refined during a year spent touring the world playing bass in This Is The Kit, ‘What A Boost’ nurtures its homely roots and then blooms into a record that isn’t strictly about life on road but is undoubtedly, and beautifully, shaped by it. Textural, repetitive, propulsive, the whole piece plays out like a soundtrack to the world flying past the window; all of the shapes, colours, sights and sounds, flickering fast as we try to take as much of it in as we can. 

The music of Rozi Plain has always felt like a freeze-frame. A colourful and graceful snapshot of the world, paused, suspended in time, and then gently toyed with, like stepping out of the linear world as we know it.

Hatchie is the world of Harriette Pilbeam. Step inside her mind; a dreamy landscape where cascading synths, jangling guitars, propulsive rhythms and white noise undulate beneath irresistible pop melodies. Rather than focusing on the external world of her life in Brisbane, Pilbeam turns her gaze inwards, making a soundtrack out of her daydreams, setting her emotional life to song.

Brisbane’s Hatchie, aka Harriette Pilbeam, has released her debut full-length, “Keepsake”. Available through Double Double Whammy.

Following up on 2018’s Sugar & Spice EP, Keepsake spans 10 dreamy tracks that bring in elements of shoegaze and danceable pop. Singles “Stay With Me”, “Without a Blush”, and “Obsessed” have hinted at the influence of the likes of Cocteau Twins and Mazzy Star.

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Speaking about the album title , Hatchie said of Keepsake,

“It was a word that popped up in one of the songs, ‘Kiss the Stars’. I talk about keeping a heart as a keepsake, and I thought it was really nice. I have a bunch of little keepsakes and mementos in a drawer at home. I thought that this album would be a keepsake, kind of like a time capsule of this time in my life. So, it just kind of makes sense. I didn’t put too much thought into it at the time, which is good because I was worried I would be agonizing over it. I really liked that it was an easy decision to name the album Keepsake.”

For more insight into Keepsake, Hatchie has broken the record down Track by Track.

“Not That Kind”:
I wrote this song in mid 2017, when I wasn’t intentionally working towards anything specific like, say, an album. I just wanted to write a fun, rollicking pop song so I started with the lead synth line and guitars. It came together really quickly and I don’t even remember writing the lyrics. It’s got one of my favourite bass lines on the whole album. I used an old multi-effects pedal to create a random rhythm for the guitar in the bridge. I always thought it would be the perfect opener for an album, so I’m glad it’s ended up that way.

“Without A Blush”:
I wrote this one in early 2018 when I was focusing on the more industrial, heavy sounds that I wanted on the album. I started with the bass line and worked on the verses for ages. I actually lost the original demo because my programs kept crashing, but it ended up being a bit of a blessing because the second time around I had a much more concise vision for the song. I agonized over the bridge for months, originally trying a bunch of different vocal lines before deciding it really just needed some breathing space, both for me as the singer and the listener. After all the touring I did over the past year, I realized most of my songs have no breaks at all, so I really wanted this one to have space to grow before coming back with a bang at the end.

“Her Own Heart”:
This track is sonically more similar to the early Hatchie demos and the vision I had for the project back when I started it. As with the EP demos, the original version was also super washy, with 10 layers of guitars stacked up to make it as wet and verbed out as possible. At the time it was really irking me that so many of my songs are about someone else and how they make me feel, so with this one I set out to write about how I hoped I would react if I was suddenly completely on my own and forced to be emotionally independent — hence the cheesy lyrics about shooting your heart with your own arrow, and being your own muse. These are concepts I wish I’d been more aware of when I was younger. The original lyrics were far too long, telling a much bigger story that I wish I could have fit in. I wrote it in third person because I found it easier to open up and see it from a different perspective.

“Obsessed”:
I wrote this song more recently than the other tracks, a few weeks before we went into the studio in July last year. I wanted a super contained, compressed pop song with imperfections to balance out the sprawling, dramatic songs already written for the album. I started with the drum machine and layered up the synths before adding the vocals and guitars, trying to make them sound like samples. It makes me feel really nostalgic for when I was a teenager. It sounds like it’s a love song but it’s actually about my tendency to get obsessed with new friends to the point of pushing them away because I over analyze the relationship and ruin it. I wrote it in a few hours when I was feeling really down about not writing any new songs that I liked for a few months.

“Unwanted Guest”:
I probably shouldn’t say it, but this is my favourite track on the album. It’s exactly what I wanted the whole album to sound like before deciding it needed the balance of other more poppy, light, happy songs for it to work as a whole. I played around with the verse for months, really struggling to figure out where it should go after the spoken line. I just had two parts that I loved – the vocals and a bass line – and couldn’t decide on proper chords to fit under it. I had actually decided to shelve this song after a few different sessions working with Joe where we tried everything from changing the key to changing the entire chord structure. It was driving me crazy and I felt like we just kept getting further and further away from how I wanted it to sound. I gave up and started working on a brand new song, which I realized worked perfectly as a chorus after this original verse, so we put them together in a new session and it was a revelation. Recording all the synths in the outro was one of my favourite days in the studio. It’s an angry song about being dragged to a party you don’t want to be at!!

“Secret”:
This song was a surprise addition to the album in the final days of recording. We had some spare time after almost finishing all of the other tracks so decided to give something new a go. I had all the vocal and synth parts written, but like Unwanted Guest, I had no idea how to fit them all together and make something that sounded really different from the rest of the album. John Castle, who produced the album, sat down with the parts for an hour and came out with something way beyond where I imagined the song going originally. We were wary about the Robbie Williams piano line he suggested we add in behind everything in the second half of the song, but it’s my favourite part now. I wrote the lyrics last. It’s about confiding in a friend about your mental health.

“Kiss The Stars”:
This song is about seeing a childhood friend after years apart. I wanted to write something super nostalgic that looked back on a much simpler time in my life. I had the ‘kiss the stars’ line in my head for a while, having an idea of how I wanted that part of the song to go but not the rest. I tried adding it to various other tracks I was working on before realizing it worked best with this one. I love that the rhythm guitar and bass alternate between the same two chords for the entire song. In the demo I even just cut the progression in half and pasted the guitar and bassline in the opposite order for the change halfway through. The outro vocal part is such a special part to me, I love stacking up three or four harmonies to mimic a chord like that. It’s also when I reference the album title!

“Stay With Me”:
I heard Joe playing and singing this verse over and over from the other room and fell in love with it. We finished it together for fun, not as a song for any project in particular, aiming for a Kylie meets Trainspotting dance track. It was really exciting hearing it all come together though, and we agreed it was the perfect addition to the album. I love that it’s got a real a crying-on-the-dancefloor vibe.

“When I Get Out”:
This is another track that started off sounding completely different from the final product after merging multiple songs into one. I wanted something that reminded me of the The OC soundtrack that was so prevalent in my teen years.

“Keep”:
This is by far the oldest song on the album — it actually almost ended up on the previous EP. When deciding on the demos I was going to re-record for the album I skipped over it, feeling like I had outgrown the straight up pop sound and had better options. Once I had selected all of the other tracks though I felt like “Keep” would be the perfect connection between the album and the EP. I really like the simple, pop bookends of the album – opening with “Not That Kind” and closing with “Keep”.

released June 21st, 2019

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In keeping with the way Russack recorded her two 2018 albums she made with fellow Melbourne musician and great friend Lachlan Denton, over a year with Liam Halliwell and Dylan Young on hand, each track on the album was recorded in one take and live to tape at Phaedra Studies and mixed immediately thereafter by John Lee. Hence, not only its rusticity and fragility but also its immediacy and authenticity.

Emma gave us a taste of the album in the single What Is Love? late in 2018. Recorded for the short film An Athlete Wrestling a Python, Emma writes about the simplicities of love, asking “What Is Love?”. During the song she asks, “is it borrowing a t-shirt?” or is it “reading over shoulders?”. It is many things! Apart from the personal lyrical content, the other prevalent thing in the song is the piano taking the lead. It also does soon the new single Winter Blues. The four-and-a-half-minute single is the album’s centrepiece. Incredibly subtle and incredibly beautiful, the song floats in a sombre key, intermittently dotted by Russack’s contemplations, “blame it on the winter blues”.

The piano is also showcased on the album’s quieter moments: Like the Wind, Horses and the album’s stunning finale Never Before.

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releases July 5th, 2019
Players: Liam Halliwell, Dylan Young, Emma Russack 

Small Pond Records are delighted to announce that they have signed Sydney, Australia-based art-folk virtuoso Bonniesongs, aka Bonnie Stewart, and will release her debut album “Energetic Mind” in the UK on 6th September 2019.

Bonniesongs the project of Sydney, based art-folk musician Bonnie Stewart, who will release her debut album  on September 6th earlier this month she shared the album’s first single Ice Cream and today we hit back with her new single, “Barbara.”

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Stewart shows a different side to her songwriting craft her, with a dark brooding atmospheric beginning that paves the way for her haunting folk vocals. This atmosphere makes sense when you learn a bit about the mindset she was in when writing the track as described by her below:
This track was inspired by re-watching the original 1968 Night of the Living Dead at a household movie night. I love zombie movies. I noticed how the main woman’s character was a weak crumbling mess that was almost completely useless in the chaos that was happening. Meanwhile, the men were pulling it together and saving everyone. This sort of inequality is typical of this era I guess, but is still annoying! Anyway, the song is mostly told from Barbara’s perspective…”

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“I want the power in my music to come from lyrics and melody rather than trickery of the brain,” Marika Hackman said back in 2015, just before the release of her full-length debut We Slept At Last. Fast forward four years and one more album, and the singer-songwriter continues to live up to this promise on late single “i’m not where you are,” all about “breaking up with people, or self-sabotaging relationships,” as Hackman explains in a statement. Between her sultry, languorous delivery and synths that are at once toe-tapping and melancholic, the English artist once again crafts a powerful melody with lyrics that reveal a fraught emotional underbelly. Hackman adds that “i’m not where you are” meditates on “[t]hat feeling of not trusting one’s emotions because you can’t seem to get to the same place as the other person. On the surface, it seems like an arrogant ‘everybody falls in love with me’ kind of song but it’s actually incredibly lonely, introspective and self-deprecating.”

British singer/songwriter Marika Hackman is releasing a new album, Any Human Friend, on August 9th via Sub Pop. This week shared another song from the album titled, “the one,” which was the first song written for Any Human Friend.

It also might be Hackman’s catchiest song to date. In a press release Hackman concurs, saying “the one” is “probably the poppiest song I’ve ever written. I loved the idea of inhabiting this ridiculous arrogant rock star character who has totally fucked their career by writing too many sad songs.”

Previously she shared the album’s first single “i’m not where you are”

Any Human Friend is the follow-up to her 2017-released breakthrough release, sophomore album I’m Not Your Man. Hackman co-produced the album with David Wrench (Frank Ocean, The xx, Let’s Eat Grandma).

In a previous press release Hackman summed up the album this way: “This whole record is me diving into myself and peeling back the skin further and further, exposing myself in quite a big way. It can be quite sexual. It’s blunt, but not offensive. It’s mischievous.”

Hackman added: “I’m a hopeless romantic. I search for love and sexual experience, but also I’m terrified by it.”

Hackman is unabashed about tackling these themes, even if her only family is a little less enthused. “I sent ‘all night’ to my parents and they were quite shocked,” she said in the press release. “Why does it sound shocking coming out of my mouth? Women have sex with each other, and it seems to me we aren’t as freely allowed to discuss that as men are. But at no point am I disrespecting the women I’m having sex with. It can be fucking sexy without banging people over the head with a frying pan. It’s sexy sex.”

Out now on AMF / Sub Pop Published by Transgressive Records Ltd.

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It’s very rare that you’ll ever get such an established, talented and all-round beautiful songwriter releasing their debut solo single at such a stage. Josienne Clarke’s collaborations have elevated her to a certain level but she now steps out on her own and to be perfectly candid, she’s shining brighter than ever.

On ‘Things I Didn’t Need’ Josienne Clarke is so hauntingly angelic that you feel as though you’re sucked into her world, feeling what she feels. As though you’re some sort of impersonating body snatcher, it’s so wonderfully poetic and yet heartbreaking at the same time. The acoustic guitar takes a backseat in the track in place for Josienne’s wonderful voice to pull the song through and it ultimately elevates it to easily become one of the folk songs of the year. The release features new song “Things I Didn’t Need” – with barely more than voice and the Twin Peaks-like echoes of her guitar, the focus is centred on the song. Plus two new b-sides that further Clarke’s embracing of a less-is-more approach to her music and a resolve to sing it as she sees it.

B Side ‘Season And Time’ is just as beautiful, creating a world that is represented as being so beautiful but she’s just running out of “notes” to describe her feelings for her love and it’s so beautifully told it’s almost self-insulting for her to refer to music as “singing is just talking to a tune” and ultimately that is how personal these songs feel to the listener, as if Josienne is speaking directly to them, telling her own personal tale in, sometimes, a hauntingly dark way. It’s truly wonderful.

Track listing

A- Things I Didn’t Need, B1- Season And Time, B2- Never Lie

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“Smoke Inside”, the crunchy blues waltz from Australian singer-songwriter Harmony Byrne, is definitely worth a listen this week. The track is taken from Byrne’s upcoming album Heavy Doors and features her amazing voice alongside some really slick production.

“As a child I was told that I was a drama queen,” Harmony Byrne says of the track. “Initially, I mistook this as being a negative aspect of my personality and struggled to express myself. But thankfully, I was also taught to have self-worth, honesty, integrity, and that I only ever need be myself in a world full of frauds. “Smoke Inside” is all about valuing who you are, no matter how wild or tame, and that if someone you love doesn’t let you light up inside, then they are not the match for you.”

Harmony Byrne – “Smoke Inside” (Official Video) “Smoke Inside” from Harmony Byrne’s upcoming debut album, “Heavy Doors”

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I’ve loved Maria Taylor for such a long time. She’s a singer/songwriter that came up on Saddle Creek Records at the same time as Conor Oberst. She just knocked me out years ago with this record called 11:11 that I just loved so much. Hew new album In the Next Life came out about a year or two ago. “If Only” is such a beautiful song from it. She sings this double vocal melody on it and it’s so beautiful. It reminds me of Elliott Smith when I hear it. It’s this really simple arrangement of just acoustic guitar and then these little bits of strings and xylophones come in, really sparse, to accentuate the end of it. And then these drums come in with a military building beat and a little arpeggio guitar, but it’s such a great build and a hooky song. I keep seeing it on TV shows, too.

“If Only” music video from Maria Taylor’s forthcoming album, “In the Next Life,” out on Flower Moon Records.