Posts Tagged ‘singer songwriter’

Arny Margret proudly announced the release of her debut album, ‘They Only Talk About The Weather’ , out October 21st. The gorgeous new single ‘sníglar’ is out now. With poetic proficiency and a knack for composing melodies that bury themselves deep into the subconscious, Arny writes of loneliness and existentialism with stark relatability. Musically she draws inspiration from folk and blues roots, utilising a less-is-more approach to convey openness, choosing to rely mostly on the delicate strumming of acoustics and her dulcet voice.

Arny Margret has spent the last year making waves, not only in her Icelandic hometown but across Europe and the US, touring extensively, supporting Leif Vollebekk, playing Reykjavik Calling, Iceland Airwaves and more. She released her anticipated debut EP to critical acclaim in February and now she’s proudly announced the release of her debut album, ‘They Only Talk About The Weather’ out October 21st. 

‘They Only Talk About The Weather’ is an album of acute emotional exploration. It’s Arny’s coming-of-age journey, from writing in school, staring out of dorm room windows, being on the road, to today. With poetic proficiency and a knack for composing melodies that bury themselves deep into the subconscious, Arny writes of loneliness and existentialism with stark relatability. There’s a quiet confidence that comes from these tracks; crystal clear in their conception, completely honest, and masterfully arranged. She walks us through her relationships growing up and her realisations about other people as well as herself. We listen as she unpacks herself to a backdrop of vividly painted natural landscapes.  

The album’s relationship with weather is noteworthy. Examining her surroundings is how Arny puts to words her feelings. The sparsely populated and confined Westfjord peninsula in north-western Iceland is its own character here, and the bitter but playful snow colours her deeply personal prose across the whole LP.

In this sense, “They Only Talk About The Weather” can be a warming comfort to those who need it most as ice forms outside and nights fall earlier in the evening. She tells us; “I like to use the weather, in one of my songs I even make it a person, I sing “I am blinded by the light of winter, but it comes and goes away, I don’t like her very much, you can’t depend on anything she’ll say”. Musically she draws inspiration from folk and blues roots, utilising a less-is-more approach to convey openness, choosing to rely mostly on the delicate strumming of acoustics and her dulcet voice. On two tracks, ‘Cold Aired Breeze’ and ‘Ties’, Arny plays with a full band for the first time on record, adding layers of shuffling drums, soaring lap steel and synth padding to emphasise impact. Elsewhere on the album minor flourishes reveal themselves constantly, rewarding repeat listens.

Taken from new album ‘they only talk about the weather’ out on October 21st One Little Independent Records

Tomberlin’s  second full length album, “i don’t know who needs to hear this…”, documents struggles with identity, belonging, and isolation. These are timely topics that she tackles with a dose of empathy with an eye towards experimenting with different musical styles. One of the finest practitioners of this sparse musicality is Sarah Beth Tomberlin, who performs under her surname. Her 2018 debut album “At Weddings” drew comparisons to ambient icons like Grouper and staples of contemporary indie like Julien Baker. Her new album, is grander than anything she’s done before

In spite of the album’s strongest passages, at its beginning and, then again, most of the way through, “i don’t know” is assembled in such a way as to echo times of confidence against those of feeling lost that can leave the listener in a confounding spot.

Recorded in Brooklyn with producer Philip Weinrobe, known for his work with Adrienne Lenker and Buck Meek, the record features contributions from Shahzad Islamly and Told Slant’s Felix Walworth. Where “At Weddings” was written without a goal in mind and carries that homespun air, 

With Tomberlin’s past recordings planted firmly in the indie camp, it’s encouraging to see her go down some different paths. Especially given that’s where the album captures most of its magic. “Wasted” from the 2020-released “Projections” EP gave a flavour of what “i don’t know” explores more fully, with backing beat tracks that favour In Rainbows-era Radiohead entering right at the offset on album opener “easy.” The following track, “born again runner,” deals with the scars of an evangelical upbringing. Though not an uncommon topic, Tomberlin’s investment of the personal here, along with the commingling of pedal steel and synth drones, makes for one of the album’s most grounded moments. Completing one of “i don’t know’s” strongest passages, “tap” benefits from the contrast of fidgety percussive beats and a laconic, nearly spoken word vocal.

The middle passage of the album is marred by a lack dynamic range which may mirror feelings of hopelessness, but culminates in the low key snark of “collect caller.” The song’s title makes for an antiquated reference to a freeloader who has a habit of “disappearing from the table before the bill is paid,” but as with the songs that come immediately before, the track drifts by unaided by a jazzy sax line. Though the transition is a touch jarring, the energy boost from the following “stoned” and “happy accident” make for a welcome reprieve. Tomberlin pushes her vocals to their most strident and highest range, which elicits a true sense of frustration. “I wanna die, when you say don’t cry,” she retaliates on “happy accident.” The song’s bent notes and corrosive synths make for a clear highlight and recall Sharon Van Etten’s push into different sonic territories.

Tomberlin’s most open hearted vocals benefit the closing two songs, but the energy level is brought back to the album’s middle, along with another lethargic sax solo to close things out. I don’t know’s initial singles—the acronym-styled title track, “tap,” and “happy accident”—ultimately provide the album’s road map. The further experimentation of “tap” and the display of raw emotion on “happy accident” prove more successful than “i don’t know’s” more down tempo moments, even when those mirror the album’s themes more closely.

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Singer Songwriter Mitski has released another track from her forthcoming LP “Laurel Hell”. It’s called “Heat Lightning,” and it arrives with an animated lyric video created by Alex Moy..

“Laurel Hell” is out February 4th via Dead Oceans Records. The follow-up to Mitski’s 2018 album “Be the Cowboy” includes the previously shared singles “Working for the Knife” and “The Only Heartbreaker.” Mitski recorded her upcoming LP with her long time producer Patrick Hyland. She will set out on a sold out tour in support of “Laurel Hell” early next year.

We don’t typically look to pop albums to answer our cultural moment, let alone to meet the soul hunger left in the wake of global catastrophe. But occasionally, an artist proves the form more malleable and capacious than we knew. With “Laurel Hell”, Mitski cements her reputation as an artist in possession of such power – capable of using her talent to perform the alchemy that turns our most savage and alienated experiences into the very elixir that cures them. Her critically beloved last album, “Be the Cowboy“, built on the breakout acclaim of 2016’s “Puberty 2” and launched her from cult favourite to indie star. She ascended amid a fever of national division, and the grind of touring and pitfalls of increased visibility influenced her music as much as her spirit. Like the mountain laurels for this new album is named, public perception, like the intoxicating prism of the internet, can offer an alluring façade that obscures a deadly trap—one that tightens the more you struggle. Exhausted by this warped mirror, and our addiction to false binaries, she began writing songs that stripped away the masks and revealed the complex and often contradictory realities behind them. She wrote many of these songs during or before 2018, while the album finished mixing in May 2021.

It is the longest span of time Mitski has ever spent on a record, and a process that concluded amid a radically changed world. Recorded throughout the isolation of a global pandemic, during which some of the songs “slowly took on new forms and meanings, like seed to flower.” Sometimes it’s hard to see the change when you’re the agent of it, but for the lucky rest of us, Mitski has written a soundtrack for transformation, a map to the place where vulnerability and resilience, sorrow and delight, error and transcendence can all sit within our humanity, can all be seen as worthy of acknowledgment, and ultimately, love.

CD variants: There are four limited edition alternate versions of Laurel Hell: the Stay Soft Get Eaten CDs. Each edition makes up one quadrant of a greater image so that when all four are put together, one cohesive exclusive image of Mitski appears. Each edition is named after a line from the hook of the album’s third track “Stay Soft”: “STAY Version,” “SOFT Version,” “GET Version,” and “EATEN Version.” These are signified by the version titles being in the corner of each slipcover.

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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