Posts Tagged ‘singer songwriter’

Itasca announces her sublime new album “Spring”, written in a century-old adobe house in New Mexico. Feat. Chris Cohen, James Elkington, & members of Bitchin’ Bajas & Sun Araw, it contains her most quietly dazzling songs to date. Hear “Bess’s Dance” below, Itasca, is the mesmeric project of California songwriter Kayla Cohen, she has announced her new album Spring, due out November 1st. “Bess’s Dance,” describing it as “a beguiling rumination. Kayla Cohen’s got a voice that glows like the sun at dusk, and plays acoustic guitar with a nimble yet intricate touch.”

Cohen wrote the anticipated follow-up to her acclaimed 2016 album Open to Chance in a century-old adobe house in rural New Mexico. Inspired by the landscape and history of the region, the sublime Spring—its title summoning both season and scarce local water sources—dowses a devotional path to high desert headwaters.  James Elkington adds cinematic string arrangement graces “Bess’s Dance”, and members of Gun Outfit and Sun Araw.

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“Spring” contains Cohen’s most quietly dazzling and self-assured set of songs to date.

Featuring contributions from Chris Cohen, Cooper Crain (Bitchin’ Bajas), James Elkington, and members of Gun Outfit and Sun Araw.

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Born in Bristol to musical parents Pearl Love grew up surrounded by sound and immersed in a creative lifestyle, attending her first gig at the tender age of 13 days old, strapped to her mum as she played the trumpet. Pearl’s music is a key and undivided part of her identity. Through her honest song writing and delicate vocals Pearl embraces the beauty found in vulnerability and invites her listeners to experience the world as she sees it.

Inspired by artists such as Lucy Rose and Regina Spektor, Pearl presents her audiences with an emotive and authentic performance every time.

Living in the river town Louisville, Kentucky, where the Ohio River is at its widest, must be impactful for Joan Shelley, as both this album and her last, 2018 EP Rivers and Vessels, include the word “river.” This time the river led her to Iceland, where she recorded yet another exquisite collection of songs that pairs the purest voice since Joan Baez with an exploration of uncertain currents. Over the past few years, and seven albums, Shelley, along with longtime guitarist Nathan Salsburg, has quietly created a genre unto herself.

In her album announcement she said that her songs invoke a “conversation with the divine that has seen all of it. … They are also a longing cry born of all the dividing; a call across the slowly spreading ocean. Primarily, [the album] is a haven for overstimulated heads in uncertain times.” To say that she and Salsburg put you in a trance is an oversimplification, but you do get lost and want to linger in a world so slip-shaped that only heaven seems to know. Thus, I cannot pick any single song to highlight, but if you are taken with “Cycle,” a Nick Drake-Sandy Denny-like floater, you’ll be as smitten as I am.

“LIKE THE RIVER LOVES THE SEA”, the new record, is coming out in just over 2 weeks.  I can’t wait to rip off the seal and let you all into it. Two songs are out now, as singles for the record:
Click to listen to Coming Down for You featuring Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Nathan Salsburg, and James Elkington-and Cycle featuring Nathan and James as well as the Icelandic sisters, string dream-team Sigrún Kristbjörg Jónsdóttir and Þórdís Gerður Jónsdóttir. Music video animated by Douglas Miller.

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

2019 maisie peters poster

U.K. singer-songwriter Maisie Peters debuted an acoustic video for her song “Stay Young,” In the clip, the 19-year-old folk-pop singer performs a stripped-down version of the track in a cozy studio setting, with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a keyboard.

“‘Stay Young’ is a song I wrote last summer, inspired by the song ‘America’ by Simon & Garfunkel,” Peters tells us. “I vividly remember listening to it on the train and being amazed by how clever and beautiful it is, how much of a literal and emotional journey it takes you on. I got to my session and the first verse of ‘Stay Young’ just poured out in practically one sentence as my friend and producer Sam Romans played the bass riff. To me, it says everything I want to say to everyone I love in my life, and hope it does the same to everyone who listens.”

Hot on the heels of her sold out debut headline UK tour earlier this year, this emerging young star, Maisie Peters, announced her biggest headline show to date at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on November 14th. She will also play Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms the night prior on November 13th. Tickets for both shows will be on sale at 10am on Friday 2nd August.

A gifted observational lyricist with a distinctively delicate voice, 19-year-old Peters continues to cement herself as one of the UK’s brightest new talents. She currently boasts over 150m global streams, 4.7m views on YouTube, 3.4m monthly Spotify listeners and has famous fans in global superstar Sam Smith and Lewis Capaldi. Most recently, her track ‘Feels Like This’ (taken from debut EP ‘Dressed Too Nice For A Jacket’) was named Scott Mills’ Tune of the Week on BBC Radio 1, becoming Maisie’s first entry to the iTunes Top 40 Chart in the process. A captivating live act, Peters has toured with the likes of George Ezra, Mahalia and Tom Walker. This summer has also seen her making the festival rounds, playing memorable sets to packed-out tents at Latitude, All Points East, The Great Escape and more.

There is transformative power bursting through the 12 songs on “Emily Alone”, the new album from indie-folk project Florist. It’s not loud or showy or self-serving or generous. It’s just there, simple and plainspoken, waiting to be engaged and willing to move through anyone who needs it. Presumably, that’s what happened to Emily Sprague, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter named in the album’s title. Last winter, she wrote and recorded Emily Alone during a period of isolation and personal reflection spurred by the unexpected death of her mother and a move across the country, away from her collaborators in Florist (the band’s home base is still listed as New York on their Bandcamp). On Emily Alone, Sprague strips down her songs to their barest elements, leaving only her voice, words and plucked acoustic guitar (plus an occasional exception) to carry the message. What’s left is not just bedroom-recorded confessional music, but pure introspection, confusion, revelation and emotion rubbed raw and exposed to the world.

These songs are not sad so much as they channel the ebbs and flows of life lived inside a human brain with startling accuracy. Perhaps you have to be in the right place—emotionally, spiritually, spatially or whatever—for Emily Alone to impact you fully. But if you’re there, you’ll feel it. And if you’re not there, that’s okay. When you’re ready, Florist will be there waiting for you.

There is a metaphysical quality to the songs as they search for meaning in existence, swaying between the mundane and the spiritual. Emily believes deeply in the magic and connectedness of all things. The album Emily Alone is the creation of a self reflective lens through which we can view that omnipresence of love and life and the energy of all things around us as well as within us.

Featuring Emily Sprague Additional Vocals by Marguerite Sprague on Double Double Whammy Records

, 10 Irish acts to see at this year’s All Together Now

Belfast’s Kitt Philippa has spent a career refining their craft before releasing this year’s “You” EP, a beautifully atmospheric and emotional collection of sleek but hauntingly intimate numbers. One of the more introspective acts on the line-up, Kitt Philippa’s live sets are hypnotising and feel like seeing someone on the cusp of something fantastic. The production is majestic and totally spellbinding. And then she starts to sing…wowzers.

‘𝐘𝐎𝐔’ EP is out now; I hope this music brings you joy, I gave my best to every beat, this is my first release with Paragon Records; it houses singles ‘Human’ and ‘Grace’ and also includes ‘Lion’ and the title track of the EP, ‘You’. ‘Human’ is like a dear friend to me now — the refrain of the plea remains. ‘Grace’ is close. ‘You’ imagines. ‘Lion’ questions. I have worked so hard on these tracks and feel privileged to let them now be known by you. I am so fortunate to have worked with additional musicians to give the music its sound: ‘You’ is scored for horns and ‘Lion’ is coloured in by a string quartet.

thank you to Matt Duke who drummed, co-produced and recorded these tracks with me; to Jon Moorehead for mastering; and to my manager Charlene Hegarty. thank you for supporting, it means so much to me. KP.

Northern Ireland multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Kitt Philippa knows how to bare a soul and strip down to the raw fears and emotions inside. Channeling this brutal but gripping strength in their latest EP, You, they create a sonic oasis for burdened feelings and spirits in need of polishing. The title track, “You” is an electrifying piano ballad, coupling themes of loss and space in a fiery declaration of love. The just released visuals for the track are hauntingly beautiful, capturing the most human emotion of them all- pain

The camera wistfully hones in on the protagonist through intimate scenes of emotional distress and suffering. Philippa’s moving lyrics provide all the context needed for these scenes, with a brief moment of introspective clarity during the hushed confession “And I can’t stop loving you”. A turning point in the song’s composition, the video mirrors its slow build-up into a cathartic emotional release through the protagonist’s desertion of their car, into the accepting arms of loved ones. “You” feels like it’s been holding its breath until then, exhaling with a rush of thundering drums and longing harmonies. When speaking about the themes reflected in the video, Philippa shares that “absence, through the process of grieving, can seem like it is living: it gives way to love and care from other humans and adds to a complex infrastructure.”

Philippa poignantly sings from the heart of every lost, confused, or simply searching person. Making the emotional connections we sometimes can’t bring ourselves to make, they provide the context to every heart-wrenching moment.

“sparse, graceful, elegantly pitched wonder. There’s a beautiful mimimal soulfulness to her.”
– Jim Carroll, THE IRISH TIMES –

“one of the most interesting new Irish voices we’ve heard in aeons.”
– Celina Murphy. HOTPRESS MAGAZINE. –

“acoustic musings treading a genuinely charming balance between melancholy and optimism…”
– Brian Coney. AU MAGAZINE journalist. –

“I’m not sure there’s a music analogue to this. Out of time, not conventional, entrancing.”

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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. 

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