Posts Tagged ‘singer songwriter’

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Nearly one year ago to this day, Lucy Rose graced the stage of Manhattan’s (Le) Poisson Rouge and with her signature, self-deprecating humility and wry humor, she addressed the audience assembled there. “I don’t know how you have found out about my music. I don’t know what’s wrong with you to want to spend an evening listening to my sad songs,” she joked. “But I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart that you guys have all come out this evening to support us in this way.” She then launched into an acoustic, goosebump-inducing rendering of “Shiver,” the final single released from her 2012 debut album “Like I Used To”.

Listening to her sad songs, and it was a thrill to bear witness to a musician so intimately connected to—and in control of—her craft. Her words dislodged something in the deeper recesses of my heart and mind that made me reflect more lucidly on things in my own life—the highs, the lows and everything in between. I sipped my beer faster, in the hopes of relieving the lump in my throat and calming the flutters in my gut, to no avail.

As I and my fellow spectators experienced first hand the power to make you feel something when you hear them is inherent within Lucy Rose’s songs. And it should come as no surprise, as she has suffused her songs with uncompromisingly raw and vulnerable emotion since the earliest days of her career.

Her superb third album Something’s Changing (2017) exemplifies her penchant for the confessional strains of song writing, albeit with a balance of the sombre and sanguine underpinning its compositions. Less than two years on from its precursor’s release, Rose’s Tim Bidwell-produced fourth album “No Words Left” finds her baring the conflicts of her soul with an even more pronounced clarity and self-awareness. Her crystalline voice is noticeably prominent atop the stark yet sublimely melodic arrangements of acoustic guitar and piano, punctuated by strings that heighten the emotional tension of her musings.   

“In every way I’ve approached writing, recording and now releasing music, it’s been different,” Rose said of the album when she officially announced it back in January. “I’ve lost all consciousness in caring and it’s been liberating. It is what it is. It’s a feeling, it’s a song, it’s a sound, it’s a part of me which I can’t decipher whether it’s good or bad, but it’s sincere.”

Indeed, the eleven songs that comprise No Words Left are refreshingly devoid of pretense and calculation. Instead, they illuminate Rose’s troubled inner monologue and feelings of detachment, as she wrestles with her self-worth as an artist, a woman, and a lover. This is arguably most clearly manifest on the album-concluding “Song After Song,” in which she grapples with self-doubt, reflecting, “Help me, I’m living out my dream / Or so it seems / When I see that look in your eyes / I know that I’m telling myself a lie / Oh, a lie / Maybe I’m not as good as the girl I hear next door / I hear her now / Ooh, she’s playing her guitar / Through a bedroom wall.”

Her confidence is—at least temporarily—revived, however, on the piano-driven, saxophone-enhanced “Solo(w),” inspired by her decision to exit last year’s tour supporting fellow UK singer-songwriter Passenger. “I realised that I’d rather play to 20 people who cared, rather than 1000 people who didn’t,” she confided to The Line of Best Fit in a recent interview. “I’m not saying that all of them didn’t, but you can’t hear the ones that care.”

“Treat Me Like a Woman” is a cathartic meditation on gender dynamics, inspired by Rose’s perceptions of how others view and engage with her as a woman. “You treat me like a fool / Or do you treat me like a girl? / Treat me like a fool / Or do you treat me like his wife?” she inquires in the opening verse, before admitting, “I’m afraid and I’m scared and I’m terrified / That this is how it will be for all of my life.” Informed by her personal experiences, her words surely resonate with most—if not all—of her female listeners who harbour the same feelings of marginalization.

The album’s lead single “Conversation” is a stirring rumination on the challenges of sustaining love, beyond the initial flush of newfound romance (“If you look at what we once had / Well it feels many moons away”). An intimate confession directed toward her partner, “The Confines Of This World” finds her striving to hold it together for him, confiding, “’Cause all I ever wanted was for you to feel proud / And everybody’s telling me I’m losing my mind / And all I ever wanted was for you to feel calm / Now everybody’s worried that I’m losing my faith.” Her hope is later restored on the plaintive piano ballad “Nobody Comes Round Here,” as she wistfully declares, “When I’m dreaming you’re still with me / And then I open up my eyes / They open up wide.”

Contrary to the album’s title, and as if her growing legion of devotees ever doubted it for a second, it’s more evident than ever before that Ms. Rose has plenty of words left to share with the world and a whole lifetime of songs to sing ahead of her.

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Singer Songwriter Folk guitarist Gregory Alan Isakov has taken time away from working on his follow-up to 2018’s Evening Machines to record and share a new live video for “She Always Takes It Back”. The soft-sounding original ballad was the final track on Isakov’s 2013 studio album, The Weatherman.

Set in a darkened studio setting, Isakov and his solo acoustic guitar guide viewers on a gentle ride through the 2013 original with the use of his fingerpicking style and trademark melodies. Isakov has made a career out of those subtle but heartwrenching melodies, and he shows he hasn’t lost any of his abilities even with all this time away from performing.

Isakov was scheduled to embark on a run of spring and summer tour dates last year, in addition to dates supporting the Zak Brown Band, but those shows never ended up taking place with the arrival of COVID-19.

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The 22-year-old singer/songwriter from Montclair New Jersey, Annie Blackman first started making and releasing music when she was still in school. Her debut album, “Blue Green“, released back in 2016, served as a soundtrack to her school days. Now five years on, having opened for the likes of Soccer Mommy and Field Medic, Annie is set to release a string of singles through the wonderful Father/Daughter Records, the first of which, “Why We Met”, came out this week.  A compulsive archivist, Blackman draws inspiration from her own diaries, schoolwork marginalia, and the hallowed grounds of the Notes App on her iPhone. Loving, liking, and longing inform Blackman’s lore. With measured vocals and hypnotic production, Blackman faithfully leads us through her world of faded dorm room furniture and pensive walks-home.

Blackman’s upcoming set of singles, to be released by Father/Daughter Records, chronicles her later college years, and subsequent foray into post-grad life. She has teamed up with friend and producer Evan Rasch (Skullcrusher, Runnner, Harvey Trisdale), who outfits the songs with plush slide guitar and shadowy ambiance to help realize her evolving vision.

Why We Met was recorded with friend and producer, Evan Rasch, whose production style melds perfectly into the evolution of Annie’s song writing, as she shifts from youth into young adulthood. The track seems to build around the rhythmic quality of Annie’s guitar-playing, which is slowly enveloped in waves of luxurious slide-guitar and a cornucopia of ambient sounds, bringing to mind the likes of Skullcrusher .

Blackman’s latest single, “Why We Met,” is a study in slow motion. As she watches the song’s subject nurse a beer, Blackman takes us inside her gaze, wading through a mundane moment of asymmetrical beauty. “You’re looking up and I’m looking at your neck/ tilted back/ Clock the curvature,/ the bottle starts to sweat,” she sings. “You’re scared of leaving/ and I wonder why we met.” Despite lush, intently searching guitar, glowing through Blackman’s hazy lilt, the question of how to love aptly goes unanswered. As with all of Blackman’s music, her new project promises sincerity, scope, and the capacity to make her listeners feel known.

Lyrically, this feels like a deeply human study on the idea of connection; Annie repeatedly nothing, “I don’t know how to love you”, as eyes meet with a certain uneasy sense of parting, “you’re scared of leaving, and I’m wondering why we met”. Throughout, the track fizzes with an emotional intensity, the images may be hazy, the details blurred by an overwhelming sense of an ending, yet the feeling remains. This is an open-hearted piece of song writing, beautiful, bruised and ready to make a real impression on anyone willing to give it their time.

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“Why We Met” is out now via Father/Daughter Records

Norway’s Girl in Red is unleashing the darkness from within on her inky latest single “Rue.” “I wrote this song for my loved ones who are affected by my mental health. I will always try my best to get better for them, and I am forever grateful for their presence in my life,” writes Marie Ulven Ringheim of “Rue”  an ode to the Euphoria character of the same name – with Girl in Red’s haunted vocals rising like the spires of a gothic cathedral.

Norwegian lo-fi artist Marie Ulven scored a viral hit with her first ever song, I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend, in 2017, which has since been played 80 million times on Spotify.
Born in the quiet North West Norwegian town of Horten in 1999, her early obsessions were The Simpsons and finger boarding, until she was given a guitar at the age of 12.

Her stage name was inspired by the first girl who broke her heart – who will forever remain unaware of the tribute. “I haven’t told her and I’ve never said her real name anywhere,” she said.

Ulven has been called a queer icon, but she hopes her lyrics will one day be unremarkable. “We need queer art to make it normal,” she told the New York Times.

For fans of: Beabadoobee, Florence + The Machine, The 1975

I’d never heard of Brooklyn’s Cassandra Jenkins before her latest album, but she’s well-credentialed. She was set to tour with Purple Mountains before David Berman’s suicide and has also worked with The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and The Fiery Furnace’s Eleanor Friedberger. Berman is referenced on ‘New Bikini’ – “After David passed away/My friends put me up for a few days/”

An Overview on Phenomenal Nature” sounds dubious on paper, an indie-folk record that celebrates nature, adds monologues about how men have lost touch, and incorporates the kind of new-age textures you’d expect on a 1980s Van Morrison record. But it’s lovely in practice, pretty and warm. Jenkins’ vocal is intimate and she’s a good enough lyricist to keep things interesting, casually dropping the word “panoply” into ‘Crosshairs’ and titling a song ‘Ambiguous Norway’.

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Jenkins’ main collaborator is producer and multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman. Kaufman’s a member of the amazing Bonny Light Horsemen and who has worked with The National, Taylor Swift, and Josh Ritter. The arrangements are often key with lovely woodwind parts, while the dual lead guitar parts on ‘Ambiguous Norway’ are gorgeous.

A gorgeous, shimmering set of songs that combines ultra-smooth pop sounds (recalling the softer moments of Destroyer’s “Kaputt”) with sweet ambient textures. Fantastic song writing work, as well. A joy to listen to, and a clear early contender for 2021’s album of the year. 

For UK Dinked special edition, go here: dinkededition.co.uk/cassandra-jenkins-an-overview-on-phenomenal-nature

The Band of Musicians:

Cassandra Jenkins– vocals, guitar
Josh Kaufman– guitar, voyager, harmonium, banjo, synth, bass, piano, organ
~and~
JT Bates– drums, auxiliary percussion
Eric Biondo– drums
Michael Coleman– synth
Stuart Bogie–  flutes, saxophone
Doug Wieselman– sax
Oliver Hill– violin, viola, string arrangement  
Annie Nero– bass
Aaron Roche– synth
Will Stratton– guitar
Ben Seretan– drone

All songs written and performed by Cassandra Jenkins
Produced and mostly engineered by Josh Kaufman
at The Boom Boom Room, Brooklyn, NY

Released February 19th, 2021

Singer-songwriter Stevie Knipe has been making music for close to a decade, since they were a college student in upstate New York recording in a dorm room. But Knipe (who uses they/their pronouns) has really taken a leap forward in terms of both sonics and songcraft with the excellent Driver. While previous Adult Mom albums had a spare, bedroom-recording feel, Driver is more of a band album, with bright production and songs that carefully and vividly map out an early-twenties travelogue full of crisis, memory, hope, and the kind of intense moments that feel almost debilitatingly hard-hitting at that age — even if you’re just starting to become wise enough to know they’re ephemeral. 

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Released April 2nd, 2021
Written by Alexi Murdoch
Performed and produced by Stevie Knipe

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Half Waif has shared a new song called ‘Take Away the Ache’. The latest offering from Nandi Rose arrives with a lyric video directed by Kenna Hynes. “This is a song about the paradoxes of loving,” Rose said of the new song in a press release. “How we ask the impossible of each other, how we promise what we can’t give. But I don’t mean this cynically—I actually find it quite remarkable. It’s kind of an incredible feat of imagination and will, the way we help each other transform our darkest moments into something bearable, like a game of make-believe. ‘It’s not an ache,’ you might say, ‘it’s an ember.’ And so together we stay warm by the fire of what we’ve created, lit by a sweet lie that makes it all okay for a while. To love is to believe in a kind of magic.”

Half Waif also recently released a 7″ single featuring ‘Orange Blossoms’ on the A-Side and ‘Party’s Over’ on the B-Side, Her last album was last year’s The Caretaker.

“This is a song about the paradoxes of loving,” Nandi Rose says of her new single as Half Waif. “How we ask the impossible of each other, how we promise what we can’t give. But I don’t mean this cynically – I actually find it quite remarkable. It’s kind of an incredible feat of imagination and will, the way we help each other transform our darkest moments into something bearable, like a game of make-believe. ‘It’s not an ache,’ you might say, ‘it’s an ember.’ And so together we stay warm by the fire of what we’ve created, lit by a sweet lie that makes it all okay for a while. To love is to believe in a kind of magic.”

Angel Olsen Song of the Lark and Other Far Memories

Angel Olsen has announced a new box set called “Song of the Lark and Other Far Memories”. The release—out May 7th via Jagjaguwar recordings the release includes her last two albums, All Mirrors and Whole New Mess, as well as a bonus LP with bonus tracks, alternate takes, remixes, a cover of Roxy Music’s “More Than This,” and more. The box set will also come with a 40-page book. “It feels like part of my writing has come back from the past, and another part of it was waiting to exist,” Olsen said of the box set in a statement.

Among the tracks on the Far Memory bonus LP are Johnny Jewel’s remix of “All Mirrors” and Mark Ronson’s remix of “New Love Cassette.” There’s also an alternate version of “Whole New Mess” called “It’s Every Season (Whole New Mess),” which you can hear below.

Olsen’s flight is both upward and inward. On her vulnerable, Big Mood new album, All Mirrors, we can see her taking an introspective deep dive towards internal destinations and revelations. In the process of making this album, she found a new sound and voice, a blast of fury mixed with hard won self-acceptance.

To herald a forthcoming trifecta collection Song of the Lark and Other Far Memories—May 7th via JagjaguwarAngel Olsen shares a triumphant new track, “It’s Every Season (Whole New Mess).” The indie-artist who—unbeknownst to her— garnered a cult-like following since her 2012 debut, Half Way Home. Winding through a dark path from early orphaning, dealing with the implications of mental health and addiction, the once-Chicago-based folk-rock icon has begun to see the light from her new home in the mountains of North Carolina.

Olsen’s new box set includes her last two duelling-albums, her orchestral 2019 record, All Mirrors, and the stripped-back version in 2020 titled Whole New Mess. The album pair balances the artistic extremes of Olsen’s musicianship. Between full-bodied renderings backed by lushly layered instrumentation and the stark solo performances, complete with echoes and airy openness, exists a neo-folk pioneer who is unsure of how much space to take up in the world.

“It feels like part of my writing has come back from the past, and another part of it was waiting to exist.” What better way to articulate timelessness. If Whole New Mess holds the truths of Olsen’s enduring self, andAll Mirrors documents her ascent toward a new future, Song of the Lark and Other Far Memories exists out of time, capturing the whole artist beyond this one sound, or that one recording, or any one idea. It is a definitive collection, not just of these songs, but of their revelations and their writer, from their simplest origins to their mightiest realizations.

Additionally, Olsen layered a new LP, Far Memory into the set. The third component contains bonus tracks like Roxy Music’s “More Than This,” Johnny Jewel’s remix of “All Mirrors,” and Mark Ronson’s remix of “New Love Cassette.”

The new single, “It’s Every Season (Whole New Mess),” is actually an alternate version of the second album’s title track, “Whole New Mess.” It was recorded during the All Mirrors sessions with John Congleton.  The visualizer outlines the patchwork project, pulling threads from several chapters and interactions of the artist’s most recent chapter of her ever-evolving artistry. Included with Song of the Lark and Other Far Memories box set is a 40-page book complete with intimate souvenirs from her endeavors: stunning photographs, handwritten lyrics, a favourite necklace, a beaded chandelier.

“It’s really weird going back to the past and seeing what your intentions were and how everything turned out,” she says in her video announcement. “It’s an honour to finally be able to present something so special and intimate to me for the first time in my career.”

releases May 7th, 2021

Angel Olsen Song of the Lark and Other Far Memories

In 1968, Mi’gmaq folk singer, poet, and director Willie Dunn released “The Ballad of Crowfoot”, a short film looking at colonialism from the perspective of Indigenous peoples in North America. Set to his ballad of the same name about the influential 19th century Blackfoot chief, it juxtaposed archival images and newspaper headlines detailing the many injustices they faced, including stolen land, the killing of buffalo, disease, religious conversion, and more. Considered by many to be the first Canadian music video, the film employed techniques used decades later by documentarians like Ken Burns, establishing Dunn as one of the most vital voices of his generation.

Kevin Howes remembers being introduced to The Ballad of Crowfoot as an Ontario high school student in the ’90s when an English teacher showed it in class. “It was very affecting to watch, but to be honest, I think its depth went over my head at the time,” he says. “Not only until years later when I started digging into music a lot deeper and came across Willie’s second album, I was able to put the two together.”

The Toronto-based music historian and DJ featured several tracks by the Montrèal-born artist and activist on the Grammy-nominated Light in the Attic compilation Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985, including the scathing “I Pity the Country,” which gave Howes the opportunity to meet Dunn and learn more about his career. The singer passed away in 2013, but their conversations would be the impetus for curating Creation Never Sleeps, Creation Never Dies: The Willie Dunn Anthology, a 22-song collection spanning his entire career. Like fellow Canadians Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, and Buffy Sainte-Marie, Dunn got his start playing coffeehouses in the ’60s, before getting involved with the National Film Board of Canada, directing films including 1969’s These Are My People…and 1972’s The Other Side of the Ledger: An Indian View of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and tirelessly advocating for Indigenous and environmental issues (even running for political office in 1993).

“To honour someone like Willie Dunn, you have to put in a lot of work, this isn’t a simple playlist and a couple quick interviews,” says Howes. “Something that was very important for me as a producer of the project was to engage Willie’s family, peers, and people who were influenced by him as much as possible.”

One of those people was Willie’s son, Lawrence Dunn, who not only served as the anthology’s associate producer, but also shared first hand experiences of growing up with his father and seeing him performing festivals and powwows in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. “He used to tell me stories at night, and he wouldn’t have a book. Sometimes he would bring a book, and I’d go ‘Oh why are you bringing that?,’” recalls Dunn. “The stories that came out of his head were always the best ones.”

Besides “The Ballad of Crowfoot” and “I Pity the Country,” Creation Never Sleeps, Creation Never Dies also includes “Charlie,” a highlight from Willie’s 1972 self-titled album. The song tells the tragic tale of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who froze to death after running away from a residential school in 1966. Created by the Canadian government’s Department of Indian Affairs and ran by Christian churches, these schools separated an estimated 150,000 Indigenous children from their families, forcing them to abandon their native languages, and exposing them to frequent physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their teachers. Inspired to make music after hearing Hank Williams, other songs see him proudly celebrating his mixed background (his father was English/Cornish; his mother was Mi’gmaq), drawing equally from European poetry and Indigenous folklore and real-life heroes.

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Despite Willie having a worldwide following and mentoring several generations of artists (some of whom contributed to the anthology’s extensive liner notes), mainstream success largely eluded him throughout his career. “He was always grinding the axe and trying to push his music out to a wider audience, but he ended up hitting a lot of walls,” says Dunn. “I think part of that has to do with the content of the kind of music he was singing and the message he was putting out.” Still, many of the topics Willie sang and spoke about are all-too-relevant today, including environmental destructionDunn notes the parallel between the singer’s involvement in the 1977 James Bay Festival—a nine-day Montréal event in support of the James Bay Cree who were fighting a hydroelectric dam being built on their territory—and the Wet’suwet’en people fighting the same against a federal pipeline in recent years.

Similar to the Native North America gatherings that took place across Turtle Island around the compilation’s release, Howes hopes to organize live events celebrating Dunn’s music and films when the pandemic is over, and views Creation Never Sleeps, Creation Never Dies as a “beginning of something that could unfold for others down the road.” “Willie has more than enough incredible music, I could see other anthologies following this in the future,” he says. “There’s more to be heard.”

Maple Glider’s aka Tori Zietsch striking emotionality is at the centre of her performances, leaning into an intimacy that is achieved by way of deeply personal reflections and velvety melodic compositions. Her vocals melt into layers of plucked acoustic guitar and lulling piano, drawing on the sombre styles of folk contemporaries with a stark tenderness and introspection that assumes the listener is inside her bedroom as she plays for herself. After experiencing falling in and out of love, traveling extensively, writing non-stop, and basking in the lengthy European summer hours, Tori returned to Melbourne late 2019 with a soundcloud account full to capacity of demos. Maple Glider was officially set to take flight.

Tori enlisted Tom Iansek (Big Scary, #1 Dads, The Paper Kites, Lisa Mitchell, Hockey Dad, ) to produce and record some of the many, many songs she was ready to get down. During the shared time spent at our studio BellBird, the wider team (Jo & Tom F. lol) got to fully appreciate the wonderful artistry and beauty of Maple Glider, and welcomed her to the family.
To date Maple Glider has released two gorgeous singles – “As Tradition” and “Good Thing”.

 Both songs’ music videos were made with creative collaborator and housemate Bridgette Winten, in the 5km radius around their Brunswick home (a limit due to COVID lockdown measures). Working with colour and contrast, and shot on Super 8, Maple Glider plays off her surroundings, whether it’s lush creek-beds, neighbourhood rose gardens, or a party for One at home.

We’re also very happy to announce we’ve teamed up with the very passionate Partisan Records (Laura Marling / Fela Kuti / Cigarettes After Sex / John Grant) to release Tori’s music all over the world!

Great songwriting, wonderful arranging and a great voice. electric first moment when you hear a song for the first time that sounds like a classic that’s been part of your soundtrack for years but you know you haven’t it’s just perfectly constructed. a restorative for the soul.

One of those special occasions when a new song becomes an instant classic in the blink of an eye – Triple J Unearthed

Beautiful and devastating… ‘Good Thing’ is a gorgeous indie folk number and a perfect example of that uninhibited, vulnerable quality. – American Songwriter

A series of hairs-on-the-back-of-your-arm moments – For The Rabbits

 ‘Good Thing’ is a delicate ballad, but with all the emotional resonance of a greek tragedy – The Rodeo

Channelling a rich and supple aesthetic throughout, her bold yet tortured voice reigns supreme on this light and airy composition – Mystic Sons