Posts Tagged ‘Widowspeak’

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Widowspeak cover Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”. Catch them in Europe. Widowspeak released a new album, Expect The Best, earlier this year, and today they’ve shared a cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” in advance of their European tour. It’s as beautiful and plaintive as you’d expect from the Brooklyn group,

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11/14 – Amsterdam, NL – Sugarfactory
11/15 – Utrecht, NL – Db’s
11/17 – Birmingham, UK – Actress & Bishop
11/18 – Glasgow, UK – Nice n Sleazy
11/20 – London, UK – Oslo
11/21 – Brighton, UK – The Hope
11/23 – Rotterdam, NL – Rotown
11/26 – Berlin, DE – Volksbühne
11/27 – Hamburg, DE – Hafenklang
11/28 – Copenhagen, DK – Vega
11/29 – Stockholm, SWE – Obaren
11/30 – Oslo, NO – Revolver
12/01 – Gothenburg, SWE – Oceanen
12/02 – Lund, SWE – Mejeriet

Seven years in, Widowspeak remain purveyors of mood. Whether painting an image of a basement apartment with blinds closed or conjuring the sweeping openness of a desert, they’re an outfit ever preoccupied with the influence of place and the passage of time on personal experience: the way vivid memories can feel like movies or dreams.

On their newest album, Expect the Best, Widowspeak use familiar aesthetics as a narrative device, a purposeful nostalgic backdrop for songs that ask, “How did we get here?” Sonically, they exist somewhere in the overlap between somber indie rock, dream pop, slow-core and their own invented genre, “cowboy grunge.” At the heart of the band, there is a palpable duality, a push and pull between the delicate and the deliberate: the contrast of lead singer-songwriter Molly Hamilton’s strikingly beautiful voice and poignant melodies with the terrestrial reality of being a four-piece rock band. These songs sound like the dark bars and rock clubs they were imagined for just as much as the bedrooms where they were written. Expect the Best sees Widowspeak finding their greatest balance between opposing forces — darkness and light, quiet and loud, tension and calm — to create their best album to date.

Much of Widowspeak’s forthcoming album, “Expect The Best”, was written after singer Molly Hamilton returned to the town of her youth, Tacoma, Washington. It’s perhaps fitting then that it a record that seems to deal heavily in self-examination and exploring the feeling of being adrift in a rudderless world.

On their newest album for Brooklyn record label Captured Tracks, Widowspeak use familiar aesthetics as a narrative device, a purposeful nostalgic backdrop for songs.  Sonically, they exist somewhere in the overlap between somber indie rock, dream pop, slow-core and their own invented genre, “cowboy grunge.” At the heart of the band, there is a palpable duality, a push and pull between the delicate and the deliberate: the contrast of lead singer-songwriter Molly Hamilton with her strikingly beautiful  voice and poignant melodies with the terrestrial reality of being a four-piece rock band. These songs sound like the dark bars and rock clubs they were imagined for just as much as the bedrooms where they were written. “Expect the Best”  sees Widowspeak finding their greatest balance between opposing forces: darkness and light, quiet and loud, tension and calm.

Expect The Best, is the band’s first album recorded as a four piece, due out next week, and ahead of that release, Widowspeak have shared the stunning new single, The Dream. Many of the hallmarks of earlier recordings, the dusty twanging lead guitar lines and Molly Hamilton’s world-weary vocals, remain, but Widowspeak sound fuller and more ambitious than ever. Cinematic strings soar into The Dream, creating a perfect backdrop to the beautiful vocal delivery, as Molly seems to question her life choices, repeating the line, “isn’t that the dream?”, as if trying to convince herself as much as anyone else. The album title might tell us to expect the best, and listening to a track as good as The Dream, how could you expect anything else?

Expect The Best is out August 25th on Captured Tracks Records.

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When “Girls” was released in the spring of 2015, we woke up and took notice. We’d loved Widowspeak’s Jarvis Taveniere-produced debut in 2011, but found the follow-up, 2013’s Almanac, a trifle problematic, as Molly Hamilton’s ethereal voice, lathered on too thick, can be like a cake that’s all icing and air. Yet “Girls” was a nutritious harmonic pastry, still sweet but plenty nourishing, and a few months later when “All Yours” was released, we prayed that the full album would be as good as those two songs. Happily, Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas’s move from Brooklyn to Upstate New York has filled their music with fresh Hudson Valley air, and any cloying sensibilities have been washed away. The sugar high is gone, we happily declared with All Yours came out in September 2015, and it was a wonderful backdrop to autumn.

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Widowspeak fuses lightness and darkness like few others: The group’s sound may conjure the effervescence of dream-pop, but a gloomy, anxious undercurrent anticipates nightmares at any given moment. On each successive album, bandleader Molly Hamilton adds a few more layers to an atmospheric, slow-burning sound that conjures deep melancholy, even as it indulges in the lilting majesty of shoegazing rock. Widowspeak’s members describe at least one element of their approach as “cowboy grunge,” and that’s strangely apt.

“Dog,” the first single from the band’s new third album, Expect The Best, captures Widowspeak’s distinct mix perfectly, while speaking to larger internal conflicts. Hamilton writes that the song is “about the compulsion to move on from things and places, even people, when you’re not necessarily ready to. Sometimes, I get caught up in ‘the grass is always greener’ mentalities, or cling to an idea that ‘I’d be happy if…’ and then make a drastic change. Then, inevitably, I feel restless a few months later and it starts again.

“It also addresses how I look at social media,” she adds. “I think it will help me feel connected to people I used to see more, but I end up feeling lonelier, like I’m missing out on a sense of contentedness that comes with staying put or at least committing to a particular direction. So it’s not literally about my dog so much as the way a dog might think about its home — not overthinking the next move, geographic or mental.”

Expect The Best comes out August 25th via Captured Tracks.

Our friends at Cutty Sark recently invited us to capture an evening of ecstatic happenings at Brooklyn Bowl as part of the inaugural Cutty Sark Presents Series. There was booze, there was bowling, and most importantly, there were bands. Incredible bands, actually, each bringing their own unique offering of energy to the stage.

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Widowspeak’s music weaves wistful circles around you, reminds you of the feeling of having well-packed red soil beneath your bare feet. Or maybe that’s just me. Still, one cannot deny that something about their music sounds a little fantastical; maybe its their use of echoing, thumping drums, rich guitars, or Molly Hamilton’s smoky, eternally calm and steady vocals that remind me of some light-drenched forest or meadow.

Widowspeak is back at it with their third studio LP, “All Yours”. The first eponymous single is refreshing to hear given we haven’t heard the soothing vocals of Molly Hamilton since 2013’s The Swamp EP. As with everything Widowspeak has done, there’s nothing lesser to expect than yet another beautifully interweaving dream-pop/slowcore album. based on the description listed below, we’re going to get even new layers to the already honed skills of this duo. The release date for All Yours is September 4th. Widowspeak . This is the band’s third album, titled  All Yours, is one that could only come from Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas: a honed and elegant interweaving of dream-pop and slowcore rock and roll, easygoing melodies and dusty, snaking guitars. It’s also possibily their best release to date: ten beautiful songs that are refreshingly straightforward yet built from the same well-chosen and deftly-used tools the band has always worked with. It is an ambitious without feeling labored-over, anchored in the strengths of Widowspeak’s consistent influences. guitar passages, moody and american-country-tinged instrumentation, watery tremolo, velvety stacked vocals and  brilliantly economical guitar playing. the duo, have remained constant since 2012.

After releasing the second LP, Almanac, and then The Swamps EP (both in 2013), Molly and Rob left Brooklyn for the greener pastures of the Catskills/Hudson Valley region. They found a house they could play music in. They got a dog.And they took their damn time making All Yours. For one, the conceptual process of writing Almanac and The Swamps had been creatively draining. They focused on other things: Molly went back to school; Rob took a job at a Catskills hotel. They wrote leisurely, from shared voice memos and late night jams in the living room. As a result of writing down what came naturally, without any overarching vision, the lyrics on All Yours are largely unadorned, the songs connected only by the forgivingly vague theme of “moving on.”Appropriately, the band chose to work again with Jarvis Taveniere, who produced their self-titled debut in 2011.  They also enlisted him and drummer Aaron Neveu (both of whom play in Woods) as the studio rhythm section. We finally get to hear Rob sing in the earnestly laid-back “Borrowed World.” Members of psych outfit Quilt contribute harmonies and keys throughout the record, most notably inMy Baby’s Gonna Carry On,” and “Cosmically Aligned.”

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A few days before Labor Day, Widowspeak will release their third full-length via Captured Tracks. It feels like an ideal time of the year to engage with the duo’s latest batch of patiently paced dream-folk, at least here in the Northeast: not swelteringly hot, but still warm enough to comfortably hang around outside long after dusk. The band has been regularly leaking songs from the album all summer long, and “Dead Love (So Still)” is the latest. Despite the depressing image its title conjures, the track itself is an optimistic-feeling swirl of twangy, textured guitars and dreamy-as-hell vocals.

“I wrote an early version of this song when I was 19,” singer Molly Hamilton. “It was one of those naive situations where I thought I was with someone and he didn’t, but the energy and emotion I’d invested in our non-relationship still made its inevitable end feel significant. The mood [of the album version] is a lot more lighthearted than the first. I’ve had so many more experiences since then that require letting things go, and I’m a lot more okay with closed doors that I used to be.” All Yours is out September 4th.

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After leaving Brooklyn, the band relocated in the mellower region of Hudson Valley and planned to take things as they came, instead of banging their heads against the wall to capture a specific sound. The duo’s new song, “Girls”, is on the contemplative side of things. Hamilton’s vocal melodies feel soothing rather than urgent and Robert Earl Thomas’ instrumental arrangements are more light-weight and pleasant than heart-stopping. It’s no wonder that two members of Woods are involved in Widowspeak’s recent material – think of their new songs as Jeremy Earl’s band and Real Estate having an enchanting and quiet baby.

Widowspeak’s new album “All Yours” is due 4th September and will mark their third album – and their first release since 2013’s EP The Swamps. A presumed back to basics record, laying down tracks on phones as voice memos and jamming late at night. Woods’ Aaron Neveu and Jarvis Taveniere are set to help the already established line-up of Hamilton and Thomas with steady bass lines and drum playing –see sweet and catchy title track “All Yours” – providing firm rhythmical foundations to the delicate melodies that have proved successful for the band over the years.

If “Girls” and “All Yours” are anything to go by, we can rightfully expect Widowspeak to deliver their most tender album to date. If you’re a sucker for delightful melodies and gentle guitar strumming, you may have a new favourite band.

Widowspeak is a dream pop/dream folk duo from somewhere in the Catskills Mountains. They’d been operating out of Brooklyn for a while, and had as many as four members at one time, but now it’s down to just Molly Hamilton (vocals/guitar) and Robert Earl Thomas (guitar). After the 2013 album Almanac, they headed for the mountains and took their time with the new record. They’ve been on Captured Tracks for a few years, and have released two full length albums and an EP since 2011. The band’s third long player —All Yours— will be released on September 4th via Captured Tracks, and the label and the PR firm have already begun a promotional push for the album. When people write about Widowspeak, it’s almost inevitable for there to be a reference to Mazzy Star. I’ve never really seen a connection, That said, it would be fair to say that Widowspeak is slightly psychedelic, dreamy folk music. And obviously, the same is said of Mazzy Star, and of Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions. This has been an extraordinary year for new releases, and I’m always busy listening to stuff. Even though I’ve got the Bully record, the SOAK record, and the Courtney Barnett record on infinite repeat at home and in the car, This full album has gotten several repeated listens in the ten days that I’ve had it,  It’s a very good song that gets better with each repeated listen. “Girls” by Widowspeak

I’ll admit that part of what makes me think of Cowboy Junkies is the fact that there’s harmonica and some sort of lap steel guitar, but there are other things in the album that make me think, even vaguely, of Cowboy Junkies. In the last minute of the song, when it’s basically just drums and organ, there’s some trick going on with the drums. I don’t know the track is doubled, or if there’s some sort of delay or something applied to the drum track, but it has a really cool Beatles-esque sound to it. It’s worth mentioning that on the new album, they employed Jarvis Taveniere (bass) and Aaron Neveu (drums) to hold down the rhythm section. Taveniere also produced the new album as well as the first Widowspeak album. He and Neveu both play in the Brooklyn-based freak-folk band Woods. They haven’t yet opened the pre-sale for physical copies of the album, but make a bookmark for Captured Tracks, and keep checking back.