More brilliant singer-songwriter fare! Can you sense a trend here? Ok, I’ll post a hard rocker soon and some ‘lectronica BUT! First, you gotta hear this sweeeeet song by Tony Furtado. “You are asking me to live on dreams alone” he testifies, in this heart-melting folky-rock original. A gentle finger-picking guitar pattern sets the stage for a plaintiff single tracked vocal brought home by a swooping double tracked chorus. A perfect rainy day disc, though it leaves you feeling hopeful, and looking forward to sunny days ahead.
“Dreams Alone” (download mp3)
from “Deep Water”
“Dreams Alone” (play)
Here’s a gr8 new original song from Jude Johnstone. In popular music these days, quality songcraft is often missing, replaced by hype or simple laziness. In most classic songs, every line supports the title, making the thought come across crystal clear in one listen, only to grow and gain depth over time. Reminiscent of Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris (Harris actually sings backup on this track) Johnstone is a real-deal songwriter, as evidenced by the many songs she’s had covered by major artists. This track is warm, expressive, and effortless. Old school top shelf work, hot off the presses.
“Quiet Girl” (download mp3)
from “Quiet Girl”
“Quiet Girl” (play)
This track is really pleasing to listen to. Reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens, with softly plucked guitars and gently murmured vocals, and endearing and thoughtful lyrics. Delicate, peaceful and enchanting, it’s a perfect soundtrack for this overcast and stormy day. A really great listen with headphones. I can easily float away on this.
“Rowboat” (download mp3)
from “Songs for Boats”
This is a really great listen. The vocals of Kyle Kersten bring me back to Ryan Adams’ “Heartbreaker” record – where he sings beautiful, heart-wrenching duets with the female vocal-stylings of Emmylou Harris. The added touch of the synth-like sounds here, make this a dreamy, relaxing number. Kersten’s alt-country voice and the pedal steel hooked me into this from the start. Beautiful song.
“Distance” (download mp3)
(Yer Bird Records)
Here is a sweet and soulful modern country song that had me catching my breath this morning. Big, warm female harmonies, and a prominent electric piano form the Greek Chorus to this tale of bad love. Big Eagle singer Robyn Miller is all kinds of beautiful, and her voice carries the history of her musical odyssey. From Humboldt county roots, through indie-rock glory with The Peels, and all the requisite highs and lows of the Kafkaesque music business, Miller emerges with all her limbs intact, and a transcendent new record. This is all grow’d up. Check it out.
“Anywhere The Wind Blows” (download mp3)
from “Willow Creek”
“Anywhere The Wind Blows” (play)
Here’s a horn-heavy reggae-fueled track with a folky twist, from Philly’s Hezekiah Jones. Clearly not a band that will be limited by genre barriers, they swing wide, into a jazzy swing but almost klezmer-y place on the bridge here, before crashing back into a measured, ominous dub tempo. All this provides the perfect soundtrack for the deftly paranoid and oh-so-contemporary lyric. I love it.
“Mind Malaise” (download mp3)
from “Have You Seen Our New Fort?”
(Yer Bird Records)
“Mind Malaise” (play)
What would a band from landlocked Tennessee know about deep sea diving? Enough to know about loneliness, darkness, cold, and the obsession to go deeper. A simple, sparse arrangement sets the stage for this glimpse into the psyche of an adventurer who rushes toward the unknown while swimming ever farther from the realities of life above the surface.
Spider + Octopus
“Deep Sea Diver” (download mp3)
(Big Rig Records)
“Deep Sea Diver” (play)
Don’t just call it Gypsy — it’s Roma. It’s Greek. It’s Balkan. Whatever it is, Parne Gadje mix seemingly disparate European folk styles with traditional and self-made instruments to create a gorgeous, organic mood. I’m not sure what “Isoun Mia Vrisi” is even about, but it doesn’t even matter when the music speaks that language we all just understand. Merry Xmas everyone. <3
“Isoun Mia Vrisi” (Download mp3)
from “O ManuÅ¡”
“Isoun Mia Vrisi” (play)
Simple acoustic guitar and some slinky slide propel Harry Manx toward his home. A sweet and sincere ode to “home” and we aint talkin’ about a house! Old school gr8 music, played by a human. Fancy that.
“Brick And Stone” (download mp3)
from “Dog My Cat”
(Dog My Cat Records)
“Brick And Stone” (play)
I WANT MORE!
This track makes me smile. I just love the sounds of everything in it, and the arrangement is amazing. I’m a sucker for a smooth female voice drenched in reverb, and of course I love The Happy Mondays.
The Innocence Mission
“The Happy Mondays” (download mp3)
from “my room in the trees”
(Badman Recording Co)
“The Happy Mondays” (play)