News #48: Liza Anne – Room

Liza Anne – Room

We first mentioned Liza Anne on the blog back in January, when we gave her track The Colder Months our track of the week. The album of the same name has remained a favourite throughout the year (and is bound to feature in our end of year poll). Therefore we were excited to hear new track ‘Room’.

We are pleased to report that ‘Room’ does not disappoint in any way – in fact it feels like a significant step forward. It has the same level of intensity, due to the intimacy and confessional nature of its lyrical content. The vocal starts icy cool, and although it thaws slightly at times, it keeps you at arms length. This song is not a soft warm cuddle, more a clinical, razor sharp, dissection of a relationship. The guitars add a frozen shimmer all over the tunes surface.

The really brilliant thing is how beautiful the sum of the parts sounds….Liza Anne has an amazing talent and it is great to have her back as we head into the UK’s colder months.

The Music Doesn’t Stop #30: Bird

LP Cover
Back in the Spring we went to Liverpool Sound City for an amazing few days of music. Musically there were many highlights, but none more so than seeing Bird play in the towering surrounds of Liverpool Cathedral.
 
The sound was intense, moving and, always a sucker for a band dressed in black, they looked the part. The next 30 minutes was our festival highlight.
 
The album, My Fear and Me, does an excellent job of capturing the intensity of the live performance. Sure this is dark, moody music, dense and haunting in places, but it is also moving and uplifting. Bird are a band whose music may flit among the shadows, but they don’t disappear into the darkness – accessibility to the song and the melody is never lost.
We chatted to Adele from the band, but between our conversation and publishing this article it was announced that, “Due to reasons that are beyond of our control it is with heavy heart that we’re announcing that we’ll no longer be able to perform or make music as BIRD.” Thankfully it was also announced that, ‘This is not the end’. 
We don’t know what is happening next, but we do know that the show in Liverpool and My Fear and Me, were a highlight of our musical year.
 
Hi Bird, how are you all?
We’re all good thank you! We’ve recently got back from gigging in Barcelona and are currently on tour with Canadian band The Besnard Lakes, so we’ve been pretty busy. We’re also starting to write some new material which is pretty exciting.
How does it feel to have your debut album, ‘My Fear and Me’ out in the world?
It feels great, after working on it for so long it was nice to finally be able to let go of it and send it out in to the world. The response from people has been really positive which makes it all worthwhile.
How has the reception been on the tour so far?
The album tour was loads of fun, especially the Manchester and London gigs, we always seem to do well there. But it was just fun to tour a product that we were proud of.
We see on Facebook that you describe your music as ‘Ethereal Wave’ are you starting a new genre?
Not intentionally so but we find it hard to describe our music because it is so diverse and there’s a lot of different genres combined, so we just thought ethereal wave was the term that best suited our music.
There is a definite darkness in your music – although that’s not to say it isn’t also mystical and pretty darn beautiful – does it get even more intense? Do you find yourselves having to reel it back from some pretty bleak places?
We don’t hold back really, we let the music get as dark and intense as it wants, maybe that’s not for everybody but that’s just what comes naturally to us. We hope it’s not all doom and gloom though, we like to think there’s a nice balance of light in there too.
Band Pic
At times the music’s sparseness reminds me of Joy Division. Is this a fair reference point and a band you admire?
Yeah I mean we all love Joy Divison and they’re probably one of the most influential bands that we admire. Ian was and still is one of the greats.
What other influences do you notice coming out in your music?
We love the likes of PJ Harvey, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, The Cocteau Twins and The Cure and then some newer bands like Warpaint, John Maus, Amen Dunes, Angel Olsen and The Wytches. Things that influence writing are mainly personal life experiences, books, films, photography. I really love soundtracks too.
Now I don’t want to give readers the wrong impression as your music may be intense, but live it is also quite thrilling. Is it a challenge bringing the textures of the record out in a live environment?
We found it challenging at first because we hadn’t played the album live but now we find it really easy and we can give the sound a lot more energy and clout live. We need to keep concentrating on the dynamics though as they can get lost easily when you’re so used to playing something a lot.
We were lucky enough to see your show at Liverpool Cathedral during this year’s Sound City and absolutely loved it – how was it for you?
Thank you! We loved that show, it was the perfect venue and setting for us, it was also our first show playing the new album songs to our hometown so we were a bit nervous, but people seemed to really enjoy it which was great. It was amazing to play such a beautiful, famous landmark too. We all live fairly close to the cathedral and used to walk past it saying ‘how perfect would it be if we could play in there’ and now we can cross it off our list!
Bird - Liverpool Cathedral
If you were curating next year’s Sound City which 3 bands would you ask to headline the Cathedral?
Nick Cave, Portishead and Kate Bush ((I’m thinking big here!)
Do you think your Liverpool roots come out through the music? If so how?
I wouldn’t say so no, I mean it’s brilliant to be part of Liverpool and it’s creative/music scene and we adore the city but I wouldn’t say we had a particularly Liverpudlian sound in anyway. A lot of bands coming out of Liverpool and Wirral now have lots of really diverse sounds which is great, I think the city is really changing and going from strength to strength.
For a Bird newbie which song do you recommend they listen to first?
I’d say give The Rain Song a go first as it’s one of our slightly more accessible songs, then I Am The Mountain as that seems to be a crowd favourite and the give Sea Of Trees a listen if you want something a bit heavier!

We are always curious how song writing works within bands – what’s the process within Bird?
I usually take a hook or a full song in to the practice room and then we all build on it collectively from there. Once the basics of the song are there everything tends to fall in to place quite naturally, we’re on the same wave length the majority of the time which is good so that makes the music flow quite easily.
You are on tour – what hi-jinks have been going on?
We’ve broken down a couple of times, slept in a service station and I got quite badly electrocuted on the mic one night which was fun! There’s been loads of fun times too though, being in a band is definitely a roller coaster ride but all worth it, you can certainly say it’s never boring.
Who is the troublemaker in the band?
I wouldn’t say troublemaker, but Lex is the one who likes to party out of all of us, as long as he’s knows there’s some beers on the rider then he’s happy!
Finally, our current favourite track is ‘I Am the Mountain’ – how did it come into being, what’s it all about?
I Am the Mountain is quite a spiritual song, it’s about loosing hope but finding it in the world and the beauty that surrounds us. Sometimes we forget to see what’s right in front of us because we’re so blinded by focusing on ourselves and our inner problems, it’s about looking beyond that.
As a parting gift the band are also giving away a great cover of The Stone Roses ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ HERE

News #47: Johanna Glaza – Paper Widow

JohannaGlaza_PaperWidow_v4

JG

In our minds eye the video for Johanna Glaza’s excellent new single, Paper Widow, sees Johanna dancing through a snowy forest like an ice-queen, conjuring beautiful sounds from just a single touch to snow laden leaves and crystal clear icicles. As she begins to sing the animals of the forest start to emerge, captivated by her stunning voice….together they all disappear into the dark depths of the woods.

The actual video is nothing like this but, along with the song itself, it is rather good:

News #46: Dead Professional’s debut EP – Hard Hard Hard

DeadProHardHardHard

We’ve mentioned Dead Professional on this blog a couple of times before, firstly with the debut offering, ‘I’m Not The One‘, and then when the video for the excellent ‘Downtown At Sundown‘ was released.

What’s Dead Professional (aka John Harouff) been up to between then and now? Well ‘a lot’ is the answer to that! Debut EP, ‘Hard Hard Hard’ was released this week on the back of some top notch support slots with the likes of Ryan Adams, Kurt Vile, Chuck Prophet, Waxahatchee and Hiss Golden Messenger (sounds like our perfect festival line-up!)

Hard Hard Hard consolidates John’s stripped down, rock’n’roll vibe. We’ve been listening to the latest Tom Petty record this week and there is definitely some T.Petty influences on this EP, along with Tunnel of Love era Springsteen.

A fine collection of songs.

News #45: Souvenir Stand, Roxanne de Bastion & Jonah Tolchin

Been listening to a whole host of new tunes this week, here are a few that caught our fancy….

Souvenir Stand – Surprise

A proper single! Under 3 minutes, infinitely catchy with a host of twists and turns and a super cute lead vocal. Oh, there’s something just as good on the flip side as well. Pretty perfect pop from New York’s Souvenir Stand! We picked up our 7″ from the fine folks at Beautiful Strange.

 

Roxanne de Bastion – Seeing You (video)

Talking of great lead vocals and well crafted pop songs, here is the video to the excellent ‘Seeing You’ by Roxanne de Bastion. We are biased, but the live vocal on this is really, really good!

 

Jonah Tolchin – Diamond Mine

You know when you go to a show, get there just in time for the support (who you’ve not heard of) and then get completely lost in what you are watching and listening to? Well that happened to us last night when we saw Jonah Tolchin supporting Chuck Prophet in Brighton.

Jonah’s humble and unassuming stage presence didn’t prepare you for what came next, 30 mins of intense blues-infused songs and storytelling – a quite unexpected and wonderful surprise. This live session gives you a feel for the artist, one we intend to keep close tabs on.

News #44: feat Brooke Bentham, Glassmaps, Roah Summit & Keyan Keihani

A few nuggets from the inbox!

Brooke Bentham – We’ll Be Ghosts

Bring on the goosebumps! This is a beautiful and haunting piece of songwriting, putting Bentham’s vocals right out front. The song swoops and dives throughout, the plaintive guitar and piano backing perfectly compliment the melancholy.

 

Glassmaps – My Head My Heart

Starts off sounding like someone knocking out a tune on a tinny cheap casio, then turns into a huge great blues stomper. Love the wailing guitars that kick in at two minutes.

 

Roah Summit – Secrets

I really, really like this one from Roah Summit and I’d love to give you a point of reference, but I just can’t put my finger on it (is it Bon Iver crossed with MGMT?) Either way I love it.

 

Keyan Keihani – Channing Way

Back on more familiar territory for someofitistrue, anyone described as “draws on country’s lost twang, subtle heartbreak and a dark imagination” usually gets our attention. This track from Keyan’s debut album ‘Eastbound’ certainly does enough for us to want to listen to the whole record. The subtle touches of organ are our highlight on this track

News #43: Justin Townes Earle, Zoe Wren, TOPS & Andrew Combs

Afternoon all, we’ve had a great musical week with two excellent live shows, some exciting times over at Hidden Trail and a wealth of excellent music finding its way to our stereo. Some of our favourites to share:

Justin Townes Earle – Time Shows Fools

As long time admirers of Justin Townes Earle (Harlem River Blues was a fantastic record) and the UK’s Loose Music, we were pleased to hear they are teaming up to release JTE’s latest album, Single Mothers. We’ve had a sneak preview and can assure you that it is top quality – just like this track!

Zoe Wren – Pandora’s Box

There is a fair bit going on in the four minutes of this track from Zoe Wren. The lyrics have a darkness about them and the vocals are so beautiful that an interesting juxtaposition is set up from the off. Zoe gives the song a huge amount of space in which to grow, but it never loses direction or intrigue. A fine song from a confident songwriter. Zoe’s EP of the same name is out on Folkstock Records on 13th September.

TOPS – Way To Be Loved

Our favourite ‘pop’ song in a while is this one from Canadian’s TOPS. An infectious disco groove, soft, understated vocals and a great hook. A fine tune.

Andrew Combs – Emily

Finally we have Andrew Combs, another new signing for Loose Records. Andrew is in the UK on tour at the moment and we were lucky enough to catch him in Brighton last week. A charasmatic perfomer and a fine songwriter who knows how to knock out a sing-a-long tune – such as this one!

News #42: Hattie Briggs, Roxanne de Bastion & Marshall Lewis

Today we introduce someone new (to us), catch up with a long time friend and see the debut EP release from an artist we first heard earlier in the year.

Hattie Briggs – Old Eyes

Hattie Briggs is an artist brought to our attention by the folks at The Loft Sessions. We have subsequently been enjoying her track Pull Me Down, which is part of the latest Fatea free download.

Old Eyes is Hattie’s debut music video. The song is a beautiful lament, that strikes a delicate balance of love, longing and heartache. A great example of how simplicity and truth provide the most moving moments. (For dog lovers the video will leave you in bits as Panda plays his part to perfection!)

We are really looking forward to what comes next from Hattie.


 

Roxanne de Bastion – Seeing You

We are big fans of Roxanne here on the blog, in fact so much so that we convinced her to work with us on our other project, Hidden Trail Records.

Seeing You is the lead track from the upcoming EP of the same name. Produced by Ben Walker, this track see’s Roxanne continue to develop her strong individual sense of storytelling and songwriting. Roxanne’s crisp lead vocal dominates throughout, but the drums and guitar licks add complexity and dimension to the track. We love it – and are pleased to report that the EP has three more tracks of similar quality!


 

Marshall Lewis – Higher Nature EP

Earlier this year we told you about Chapters by Marshall Lewis, a young songwriter from Bloomington, Indiana. Marshall has now followed this up with his debut EP, Higher Nature, six tracks of haunting, Bon Iver-esque tunes that show Marshall consolidating our initial opinion of him – one to watch!

 

Catching up with some old friends! feat, Flash Bang Band, Patch & The Giant and Hella Better Dancer

Hi all, apologies for the recent inactivity on the blog. Our other project, Hidden Trail Records has taken up a lot of time recently!

That said we are always listening to loads of ace new music, so thought we would share some from friends of the blog. Enjoy x

Hella Better Dancer – Like A Child

Hurrah! A new track from one of our faves, Hella Better Dancer. On Like A Child, Josh’s bass takes an early lead (made my desk vibrate a little), before Tilly’s restrained, but haunting vocal kicks in. The song really soars when Soph’s lead guitar is added to the mix. Three great components making a very good band.

Flash Bang Band – Art History

Brighton’s Flash Bang boys release a new video for Art History. They write on rice, the song is great and the album rocks. Our simple advice, “Go listen”.

Patch & The Giant – For Gabriel

How can you not be touched by this true tale from the Patch & The Giant folks!

“On a summer evening in 2013, Patch & The Giant were on their way home from performing at a brewery in east London. In tired and liquored desperation, Luke and Angie made the error of
climbing into an unlicensed mini-cab with everybody’s instruments. When they climbed out,
Gabriel’s violin stayed, whisked away into the night by this illegal trafficker and never, despite the heated efforts of the fools who lost it, to be found. Together embarking on a guilt-ridden journey to atone this loss, they wrote a song, For Gabriel; a celebration of the wonderful man that Gabriel is and a requiem for the sweet, sweet fiddle”

Help ease Luke and Angie’s guilt by downloading For Gabriel here and every penny made from this song will be going into the fund for Gabriel’s new violin (it’s just £1 to download the song!)

 

Introducing #1: Soph Nathan

Soph Nathan ID
Regular readers will know of our admiration for the band known as Hella Better Dancer. We love many things about that band, not least the great guitar licks of  lead guitarist, Soph Nathan. Therefore it’s not much of a stretch to realise we were pretty excited to hear of a new track from the lady herself.
‘Our Girl’ doesn’t disappoint with its fuzzed up guitars and a great vocal. Based on this debut outing we cannot wait to hear what Soph comes up with next.
SN
‘Our Girl’ is your debut release – How does it feel to share?
It is! It feels really good to share, especially as we’ve had some songs written for a while but haven’t put them anywhere.
Can you tell us how the song came to be?
I wrote it about 9 months ago now, I think it might have been the first proper song I wrote actually. Lyrically the subject matter sort of carried on into other songs I’ve written since so it kind of feels like it’s a starting point in more than one way, which is nice. 
Soph Nathan, Is this a band effort or a solo project? Did you play everything on the track?
It’s a band effort – Josh Tyler on bass and Nick Klar on drums! Some songs will have just guitar and vocals but generally it seems more fitting to play with the band, and feels most exciting too.
Your face looks familiar, where have we seen you before?
I play in a band called Hella Better Dancer, and also in a band called Bayy! I’m playing with some others that haven’t seen the internet yet, but hopefully they will soon.
Can we expect more releases in the near future?
Yes! We have our first gig in August and then we’ll put a song out not too far after that.
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