It’s been over 2 years since we introduced you to SOAK (a.k.a. Bridie Monds-Watson) as part of Muruch’s “Surfacing” series. The Irish singer-songwriter has recently been signed to Rough Trade Records and will release her debut full-length album, Before We Forgot How to Dream, on June 1st in the UK and June 2nd in the US. The first single, “Sea Creatures,” debuted on a prestigious BBC Radio 1 show and is a reworking of a song we originally shared here in that January 2013, post (her Soundcloud demos have since been removed). For a limited time, you can download a free, legal mp3 of “B a noBody” at NPR Music. You can watch the both official videos below…
It’s here! And it’s magnificent! Brandi Carlile’s fifth studio album, The Firewatcher’s Daughter, was just released via ATO Records and it sure is somethin’ else. Recorded almost entirely as first takes without any demoing and little rehearsal, The Firewatcher’s Daughter is an unparalleled display of musical brillance.
We throw around the word “wail” so easily when it comes to big voices, but Brandi’s wail is a true, heart-in-throat keen so full of emotion it sounds on the verge of breaking yet so strong it deftly bends every note to her whim. And her longtime collaborators Tim and Phil Hanseroth (a.k.a. “The Twins.”) are with her every glorious step of the way.
“Wherever is Your Heart,” “Beginning to Feel the Years,” “Wilder (We’re Chained)” and the string-accented “I Belong to You” are the kind of beautiful ballads that would tug heartstrings no matter who sang them, but Brandi’s supernatural voice lifts them up to a celestial realm.
The album’s first single, “The Eye,” finds Brandi reigning in her extraordinarily big voice for gentler, sun-drenched, pop-folk harmonies.
“Things I Regret” is a deceptively uptempo, high energy road song that quickly builds, gaining momentum like a steam engine til the roaring finale.
Then “Mainstream Kid” throws a quaking, blues-rock stick of absolute dynamite on the tracks and blows the whole thing to hell. This woman can make Hendrix, Skynyrd, Ram Jam and Nirvana sound like soft jazz!
“Alibi” stays at full throttle rock level, but there’s an unexpected, subtle undercurrent of summery, California pop to the chorus melody that gives it a catchy and slightly disorienting swirl.
“The Stranger at My Door” is an intoxicating, mesmeric gulp of noir, a phantasmagoric masterpiece that bends the mind as much it does genre…like Johnny Cash fronting Led Zeppelin in a David Lynch movie then Trans-Siberian Orchetra jumps on stage to close with a freakin’ rock riff of “When Johnny Comes Marchin’ Home Again!” It is one of the greatest, most deliciously unusual songs ever constructed. Wow, just wow.
The album closes with a fitting cover of The Avett Brothers’ “Murder in the City.”
There is truly no one like Brandi Carlile at her fierce, brilliant best. She’s somehow simultaneously the heir to The Beatles, Janis Joplin and The Man in Black. I’ll be shocked if The Firewatcher’s Daughter isn’t my #1 album come December.