I didn’t know anything about Blue & Gold until they emailed me their new single, “Ghost Man.” Since I love the song so much, I’m going to give you the same uninformed, undescribed listening experience for once. I think we’ll be hearing a lot more from this Brooklyn band in the future. Just listen…
King Eider are described as an “Edinburgh-based folk-blues collective.” They had me at folk-blues. I love the bluesy, multi-instrumental style of their debut, self-released single, “Drink Me Dry.” One wonders why they’re self-releasing instead of on Song, By Toad Records. You can stream the song below. The single will be released on June 10th, at which time I assume you’ll be able to purchase it at the usual sites.
Buy @ Amazon (available June 10th)
I was only momentarily disappointed to discover that Lexy & The Kill’s “The Ballad of Love & Hate” is not a cover of the song of the same name by The Avett Brothers. The B-side to the London band’s upcoming single “We Can Dance Alone,” “The Ballad of Love & Hate” is a pop-rock ballad about an abusive relationship that showcases the beautiful texture and range of Lexy’s voice. You can stream “The Ballad of Love & Hate” and watch the video for “We Can Dance Alone” below…
Melissa Ferrick’s new album, The Truth Is, will be released on June 4th and it is, to put it mildly, absolutely outstanding. Recorded live with a full band with a “collaborative approach” to its creation and production, the album is somewhat of a departure from the bare bones, solo sound of Ferrick’s past. I personally love the new Nashville-oriented sound (which often reminds me of Brandi Carlile) and think it’s a fine showcase for the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s talent.
You’re nothing but a mirror
And you can’t even look at yourself
I’m glad you cheated on me now
I’m better off by myself
I want answers, answers, I want answers
I’m gonna rise up, I’m gonna rejoice
The instrumentation is gorgeous, lush and elegantly Southern – lap steel, Dobro, pedal steel often mingle with beautiful cello. Singers Rose Polenzani and Anne Heaton lend backing harmonies to the album.
The opener, “Wreck Me,” features vocals by Paula Cole. It’s a fantastic song on its own merit, but it’s one of those sadly wasted duets in which you really can’t hear the guest vocalist well enough to warrant their presence. You can hear that song at SoundCloud.
You’ll think there’s never a song written about cheating before when you hear the blistering done wrong anthem “Overboard.”
Other highlights include the peppy love song “Home,” “Go Easy On Me,” the harmonious “Love Ain’t Afraid,” and “Time to Leave.”
The finale, “Take In All The Plants,” is a phenomenal, thought-provoking, subtle, post-apocalyptic anthem.
Melissa Ferrick – Wreck Me (SoundCloud Link)
Dayna Kurtz’ new album, Secret Canon Vol. 2, is a thing of beauty. The followup to last year’s Secret Canon 1, Secret Canon Vol. 2 is a collection of rare blues and jazz covers from the 1940-60s with a few originals in the same vein. Dayna calls the album her “New Orleans record.” It’s bluesy, it’s bold and so very, very classic.
I was shocked to discover that the opener “I Look Good in Bad” is a Dayna Kurtz original. The song structure, lyrics and instrumentation seem so classic it could easily be a Bessie Smith cover. It’s one of many songs on the album that showcase the rich and robust range of Dayna’s voice. M.C. Records was kind enough to allow me to share the song, which you can stream below.
Dayna also delivers a stunningly beautiful and emotive rendering of the vintage soul ballad “Reconsider Me” — originally recorded by Johnny Adams, but probably best known as a 1970s country hit by Narvel Felt. You can stream that song at MC Records.
Other highlights include “One More Kiss,” “Same Time, Same Place,” “All I Ask is Your Love” and “I’ll Be a Liar.”
I love, love, love this album. Fiercely, immensely, wholeheartedly. It reminds me of the first time I heard Dayna’s magnificent voice at Mountain Stage in 2002 (sadly my Muruch review of that concert was lost in the great archive disaster of 2005). I had never heard of Dayna before that concert, which I attended to see Natalie Merchant. Dayna walked out onto the stage, sat down in a wooden chair, and tuned her guitar for a few minutes without saying a word. Then she opened her mouth to sing “Love Gets in the Way” (from Postcards from Downtown) and her extraordinary, soaring voice commanded the attention of every single audience member. Like the classic songs she chose to cover on Secret Canon Vol. 2, Dayna’s voice just gets better with age.
SoundCloud stream uploaded w/ permission of M.C. Records
Kodaline just released the video for their new single, “Love Like This.” The song is from the Dublin band’s upcoming debut album, In A Perfect World, which will be released on June 10th. You can stream “Love Like This” and watch the video below…
Buy @ Amazon (available June 10th)
Duquette Johnston’s new album, Rabbit Runs a Destiny, blends so many genres and influences you may find yourself thinking of Elliott Smith and surf rock in the same moment. Sometimes that’s really awesome, sometimes it’s a drag. Duquette recently launched a Pledge Music campaign to fund the album.
Rabbit Runs a Destiny‘s title track is by far Johnston’s most successful attempt to swirl psychedelic rock into his signature Americana sound. The song happens to be my favorite on the album, so I’m happy I can share the mp3 with you fine people…
*mp3 hosted by & posted w/ permission of artist’s PR rep
Pre-Order @ Amazon (not yet available)
Irish band Bell X1 will release their sixth album, Chop Chop, on June 28. The album’s opener and first single, “Starlings Over Brighton Pier,” is unusually, exquisitely beautiful. So much so, it makes the rest of the album deathly pale in comparison.
There are other highlights — the heavy drumbeats juxtaposed with Paul Noonan’s sweet falsetto in “A Thousand Little Downers” and the hint of retro pop in “Feint Praise” — but none of the other tracks comes even close to the initial level of brilliance found in “Starlings Over Brighton Pier.”
Whether due to the rush of its creation (the album was recorded, mixed and mastered in only two weeks) or the outstanding, overshadowing depth of its opening track, Chop Chop as a whole simply doesn’t excite me as much as its predeccessors, Flock and Blue Lights on the Runway. That being said, Chop Chop is still much better than anything you hear on the radio these days. The problem with truly great bands like Bell X1 is that they raise the bar so high that sometimes not even they can reach it again.
I haven’t seen the new Tom Cruise sci-fi blockbuster, Oblivion, yet, but I have heard and love its soaring theme by M83. The song features vocals by Norwegian singer, Susanne Sundfør. You can stream the song below…
The Wailin’ Jennys is spawning some excellent solo albums. First Heather Masse, now Ruth Moody is set to release her sophomore solo album, These Wilder Things, on May 7th. Moody’s angelic, lilting soprano tangles with pop-polished bluegrass and folk. The new album also features guests Mark Knopfler, Jerry Douglas and Crooked Still’s Aoife O’Donovan.
The standout tracks are the old-fashioned, slightly eerie opener “Trouble and Woe” and the spectacular Mark Knopfler duet “Pockets.”
Other highlights include the beautiful title track ballad, “One and Only,” “Trees for Skies” and the exquisite, Celtic-influenced “Life is Long.”
The album also features a pretty, slowed and stripped down cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.” You can listen to the track, “One Light Shining,” in the following Soundcloud stream…
SoundCloud Stream Uploaded & Posted w/ Permission of Red House Records