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If you’re interested in experimental folk, Norfolk’s Reuben Hollebon might be an artist to keep an eye (or an ear) out for in the coming year. Hollebon came across our radar at TGTF when he was announced as part of the lineup for SXSW 2015, and a quick Internet search revealed that he is working on a full-length album, also expected for release this year.
Hollebon’s first EP ‘Clutch’ was released on Akira Records in December 2012. Combining tremulous, echoing vocals with stark, often discordant instrumental parts, the seven tracks on the EP are instantly reminiscent of Bon Iver. Standout track ‘Skin Addict’ features a minimal arrangement of piano, percussion and ethereal layered vocals along with equally minimal, bluntly emotional lyrics, including the relentlessly repeated chorus “get out of my head, get out of my bed / get out of my mind, give me back my time / get out of my skin, my blood needs thinning”. Hollebon shows a deeper, more soulful side on ‘Home’, where the solidly grounded bass line and more traditional acoustic guitar melody contrast his pervasive and unique falsetto vocal style.
In August 2013, Hollebon released his latest single ‘Faces’, which continues in the same gracefully refined yet slightly bizarre musical vein. Hollebon’s vocal effects here remind me of Eddie Vedder, not in the actual vocal sound but in their ability to convey the idea and emotion of a person balancing just on the edge of sanity. The video for ‘Faces’, directed by Emma Rozanski, visually captures the anxious tension of the percussion-driven musical arrangement.
The end of 2013 saw Hollebon playing live shows and sharing stages with TGTF favorites Cocos Lovers and Nathaniel Rateliff, among others. In February 2014, he was invited to play a solo show for Sofar Sounds in London, where he recorded the exquisitely haunting performance of ‘Fields for Fields’ featured below. A glance through Hollebon’s Facebook page reveals that he and his bandmates Jacob Hollebon and Jake Wheeler spent much of 2014 in the recording studio, interspersing their studio time with a few one-off live shows. Their scheduled appearance at SXSW this March will likely provide a sneak peek at what to expect from Hollebon’s anticipated album release later in the year. In the meantime, you can stream Reuben Hollebon’s currently released songs on his Bandcamp page.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 19th January 2015 at 6:00 pm
Northumberland female folk duo The Unthanks will be releasing ‘Mount the Air’, their new album, on the 9th of February on their own RabbleRouser Music label. We posted the animated promo for the LP’s title track, conceived and drawn by famed Nick Murray Willis, back in November, and now the North East ladies have got a brand new visual to show off to everyone.
The ever dreamy ‘Flutter’, the second single to come from ‘Mount the Air’, is accompanied by a beautifully shot black and white of the song being performed by the Unthanks and additional musicians. Watch the gorgeous presentation below.
A recent trend in the Official UK Charts is the rise in female solo singers off the back of appearances as a featured artist. Take Ella Eyre, Becky Hill and Jess Glynne for example, whose successes didn’t go unnoticed in 2014. Someone looking to replicate their achievements is Staffordshire-born singer-songwriter Laura Welsh. The 28-year-old cowrote and provided the vocals for Gorgon City’s summer anthem ‘Here For You’, though she herself looks set to come into her own with ‘Ghosts’, the fourth single to be taken from Welsh’s upcoming debut album, scheduled out in March.
‘Ghosts’ explores the theme of learning lessons from situations and overcoming them, rather than letting them get you down. It’s a strong message, which Laura Welsh delivers with an untainted conviction. Her commanding and captivating vocals bellow over the dramatic backdrop and its menacing drum beat, with powerful lyrics (written by herself and Jonathan Lipsey) to match. You can almost feel Welsh’s pain in the chorus, as she sings, “I need you to help me through / I can’t lay these ghosts to rest.”
The accompanying music video is made up of black and white vistas that depict charming scenes from New York City, intertwined with shots of Laura Welsh singing in the shadows. The video’s eerie overlay gives an ethereal feel: extremely fitting for a song entitled ‘Ghosts’.
Easily comparable to the likes of Jessie Ware and Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine), Laura Welsh is an artist worthy of success on the back of her hard work and persistence. While ‘Ghosts’ may not be enough to get Welsh the recognition she deserves, it remains an extremely strong single from someone who has a bright future ahead of her.
Released today, ‘Ghosts’ is the fourth single to be taken from Laura Welsh’s debut album ‘Soft Control’, which is pencilled in for a 9th of March launch on Outsiders/Polydor.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 19th January 2015 at 12:00 pm
At the first music festival I ever covered was a then little-known folk band from London called Mumford and Sons. I missed them because I was on a tour bus interviewing another band, but a journo’s gotta do what a journo’s gotta do. And we all know what happened to them, don’t we? I have been pondering what Mumford have been up to lately, seeing that their third album has yet to materialise after nearly a year from the time they said they’d be working on new songs. In the meantime though, I have been poring over the SXSW 2015 band list and considering who might sneak into their nu-folk while the tweedy Londoners have their backs turned. Perhaps The Lonely Wild will be just the people to do it.
Hailing now from the band-heavy and musically productive area of Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California, the Lonely Wild’s humble start was back in 2010, when lead singer and guitarist Andrew Carroll moved to the area to study music, meeting band mates Ryan Ross (multiple instruments) and Andrew Schneider (guitar) in school. After some line-up changes following the release of their 2011 debut EP ‘Dead End’, they’re now a five-piece, with the addition of multi-instrumentalist and backing vocalist Jessi Williams and drummer Dave Farina.
In April 2013, they released their debut album ‘The Sun As It Comes’ on their astrologically named own label Ursa Major Recordings, which benefitted from circulation through Sony’s RED Distribution. ‘Everything You Need’ has the folk plus horns sound reminiscent of ‘Winter Winds'; ‘Keep Us Whole’ could be an outtake from Husky‘s ‘Forever So’. At seemingly the opposite side of the sound spectrum, Carroll favours a twang in his voice in the first half of the contemplative ballad ‘Buried in the Murder’. But there’s a twist: he then brings out a raspy vocal while a rock guitar squeals to usher out the track. (What? Where did Jimi Hendrix come from? I know! I was surprised about that as you were.)
It’s this combination of indie folk vs. indie rock that just might endear them to mainstream radio: their sound is not hugely edgy (thus playable to the masses), but edgy and interesting enough to be hip. extremely hilarious, judging by the Thanks to their fans, their second album (name yet to be revealed) has already passed its PledgeMusic goal. Interesting, its release date is not until April 7, 2015, some 3 weeks after SXSW 2015. Guess the Lonely Wild will be using Austin as the new LP’s training ground, and with the expectation that Communion will host a showcase or two in March, I’m looking forward to see what punters will think about them. Something else they have going for them: they’re extremely funny, going by the video they filmed to encourage fans to donate towards the making of their album (watch below).
By Mary Chang
on Sunday, 18th January 2015 at 10:00 am
Just a little over a week to go before Charlatans‘ hotly anticipated 12th album ‘Modern Nature’ will be released on the 26th of January on BMG Chrysalis. Ahead of the LP’s big day, they’ve pulled the lid of the promo for forthcoming single ‘Come Home Baby’, a ’70s vibey tune with sun shining from behind the shadowy figure of Tim Burgess in the video. Watch the promo below.
Previous Charlatans coverage on TGTF is here.
By Mary Chang
on Saturday, 17th January 2015 at 10:00 am
‘Ballad of the Mighty I’ is the latest Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds track to be released, and this one’s mighty special, no pun intended: the song stars the guitar-playing talents of another Mancunian legend, Johnny Marr. I don’t know if I can handle the level of coolness on the stage in this video. Can you? Wait for it, there’s also a humourous moment at the end too. Watch the promo below.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ second album ‘Chasing Yesterday’ is released on the 2nd of March on Sour Mash Records.
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