Bedouine – Bedouine Deluxe Edition 2017

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Azniv Korkejian is literally a world-traveling musician. The singer/songwriter was born in Syria, moved to Saudi Arabia as a child, and later moved to America, where she lived in Boston and Houston before settling in LA.
She studied sound design and has done quite a bit of work in Southern California in the arena of dialogue editing. A quick IMDB search reveals that she has dialogue edited for shows like “Preachers’ Daughters” and “Ultimate Soldier Challenge.”
For her self-titled debut album as Bedouine , she’s joined by a very impressive cast. The album was produced by Gus Seyffert and features guitarist Smokey Hormel (who are both known for working with Beck and Norah Jones), it was mixed by Thom Monahan (Vetiver, Devendra Banhart),…

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…and Matthew E White is releasing it on his Spacebomb label. It’s got gorgeous string arrangements by Spacebomb’s co-owner and in-house arranger Trey Pollard, who also lent his talents to Matthew, Natalie Prass, Foxygen, and more. As you may expect from a team like that, the album hearkens back to ’60s and ’70s songwriting, and has a real smooth, calm feel to it.

Though she’s lived everywhere, it’s appropriate that she ended up in LA, a breeding ground for a lot of music like this in the ’60s (The Byrds, Linda Ronstadt, John Phillips, Tim Buckley, etc). If you like that stuff, you’ll probably find that Azniv does a lot of justice to that sound. Early highlight one of these day’s is so instantly familiar and instantly pleasing, that you’ll be checking to make sure it’s not a cover from that era. (It’s not.) solitary daughter has a spoken word/poetry feel to it, like Leonard Cohen or the trippier side of Paul Simon. “Summer Cold” embraces dark, queasy melodies, almost sounding like a psych-folk singer covering Billie Holiday. Songs like that prove that Bedouine is anything but a one-trick pony.

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Lord Huron – Vide Noir 2018

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Lord Huron have well and truly stepped up to the next level on their third outing. The heart-wrenching folk is still there, but this time it’s laced with questioning promise – and we are here for it.
Calling your third album vide noir is a bold move. Not only does it immediately present a needed translation, but once done so, presents you with one of humanities biggest fears – a black void.
So, how do Lord Huron approach such grandiose ideas? Rather spectacularly actually. The ethereal harp and choral vocals twinned gently plucked strings that ring in this third outing immediately project ideas that may sit on a station way out of reach, but it feels like Vide Noir isn’t supposed to be received this way.
While “Lost In Time and Space’” feels just like…

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…that – a wandering journey through the cosmos with an angelic soundtrack, instead, it, and the album after it offers you the opportunity to delve into what your life might pertain.

Though it does sit on the expected side of the sonic line for Lord Huron, it’s “Never Ever” where the engines really kick in. A distorted rollicking number that drives like a The Killers track, it has all the makings of an epic run and is just the beginning for Vide Noire.

The sound of “Never Ever” is swiftly followed up by the one-two of “Ancient Names (parts I & II)”. Which feature more pounding drums and determined instrumentation from the first part, but it’s the second part where the energy really comes through and Lord Huron feel like a beast unleashed.

While the folk-essence lies below and often comes through in its truest form, the developments are clear and passionately welcomed all across Vide Noir. Where a band like Mumford & Sons abandoned ship from their beginnings to a mixed result, it sounds like Lord Huron have managed to evolve forward incorporating electric elements in a major way without forfeiting any kind of integrity.

Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger in the Alps 2017

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Phoebe Bridges releases her debut album ‘Stranger In The Alps’ on Dead Oceans. Writing songs since age 11, Bridgers spent her teenage years performing at open mic nights and busking throughout her hometown before recording a debut three-song single, “Killer,” with Ryan Adams in his L.A. studio. “Killer” was released on Adams’ Pax-Am label in spring of 2015.

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John Murry – A Short History Of Decay 2017

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Some artists become legends. They become household names. Most people will know at least one or two of their songs. For whatever reason their mainstream success transcends commercialism, and they end up transforming popular culture and by extension, culture at large. These artists’ names become adjectives. Dylan-esque. Beatles-esque.

Australian enfant terrible Nick Cave may not have quite reached that stage, but he’s close. Most music lovers will immediately understand it when you call something ‘Nick Cave-esque”.

Of course, the adjective itself can quickly become a crutch for lazy reviewers, and all too often for artists as well. So it’s a pleasant surprise to hear a release that can be called Nick Cave-esque but still very much marches to its own beat.

John Murry’s life story in itself is the stuff of legends. From an unhappy, over-medicated childhood to drug addiction, musical success, and another fall into addiction and even prison, his life story reads like a book. He also was adopted into William Faulkner’s family at birth (a cousin of his mother). John certainly need not look far for inspiration.

A Short History of Decay is an album that resulted from a chance meeting with Cowboy Junkies guitarist Michael Timmins. Recorded over a five day period with an emphasis on off-the-cuff creativity, the album is a strong statement by an iconoclastic artist, backed by a tight group of excellent musicians.

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This is a sonically adventurous release, frantic and understated at the same time, with cavernous piano, telephone vocals, sudden volleys of fuzzed-out guitar, and the backup vocals of Cait O’Riordan ( the Pogues, Elvis Costello) .

Silver or Lead starts off with a sombre piano, joined by minimal drums and bass. The song walks a tightrope between sombre dirge and a more hopeful sing-along chorus while remaining solidly entrenched in Murry’s trademark melancholy.

Under a Darker Moon is a personal favourite, grinding and sputtering along happily on a solid bed of bone-dry drums and psychotic guitars. Wrong Man reminds me of Nebraskaera Bruce Springsteen and is one of the strongest cuts on the album. Murry’s vocals on this song give me a mental picture of the world’s loneliest monk, preaching to the buzzards and rattlesnakes in the Mohave Desert, right before the fiery ball in the sky claims his sanity.

Another mid-tempo rocker is Defacing Sunday Bulletins, with Murry’s spine-tingling telephone vocals steering the sonic mayhem with steady if slightly trembling, hand. Miss Magdalene is an achingly beautiful acoustic song reminiscent of Leonard Cohen at his most morose.

Originally an Afghan Wigs tune, What Jail is Like is a guitar-driven ballad with sad piano, tribal drums, and some of that good old-fashioned backwards guitar. The lyrics take on extra poignancy in light of Murry’s life story.

A Short History of Decay is a gripping album, sonically adventurous, by an artist who’s paid his dues, came out a stronger man and an iconoclastic artist who made a career out of transforming tragedy and hardship into stark beauty.

review from charlie who will be featuring more on this blog .

Skyway Man – Seen Comin’ From A Mighty Eye 2017

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To fully appreciate James Wallace (a.k.a. skyway man ), it helps to understand his background. The auteur is the ultimate Nashville outsider having worked with his hometown Richmond, Virginia’s Spacebomb collective and his own alternative — some might say experimental — folksy naked light band among other under-the-radar projects over the past decade. Along the way he’s picked up some high profile fans in the form of Alabama Shakes’ frontwoman Brittany Howard, but in Nashville he can be seen as a provocateur; a guy unafraid to push boundaries that transform pop into art. He continues that endeavor under his newest alias, Skyway Man.
It’s as good a name as any to lead a collective of nearly 20 musicians who have contributed to……his debut under this moniker. By any measure, Seen Comin’ from a Mighty Eye is an audacious example of what his press release calls “folk futurism.” The song cycle’s concepts are largely too obtuse to easily untangle, but the lyrics are sung in the first person and seem in part to be about living in a dystopian society.

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Wallace’s sweet, boyish voice makes even extended tracks like the wordy, nine-plus minute “Wires (Donny Angel and the Opening Wide)” go down easy, even if inscrutable lyrics such as “And if your sky catches fire ‘cause the tank crushed the car with the family inside/ and you fly from reason like sparks or rocks that you kick down the street with your heels while you’re waiting for the community van that takes you and your bag someplace that you’ve never been before”… phew … are a mouthful to unravel.

Musically, the twisted but melodic tunes encompass a variety of sounds, including but not limited to colorful psychedelic rock, lighter Beatles-styled pop, and a skewed Nilsson/Donovan chamber style that, even with multi-tracked instrumentation, including creative use of horns and string arrangements, stays frothy and generally bubbly. A sunlit prog-folksy instrumental titled “The Dedication of Giant Rock” splits the album in two pieces, giving the listener a break from having to scrutinize the lyrically dense songs.

Those more dedicated to the Wallace cause can spend the necessary effort disentangling the concept, but even for those who take a pass on that task, this is an impressive, bold, and ambitious 53-minute work. Wallace is clearly talented and you can tell he’s referring to himself, and perhaps the creation of this four-sided opus, when he sings “Visions and the sound of my blood/ have been keeping me awake at night.” – American Songwriter

Roadkill Ghost Choir – False Youth Etcetera , Vol 1 2017

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Roadkill Ghost Choir are an indie rock band whose music combines the languid but emotionally charged approach of indie rock with a Southern gothic undertow, articulated through the voices of banjo and pedal steel guitar. Roadkill Ghost Choir were formed by lead vocalist and songwriter Andrew Shepard in in DeLand, Florida in 2011; Shepard had been booked to play a solo show at a local club, but soon decided he preferred to have a band for the occasion. Shepard rounded up a backing combo from his friends and siblings: guitarist Stephen Gaza was in a band called Introduction to Sunshine, Andrew’s brothers Zach Shepard (bass) and Maxx Shepard (drums) had worked with the Quiet Men, as did pedal steel and banjo man Kiffy Meyer, and Joe Davoli on keys and trumpet had played in the group Loud Valley. The musicians were pleased with the show and decided to continue working together, and Roadkill Ghost Choir were born. The band earned a reputation in Florida and began touring throughout the South and East Coast, and in 2013, the group released a Kickstarter-funded EP, Quiet Light. The EP received enthusiastic reviews, and as positive word of mouth began to spread, Roadkill Ghost Choir began landing bigger and better bookings, including appearances at the Austin City Limits and Governor’s Ball festivals, and a spot on The Late Show with David Letterman. in 2013, Roadkill Ghost Choir began work on their first full-length album, though not long after the sessions were finished the group was pared down to a quintet by the departure of Joe Davoli. In the summer of 2014, the band released In Tongues and set out for more touring, including appearances at the Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza festivals.

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Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Navigator 2017

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Well the arrival of the new Hurray For The Riff Raff “The Navigator” Four days before the release date has made me a little happy to say the least . This Bronx beauty really knows her shit an avid campaigner for woman’s rights and a avid believer in just do the right fucking thing .

Living In The City track opens up and you just know this is my track for the spring months ahead and possibly right in to the summer its powerful and upbeat with a vibe that will clearly lift you up .  I Am going to declare this a Siding With The Insane Stereo LAW  that each day should start with “Living In The City”

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I have been a huge fan of HFTRR since the self release “It Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You” and i knew from then that this band is going to do well , and everything after that release has always been ,solid and worth every listen .

Father John Misty – Pure Comedy 2017

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Well it has arrived the advance Father John Misty “Pure Comedy” and i have to state that this album is much better than “I Love You, Honeybear” that album really let me down in a way that i never want to hear anything from it again . i tried so hard to get in to it but it seemed to escape me , And i have spoke to so many folks that say it either great , or bad nobody ever states that its OK (marmite album) .

Anyway back to Pure Comedy Josh Tillman wrote the majority of this back in 2015 and recorded all vocals and basic tracking on to tape with no more than two takes . this was recorded at the same studios The Beach Boys called home .

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