Harpeth Rising have released their new album ‘Against All Tides’. The classically trained trio of Jordana Greenberg, Maria Di Meglio and Michelle Younger recorded between May 2016 and February 2017 in the eye of the political storm that was taking hold of America. Against All Tides is therefore unsurprisingly heavily influenced by the atmosphere of social unrest that surrounded them. Many of the songs are protests and direct indictments of the political system while others take inspiration from personal suffering and hardships. Two of the songs The Highwayman and I Did Not Make the World were written by David Greenberg, Jordana’s father. David’s songs have appeared on each of Harpeth Risings albums and Jordana – the primary songwriter for the band – states how her father “continues to be a source of inspiration” to her and her music. Over the past 5 years Harpeth Rising have recorded 5 albums, toured 9 different countries on 3 continents and performed more than 600 gigs.
‘Against All Tides’ is an intricate tightly weaved 11 track album filled with organic pure blends of baroque and folk. From the first track ‘Love Child’ the trio slap straight into their meticulously weaved sound. The twanging banjo bounces and playfully hops between an eerie dark soundscape of crawly strides on violin and building depth of urgency on cello. The three-part vocal harmonies give a warmth yet striking hair-raising effect to the track. The tracks that follow maintain this darkened mysterious tone emphasised by the trio’s organic stunning use of instrumentation. ‘Drink of Reddest Wine’ brings a melancholic tone with winding hazy strings dragging back and forth while a sombre vocal melody pines and sobs the mournful lyrics. It’s tender and emotional with a hidden mystical tone. ‘3. 535 (Are You Even Alive?)’ throws a bouncy and theatrically spooky tone into the mix. Tracks like ‘The Highwayman’ display the trios braided weaving instrumentation perfectly. Strings sway, glide and pierce through the track adding soft swoons and dire urgency while the woeful cello builds with chilling depths. The light banjo adds a rush of panic while the vocals narrate through this frantic instrumentation. It’s quite heart stopping. ‘Prison Trilogy’ showcases their knack for story telling and heart wrenching emotion through melody. The accompaniment is simple for this track which leaves the attention all on the beautiful melody and passionate vocal delivery. That sweet string feature is just sublime and delicate lulling you into a beautiful soft stupor. ‘Lucid Dreaming Sheep’ closes the album with a unique sound for the trio. It’s richly rhythmic and boppy with a shimmy and shake like swagger and attitude. This track ends the album showing there’s a little more to their sound than perhaps you would think at first.
‘Against All Tides’ is a well-balanced album filled with hair raising stunning tracks to evoke all your senses. With dance ready beats magnificent storytelling and dazzling richly intertwined instrumentation it’s the perfect organic blend.
Stream ‘Against All Tides’ below
After forming back in 2014 and since releasing both a debut album and EP, The Small Change Diaries are all set to release their second album ‘Lullabies for Cynics’, which will be available from 3rd November. The release will be celebrated with a launch gig set to take place at Sunny Bank Mills on its release date. Their debut album ‘Adam Blames Eve’ received critical acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing and thus far, the tracks ‘Huggie Crying Thing’ and ‘I Know What You’re Saying’ from the new album have been played on BBC Introducing Leeds, giving them a promising start. With a rich variation of instruments, The Small Change Diaries create poetic, acoustic songs with thought provoking lyrics and a heartfelt delivery. Similar to their previous EP ‘Protest Songs’, their latest album ‘Lullabies for Cynics’ was inspired by world events in the past 18 months. Described by the collective themselves as ‘music for the head and heart’, various tracks touch on specific affairs such as the Paris attack and changes in US politics, leaving the listener with a lot to think about. The album also features some stellar international musicians, including Laurent Zeller from France, and Phil Doleman, both who have decades of musical experience. It was recorded over a 12 month period and has been a labour of love for the 4-piece.
At first glance ‘Lullabies for Cynics’ has a warm fuzzy glow that maybe we all need sometimes. From the title track ‘Hold On’ this four piece sweep us with a deluge of lush rich instrumentation emitting bright radiant vibes and warm tones. Opulent sweet melodies teamed with beautiful harmonies and bouncy light rhythms create a boppy sound that wraps you up in a cosy blanket shielding you from the harshness of the world. I don’t think you can get a more glowing peppy track than ‘Huggy Cryin’ Thing’. It’s light, catchy, warm and soothing. Oozing oodles of cheery vibes. I’m usually the cynical person and for sure not a morning person but I think if I was a morning person i’d wake up singing this song while the sun shone on me and the birds tweeted. It sets the scene for cheery perfect idealism. It has a sweet quality to cheer anyone up. ‘I Know What Your’re Saying’ with its foot tapping tone and ‘Kicking Down Doors’ with its guitar twangs, jagged tempo and waltz injections take a slower melancholic tone. They are a little more sombre and honest. With tracks like the sparkling ‘Not One Of Us’ and the darker swing of ‘Voodood Doll (feat.Phil Doleman)’ it’s like this four piece create their own little world which has a soft positive first impression but dig a little deeper and it’s a little more dark. Gently shaking percussion and snug strings create a cosy atmosphere though the lyrics are a lot more striking and harsh than the dreamy instrumental illusion. The four piece take their hand to blues with ‘Slow News Day’. Drenched in lazy hazy vibes with sublime bluesy drizzled horns and stroke tap beat it has a classy curvy easy going tempo with a murky story behind it. ‘Lullaby’ closes the album on a soothing note. Basically they sing us a lullaby before adding a bright refreshing little wake up burst about 1 minute and 30 seconds in. It sparkles and glows with pacifying gentleness and hopefulness.
‘Lullabies for Cynics’ is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. The Small Change Diaries create a peppy fantasy world with folk, blues, gospel-style arrangements all while conveying the candied truth through their politically challenging lyrics. At a first listen it’s just camp fire sway ready lollipops and rainbows tunes but at the root there is depth there. Perhaps candy coating the harshness for us a little.
After performing at both UK and overseas festivals over the duration of the summer, The Small Change Diaries are now ready to settle back in the UK to promote their album, starting with their album launch gig on 3rd November 2017 at Sunny Bank Mills. Information about further upcoming live dates can be found on their social media pages here
Watch the video for the track ‘Birdman’ below
Americana, folk singer-songwriter Miyuki Furtado has announced the release of his debut EP with his newest band Divining Rod, a new direction for the previous member of popular post punk band The Roger Sisters. The double A side single was released yesterday and it illustrates the earliest and the most recent paths Miyuki’s songwriting has taken. Released under Killipaki Records, Divining Rod take inspiration from the likes of Bert Jansch, Stephen Stills and Fairport Convention to present a soul tinged, country sound and a taste of what is to come from their full album, ‘Return to Crystal Cove’ which is set to be released later this year. During his upbringing in Kauai, Hawaii, Miyuki was surrounded by live music and the inspiration from that environment carries through to the tracks in this EP. Recorded by grammy-nominated Brian Forbes (Emily King, Bilal), both tracks on the EP have an interesting story behind the lyrics, with Hemlock Blues being a story of the sensationalism of news in the modern day and the repercussions it can have and Love Come Tumbling inspired by a dream of Miyuki’s which lead him to put pen to paper.
‘Hemlock Blues’ is bouncy soul infused Americana that rushes through you like blood in your veins, it’s wholesome and honest with dark sinister tones lying beneath its rooted sound. Rich country twangs fill the track with sharp bursts of refreshing zest while smooth vocals and soft beat add warmth and comfort. Dramatic stops and vibrant guitar twinkles create a delicate yet striking track that is foot tappingly good.
‘Love Come Tumbling’ is a melodic gripping track with a kick drum acting as the heartbeat of the song. Once again sharp bright guitar melodies flicker in and out adding bright little speckles of luminosity. With a sweet instrumental feature Divining Rod display their slick refined musicianship as lush guitar lines and mellow harmonica twangs blend seamlessly with sweet tones creating a well layered lavish experience. Its vocal melody is simple but with a hearty wholesome sound backing this track it is sublime and warming.
These intricate well layered tracks act as the perfect appetiser for the album ‘Return to Crystal Cove’.
Stream ‘Hemlock Blues / Love Come Tumbling’ below
David Arn is an American singer, songwriter, musician best known for his highly personal lyrical style. He currently has two albums entitled, ‘Postmodern Days’ and ‘Walking in Dreamland’ (which in 2015 was played on over 85 US and Canada FM stations). Streamed worldwide on myriad outlets, Arn’s music has been featured on NPR stations, BBC Radio and heard on Delta Airlines commercial flights. Hailing from a literary background, the most important aspect of Arn’s songs are the lyrics which have an endearing lyrical style with a poetic flair. David has recently released his new single ‘Power Line’ which was mastered and engineered by Andrew Walter (David Bowie, Coldplay) at Abbey Road Studios and is a musical collaboration with Toby Wilson who features in the single as lead guitarist. As a sophisticated multi-instrumentalist and musician, this particular release is a new sound for David, who cites Leonard Cohen as one of his main influences. The single marks the first release of a larger project set to be released later in 2017.
‘Power Line’ twangs with melancholic nostalgic tones that glimmer with warm mellow scintillation. This new release still retains the lyrical style that David has been well known for in his previous two album releases, however the track echoes more of a mainstream folk sound. Smooth vocals lull you into a state of tranquillity while steady strums surge a hush of serenity with bright evening sun-setting glows. Sweet subtle guitar licks add warm sapid melodious qualities. Its a gentle song to sway to for those thoughtful contemplative moments on the patio.
Stream ‘Power Line’ below
South Wales four-piece Climbing Trees consists of members Matthew Frederick (Piano, Guitar, Vocals), Colenso Jones (Guitar, Bass, Vocals), Martin Webb (Guitar, Bass, Vocals) and James Bennetts (Drums, Percussion, Vocals). They describe their sound as Cymrucana (mixture of folk, country and Americana). The band formed in 2011 and came to the attention of BBC Introducing with the distinctive sound of their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Hebron’, which was recorded in isolation in the woods of Carmarthenshire, the band were announced as one of twelve artists to take part in the inaugural year of the BBC and Arts Council of Wales’ Horizons project in the Spring of 2014. They have had appearances at Green Man Festival, Festival No.6 and The Hay Festival and have also performed at the Dylan Thomas Centenary celebrations in Laugharne Castle. With a live session at London’s legendary Maida Vale Studios , a television appearance alongside the BBC National Orchestra of Wales as well as soundtracking the BBC’s Real Valleys season and featuring in American documentary Fade To Winter, Climbing Trees have had a busy few years and gained an ever growing following.
The band have finished their eagerly-awaited and much anticipated second album ‘Borders’ which has been shortlisted for this year’s Welsh Music Prize. This month they released their new single ‘Amber’ which is the third to be taken from the album. The track is flush with bright warm tones and richly entwined with lush melodies and glowing textures. The addition of the string quartet adds a delicate sweet elegance and sway to the track lifting it up and giving it flight and motion. The piano is also gentle and tender and compliments the track perfectly adding a beautiful graceful quality. The vocals are warm and soothing with smooth soft country tones. The guitars glitter and glisten while also adding depth to the elevating song. Climbing Trees continue to progress and perfect their unique sound and give us a track that is feathery light yet dense with warm golden textures.
Brighton’s Folk/Punk/Rock band 40 Shillings On The Drum are Daniel Scully (Vocals), Steven Cobley (Guitar), Seb Cole (Keyboard/Backing Vocal), Barry Bloye (Bass/Backing Vocal), Sue Buckler (Fiddle) and Danny Woodford (Drums). After over a year’s preparation, 40 Shillings On The Drum launched online in July 2016 and performed their first gig on Wednesday 27th July as part of Churchill Square’s Busk Stop event in Brighton. Attracting the largest turnout of all the acts to perform.
The six piece gave us a sneak peak of their single ‘Brighton Belle’ and its a guzzler. Its a fantastic fusion of Gaelic folk and rock. Bursting with brawl-like attitude and drenched in beer and whiskey, this track will pull in the masses for a tankard-clashing hearty anthem. Embroidered with bright sweet guitar and a delicate tender tear jerking melody on fiddle that will bring a proud tear to any strong mans eye. With its rapid tempo and nimble keys its difficult to sit still, its a crowd-pleaser and will have everyone up and jumping. Soaked in cheeky swagger its a ruckus causing high energy infectious back-slapping cheerful song. You just wont be able to stop yourself singing along.
40 Shillings On The Drum are “armed to the teeth with an array of songs about life, love, friendship, and getting smashed out of your brain, and are ready to take on the world, one town at time”.
Their as-yet, untitled debut album is due for release in 2017.
Here’s a link to a live, acoustic video version of ‘Brighton Belle’ https://www.facebook.com/40ShillingsOnTheDrum/videos/277798889245606/
40 Shillings On The Drum are releasing the song worldwide as a single on Friday 30th September so make sure you keep an eye out for that.
Chalky Seas are a laid back, indie folk band from East Anglia. The line up is made up of like-minded musicians that all met within the local music scene throughout the years. With their ‘gypsy-esque’ style strumming patterns and their ‘rootsy-true’ lyrics comes a very easily listenable ‘Chalky Seas’, appealing to all . They released their debut EP ‘CAVALIER’ earlier this year. Their success from their early release of the first single ‘Plastic Friends’ has gained them an ever growing following and fan-base.
‘CAVALIER’ is an EP packed with good wholesome tracks that flow smoothly and grab your attention with soul touching rich melodies and warm tones. ‘Riverbend’ and ‘Home’ are bright lustrous tracks with soft beats and gleaming guitars that are relaxing and easing to the mind. They are cosy and comforting tracks with the guitar adding a bite and freshness which acts as a ray of sunlight on your face. ‘Cavalier’ is a simple quite track that stills everything in the room and draws you into every word and emotion. With light accompaniment to start which builds to a pulse like beat in percussion adding depth to the track. It has a stilling effect on the mind and a tender tone. The track builds in tempo and becomes uplifting and vibrant. ‘Plastic Friends’ is a beautifully presented track that is aglow with golden glistening tones. With a melancholy tone that will bring a tear to your eye yet holds a strength and courage that is character building. Chalky Seas manage to take the listener on a journey of emotional discovery while they provide comfort from these emotions through a warm smooth blanket of beautiful tunes.
Stream ‘Plastic Friends’ and ‘Riverbend’ below
Essex-based singer-songwriter Tom Ryder has released his new single ‘Desk Job’ from his recent ‘Strings Attached’ EP. Tom has made an impression on BBC Introducing in Cambridge and BBC Essex. BBC Three Counties Radio have play listed Tom’s songs and invited him in for live sessions. The new EP track ‘Strings Attached’ has already been heard on the airwaves of 39 BBC regional stations. His début single ‘Silence Breaking Through Sound’ raised close to £9,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support in 2015 and has gained celebrity praise and approval from Chris Evans and Rod Stewart. Ryder’s new track ‘Desk Job’ follows and doesn’t disappoint.
‘Desk Job’ is a soft gentle track that explores the daily 9 to 5 grind to a beautiful and infectious folk-pop melody. With a delicate rounded beat and velvety smooth acoustic guitar this track is spongy and sweet. While the lyrics are easy to relate to and perhaps sometimes harsh, we are not being told a fairytale as it is a song about “reality”. However the lyrics are performed in a compassionate tender manner. Ryder’s vocals are warm and sympathetic. Although the theme is somewhat melancholy the tone of the song is upbeat and positive, with a brass feature that fills you with hope and positivity. The added almost whisper vocal and break in the song near the end adds a dramatic effect to the track that makes sure to keep your attention.
This is a lovely emotional raw track that is honest and true yet still upbeat and cheery.
Stream ‘Desk Job’ below .