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Folk / Country / Singer-songwriter

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Bon Iver
Blood Bank

In my eyes, the bookends of Blood Bank pretty much dominates the EP. The title track is probably the most conventional track Bon Iver has made (and that's saying something!). It has the acoustic vision that made 'For Emma, Forever Ago' such a standout, but it's fleshed out with a band arrangement and as a result, becomes a chorus-centric number ...view item »

Alasdair Roberts
The Amber Gatherers

And now for something completely different. The delicate warblings of ALASDAIR ROBERTS are enough to soothe my stressed head today.  There's probably not much that can be said about him that hasn't been said before. His new album called The Amber Gatherers is a superb example of his gentle paced folk music. As ever there'...view item »

Puzzle Muteson
En Garde

"I thought it was a woman but it's a bloody bloke". So said a million dads as Boy George first appeared on Top of the Pops. I had the same revelation with this wonderful new 7" on Bedroom Community. I had it down as a kooky woman from Sweden, instead its a bloke from the Isle of Wight with a particular high pitch tenor somewhere between Nick...view item »

Cave Singers
No Witch

Prior to buying “No Witch” by The Cave Singers the only thing I’d heard by them was the opening track, “Gifts and the Raft” which I thought was brilliant. I love the alt. folk feel, the melody and the harmonies. When I subsequently heard the rest of the album I was quite disappointed as, to my ears at the time, it w...view item »

A Hawk And A Hacksaw
Delivrance

I'm utterly obsessed by this new A Hawk And A Hacksaw album. I've quite liked bits by 'em before but nothing has really grabbed by them as much as Delivrance, their brand new album on Leaf. I think it probably helped seeing them live the other week.... it was like being at a jewish wedding on crack. The music was so fast and furious I've no idea ho...view item »

Julianna Barwick
The Magic Place

Met her at am Emeralds gig month or so back. Lovely gal, and the album's pretty special too ...view item »

Bonnie Prince Billy
Wolfroy Goes To Town

B.P.B returns with what is a radical departure of a record. Eschewing his gentle softly softly catchy monkey take on downbeat melancholia for a harsh rocking sound that will please fans of Slayer and Fields Of The Nephilim...only joking, it's good for morale. This is B.P.B's two millionth...view item »

Lanterns On The Lake
Gracious Tide, Take Me Home

Christ, if you'd told me a few years ago that Lanterns on the Lake would not only get signed to Indie behemoths Bella Union and be touring the world and elsewhere I'd have literally eaten a horse. It's not that they are not a good band, they are expert at producing a sound, somewhere between Mazzy Star and ...view item »

Wilco
The Whole Love

I was under the impression that Wilco had called it a day after their 2011 offering “The Whole Love” but it turns out I was wrong and they saw fit to release “Star Wars” for free a couple of weeks ago. Opener “Art Of Almost” is an okay song, but then... five minutes in it all goes quiet and an almost k...view item »

My Autumn Empire
The Village Compass

My Autumn Empire is Benjamin Thomas Holton from pastoral superkings Epic 45. My Autumn Empire is Mr Ben's side project which he does when Epic 45 are on fag breaks or something. Hey we all need a vice. Mine? I like watching people put shoes on and then taking them off.... it's brilliant. Anyway here sees Ben on a more singer songwritery/ folky t...view item »

Jens Lekman
An Argument With Myself

I am a huge fan of Jens' and I didn't even know this had come out until I went to his show the other day. He sings songs about arguing with himself while walking around in Australia, stalking Kirsten Dunst and other unusual topics. His bouncy, pop melodies are extremely catchy and his guitar playing is awesome. He also writes thoughtful, smart l...view item »

Minotaurs
Eat Yr Hate

Minotaurs is the other band of Frankie and the Heartstrings guitarist Mick Ross, and this is my first exposure to them. With a name like Minotaurs I thought they'd be all about the riffs, but actually they're a lushly arranged indie pop band with boy/girl harmonies and sweeping strings. Not exactly my cuppa but I know people who'd go nuts ov...view item »

Silver Jews
The Natural Bridge

The Natural Bridge is arguably the best, certainly my favourite, Silver Jews album. David Berman is on top form as a lyricist, with his words perfectly matched to his lo-fi drawl and laid back strumming. The first line from the perfect opening track, “How To Rent A Room”, “No, I don’t really wanna die, I only want to die ...view item »

Darren Hayman
The Ship’s Piano

Darren Hayman makes a lot of music. Known primarily for his stint as singer-songwriter of indie-pop favourites Hefner, nowadays he can be found writing and performing with various characters including members of The Wave Pictures and 'Allo Darlin whilst making an effort to perform live ...view item »

Woods
Sun & Shade

I get to review the new Woods record by virtue of being the first to pounce on it in the box. It's my lucky day. This one's actually been spinning a few times in the office already, and it's totally great. The thing I love most about Woods is that nostalgic warmth and feeling of wellbeing that you get from their records and this one doesn't ...view item »

Joanna Newsom
What We Have Known

Haha, here I was thinking Joanna N. had completed a new album and silly-chops here had a chance to completely de-intellectualise the legend of this incredibly popular kooky harp-molesting lady. Well that's what she is, innit? The arrangements in her music are often totally spellbindi...view item »

Peter Wolf Crier
Garden Of Arms

When I first listened to Peter Wolf Crier's debut album (Inter-Be), I was astounded at this duo's ability to combine a singer/songwriter vocal style with lengthy instrumental rifts. I was reserving my expectations with Garden of Arms because I foolishly believed that Peter Wolf Crier couldn't match the quality and diversity of its debut album. I...view item »

Girls Love Rallie
Les Chansons Terribles

Also on Sopa is a CD by Girls Love Rallie. It's called 'Les Chansons Terribles' and it's limited to 100 copies. Though my French is shite (blame that on dreadful French teachers at school who thought it was more important to put the fear of god into me rather than doing their job and teaching French) I think it means the bad songs. Feel free to cor...view item »

The Red Well
Amid Storms We Arrive

The Red Well have a CD out on Fence Records. Think it's been out for a wee while but it's only just landed here. 'Amid Storms We Arrive' is the boldly named title of their debut. The press release for this is a funny one. It admits it's not a new genre defining amazingly new album.... it's just a good album. Well I've heard about half of it and it'...view item »

Land Observations
Roman Roads EP

Land Observations is a new solo project exploring the possibilities of motorik rhythms and layered guitars from Appliance guitarist James Brooks. Opening track 'Viae (In C Major)' is a sterling example of how krautrock rhythms and melodies can be achieved b...view item »

Giant Sand
Goods and Services (25th Anniversary Edition)

Goods and Services is a collection of live recordings from a February '95 tour of Europe with a couple of tracks recorded stateside thrown in. Giant Sand is one of the most original and important bands in America. They took the high road when most everyone else followed the corporate criminals down the low road into regurgitated mediocrity. If y...view item »

Larry Sunshine Rice
Here's Sunshine!

"Sunshine"...a name you will remember, especially if your bag in music is communication. It's always refreshing to listen to an entertainer these days who does really have summat to say...and this guy Larry "Sunshine" Rice has a lot to talk about. After his formal schooling he dabbled in various occupations such as landscaping, house paintin...view item »

Hrsta
Ghosts Will Come & Kiss Our Eyes

Here is Hrsta with 'Ghosts Will Come And Kiss Our Eyes'. Its the work of Mike Moya from God Speed You Black Emperor joined by Brooke Crouser of Jackie-O Motherfucker fame. Flip says it sounds like Christina Carter. It's a zoned out space hall with eerie underplayed guitars, awashed with reverb slow dancing around the echoy vocals. Organs drone, dru...view item »

Jeremy Warmsley
The Boat Song /Temptation

Trangressive are back with a new single by Jeremy Warmsley. It's called 'The Boat Song' and it's got a lovely picture of a boat on the cover... not one of those fancy new boats.... it's a right old boat with loads of sails (I was gonna say wings...), in fact it's HMS Victoria!! Here Jeremy has a lady with him singing along... in fact their both sin...view item »

Wreathes
The Reigns / Full Turn

Not heard of these guys before. I've almost got a clean sweep of new artists this week. I love it when that happens! Wreathes seem to make some weird medieval dark folk with a hint of gothicness and just a tiny smidgeon of middle earth. It's the kind of old odd sounding folk record that will give you the black death after you've listened to it. ...view item »

Azalia Snail
Celestial Respect

Azalia Snail = blast from the past! I remember picking up the split 7" she did with Sebadoh back in 93. That's almost 20 years ago. Yikes! Ms Snail has been knocking music out since 1989 and since then there have been 12 albums and countless singles. She may well be a name you've not heard of before but for those who know of her she's their litt...view item »

Brent Cash
How Strange It Seems

At first listen, you'd swear you've stumbled across a long forgotten sunshine pop masterpiece from the 60s. This is lushly produced (strings and horns etc.) soft pop from a bygone era. Some of the lyrics are cringe-worthy, but they also add to the ambiance. Mr. Cash adds lots of nice little musical touches and twists. For me the centrepiece is t...view item »

Alain Johannes
Spark

Alain Johannes is an endlessly talented man who was married to an endlessly talented woman. Unfortunately, in 2008 Natasha Shneider passed away and left a pulsing void in Mr. Johannes life. This is an album inspired by death... which makes its beauty all that more powerful because there are no dirges, no depressive songs... the pain is there, bu...view item »

The Travelling Band
Screaming Is Something

Do you like the group Fleet Foxes? Well, go listen to some of their stuff and if you like it then you will also like this album. Frankly, if I wasn't paying attention I could believe that this is something from Fleet Foxes for many of the songs. The lead singer's voice is fairly close and the phrasing is darn near identical at times. Folksy is a...view item »

The Bigger Lovers
How I Learned To Stop Worrying

The Bigger Lovers were a short-lived power pop band from Philadelphia. “How I Learned To Stop Worrying” was their debut album from 2001. They released two albums after this before disbanding in 2005. This album does everything that you want a power pop album to do, really. In the vein of Velvet Crush...view item »

The Felice Brothers
Celebration, Florida

With Celebration, Florida, The Felice Brothers expand their songwriting talents to a sonic soundscape that is eerie, compelling, and ultimately beautiful. While you won't find country-tinged, cacophonous hell-raisers like "Whiskey in my Whiskey" or "Love Me Tenderly," the band of brothers and close friends have developed a sound that is entirely...view item »

Moonkyte
Count Me Out

1971 UK Incredible String Band influenced acid folk with much more commercial leanings. There is a whimsical feel with off kilter vocals and instrumentation (flute, hand drums, harmonium, etc) ala the String Band but coupled with big production Moody Blues like harmon...view item »

The Owl Service
A Garland Of Song

Am back at work now and you'll notice how much worse the reviews get. Trying to concentrate on writing reviews here while bald headed goons run around like numpties is a nightmare. The Owl Service then....They had a CD out on Static Caravan a while back and here's their 1st full length album 'The Garland of Spring'. I love the word length me....view item »

The Donkeys
Born With Stripes

There's so much music in the indie world that it can become overwhelming trying to keep up. This little outfit deserves some attention. The Donkeys have that Sterling Morrison - low-fi - Luna thing going that is a nice antidote to the hyperactive and very overproduced stuff we're hearing in the indie universe now. Nice to hear a band of guys pla...view item »

Giant Sand
Ramp (25th Anniversary Edition)

This is an all-out fine CD and much loved by most all the 'Sandheads'. The songs are amongst Howe's best and the performances are tight and loose, in the best Sand-manner. So what's the problem? Probably no problem to most listeners, but personally I find the production/sound of it too metallic/cold and simply prefer listening to Chore or Centre...view item »

Adam Haworth Stephens
We Live On Cliffs

I'm a Two Gallants fan and was really curious to hear what Adam's first solo album would sound like without Tyson on the drums and in the larger band format. It's definitely a departure from the Adam Stephens we are used to, but I'm totally sold on this sound. The way he crafts each song and builds them up is amazing. He even solos on one of the...view item »

Alexander Tucker
Dorwytch

Alexander Tucker returns with his debut LP for Thrill Jockey. Kinda confused as to why this isn't on ATP but it's probably an unimportant detail. The reason I mention it is because this is easily most Tucker's most ambitious work so far and clearly something the lads at ATP would be into. Anyway, Dorwytch sees Tucker taking his dramatic songwrit...view item »

Niels Nielsen
Welcome To The Promising Land of Hi5ers and Hopeless People

Russell Crowe is Niels Nielsen... he's got it all... a recording contract... cool friends.. .he's a man on the up... but a change of events will change his world... forever... when nothing is what it seems... when you don't know who to trust... you've got no one to turn to... you need a bastion in a sea of darkness... this summer Niels Nielsen w...view item »

Dreamend
So I Ate Myself, Bite by Bite

Dreamend are a Chicago based outfit featuring members of obscure synth-o's Black Moth Super Rainbow with assistance from members of The Appleseed Cast. There's also a little production assistance courtesy of Black Moth dude Tobacco and mixing duties are taken care of by John Congleton of The Paper Chase. So that's the credentials out of the way!...view item »

Danielson
Best Of Gloucester County

Those who stumbled across the trailer for 'A Family Movie'  - a 2006 film about the ongoing multi limbed sprawl known as 'Danielson Famile' would have seen leader Daniel Smith performing in front of baffled onlookers dressed as a tree. They would have also been aware of the slightly disarming religious undertones to their ...view item »

Akron/ Family
S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT

This band are one set of strange cats. Like their last album but denser, more blissed-out & free-flowing, this is everything that is exciting about modern progressive rock. I don't quite know what they're aiming for, space perhaps, but this album moves your mind around like a helpless pawn in a game of cosmic mysticism & zen-like song-ma...view item »

Earth
Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light I

Earth are one of those bands who have had a long an distinguished career without having the good fortune to regularly pass by my sumptuous ears. About a year ago I heard one song by them which earnt itself repeated plays on my battered old gramophone. This new LP is almost exactly what I would expect given that first encounter, compris...view item »

Drakkar Sauna
Leave That Hole Alone

Shit, I ain't sayin' nuttin' 'bout dat title. Nuttin'! And I ain't talkin' no jive 'bout deys taste in shirts on da cover neither. You do dat yo' own selves. Third Man do little bits and pieces of various things revolving around the axis of Americana and this one plops into the 'folk-rock-country-pop' barrel which I seem to remember them stickin...view item »

Ed Askew
Here We Are Together Again / Yellow Dollars

Can't find too much out about this dude but he's been making music since the late 60s. Having said that he's not released much... Just one LP on ESP Disk in 1968 and then an LP on De Stijl in 2005. What's he been doing in the meantime? I'd like to think he's been selling burgers in burger vans for the time in between (that's what all the best ar...view item »

Owensie
Aliens

The obvious comparison the minute this begins is Jose Gonazalez. He's got a similar playing & singing style has this Michael Owens. A sort of metronomic guitar picking style embellished with sympathetic piano, violin & cello on some songs, low-key percussion popping up on other tracks too. From tender, dreamy folk-pop to more virtuoso at...view item »

James Walbourne
The Hill

John Vanderslice
White Wilderness

Despite releasing 10 albums to date under his own name, John Vanderslice mainly plies his trade as a producer and is an absolute obsessive production nerd. His production techniques are experimental and have given us some superb songs, "Too Much Time" from 2009's "Romanian Names" being a particular highlight of his career. Given his desire to ex...view item »

When Saints Go Machine
Fail Forever

Giant Sand
Long Stem Rant (25th Anniversary Edition)

Giant Sand is an acquired taste. Where Valley of Rain, Storm and Love Songs tend to sound like a sloppy R.E.M. with a singer who hasn't quite figured out how to sing, Long Stem Rant finds Giant Sand taking a left turn into more experimental territory. This makes for a strange and sometimes difficult listening experien...view item »

Elfin Saddle
Ringing For The Begin Again

Elfin Saddle is the work of long time art and music collaborators Jordan McKenzie and Emi Honda and 'Ringing for the Begin Again' is their second record and first to be made available via Constellation Records. Constellation seem to be branching out a little in recent years and Elfin Saddle are a really appropriate signing for the label. The group'...view item »

Elfin Saddle
Wurld

Who are Elfin Saddle? This is a delightful & sumptuous package whatever. Seemingly they're an experimental folk/sound art duo (a 3-piece live) who also specialise in eccentric organic sculpture & stop-motion animation built around delightfully random detritus. This is the culmination of their work - a bizarre 23 minute film & some tr...view item »

Jason Collett
Rat A Tat Tat

Fans of Jason Collett's know his sound tends to veer on the poppy side with a little "throw back" edge to it. I like to call it music from the "Quentin Tarantino Soundtrack" era. While fans of his previous work may be thrown off by the mellower tracks on this album. What makes him different from every other pop rock John Mayer clone is that his ...view item »

Callers
Life of Love

These guys are doing something a little unusual. They're an NY based outfit who blend folksy art-rock, gospel, Americana & and an abstracted form of psychedelic blues into something that sounds much more appealing than what I just said. The lady singer is the main draw here. Somewhere between the Karens Dalton & Carpenter with maybe a bi...view item »

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