"Heartfelt dream pop with lyrics like poetry"
Monday, March 30, 2009
I already loved Sara Lov when back when she was in Devics, and she also immediately convinced me with her first solorelease; Three Songs EP. Her just released full length debut album is no exception. It's one of my favorite albums this year, so far.
The former frontwoman of Devics and current solo singer paints an apt picture of melodies that are both minimalist and poignant with heady vocals that warm you from the inside. For a singer freshly on her own, Lov exudes immense confidence. It is perhaps because of the success of Devics that Lov finds the idea of going out on her own exciting, if a little unnerving. Lov views much of her life in a similar way – taking something frightening that could have overwhelmed others, and making it a positive influence on her life and music. At the age of five, the Hawaiian-born Lov was kidnapped by her father and taken to Israel, then Minnesota, and then ended up in L.A. at age 12 where she was raised by her uncle. “My father really encouraged me creatively,” Lov says. “The one thing I am certain of is that for most of my young life, music was the consistency and stability I had. It was my escape and my sanity.” Perhaps that’s why Lov feels a certain nostalgia for a time in her life that most would imagine to be traumatic or marked by stolen innocence, going as far as to name her debut solo album, Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming, after the idealism of youth. “As you get older it’s harder to find beauty and innocence in anything,” she says. “It’s easy to get jaded and loose your sense of idealism. So, to find that thing that brings you back to your ‘young eyes’ or that thing that makes you feel excited to be alive again even though you are seeing it through seasoned eyes... even if just for a moment, it’s a beautiful thing.” It’s Lov’s lyrics, though, which are the highlight of her music, and the part she is most reluctant to talk about, preferring instead for listeners to interpret on their own. With “A Thousand Bees,” she works on letting go and moving on. Her debut The Young Eyes EP was released this January through Nettwerk. Her full length debut album, Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming just released also through Nettwerk.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Choir Of Young Believers is a new Danish act, with great international potential. The man behind this band is the 24 year old, Danish, Greek and Indonesian Jannis Noya Makrigiannis. For many years, Jannis has moved in the underground circles of the Danish indie scene and been a part of the legendary band, Lake Placid. Since 2006 he has been working on his solo material, which has now resulted in the debut EP from Choir Of Young believers, called “Burn The Flag“. The songs for the EP were written in Berlin, Copenhagen and in a small town on the Greek island Samos, where Jannis lived for a while. Musically, Choir Of Young Believers is located somewhere between low key folk and grandiose indie pop, ambitiously combining a cool Nordic distance with a true presence and vitality. In spite of his young age, Jannis writes mature intelligent songs. The melodies are simple and beautiful while the arrangements surprises and overwhelms the listener. Live, Choir of Young believers can take many different shapes and sizes. Sometimes it is a solo performance with guitar or piano and other times you will see up to eight people on stage, including strings and percussion. You never know what you will get, apart from the beautiful voice and cool presence that Jannis always delivers. Choir Of Young Believers is signed to Danish label Tigerspring, who in May 2007 released “Burn The Flag” nationally, to great reviews. Choir Of Young Believers performed at Roskilde Festival, before going on a national tour in the fall of 2007. In early 2008 COYB won two major awards in Denmark as “talent of the year” and “hope of the year”. Their debut album "This is For The White in Your Eyes" was released last year.
"Infectious, intimate melodic folk songs worthy of your ears"
Choir of Young Believers was indirectly recommended to me by Anika (from Anika In London) . She went to one of their gigs not too long ago, and the "choir" in their name caught my eye. I immediately fell in love with their melodic folk songs, which remind me in some way of the Fleet Foxes. They have the same harmonic folk pop songs with a hint to a churchchoir.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
"Haunting paino and breathtaking vocals"
The first time I heard about Soap&Skin, it was the weird shampoobrand-like name that caught my eye. I expected soft, light music just like the sweetness and softness of soap. Boy was I wrong, Instead Lovetune for Vacuum features pretty, fragile and heavy songs about the downside of life. But don't get too depressed, yet, because the haunting piano, her emotional and fragile voice are essential and breathtaking in the selfcomposed, sublime songs.
Soap&Skin is also known as Anja Plaschg. The sheer force this young artist (she is only eighteen) injects into her compositions almost beggars belief, her songs consuming every last drop of her with no regard for grace or beauty. They say I'm different – and they have been saying it about Plaschg since she was a little girl in the small South Steiermark village of Gnas, where her parents had a pigfarm. With her punkish looks, ripped clothes and nihilistic attitude to match, she felt like the archetypal outsider, hating piano lessons until hitting her teens when, all of a sudden, piano playing became her elixir. Anja began practising for 12 hours a day, took up the violin as well and composed her first classical pieces for the village music school. Her older brother installed a sound programme on the computer for her to play around with, and having figured it out for herself, she experimented with productions. Soap&Skin's first album “Lovetune for Vacuum” is a logical progression from her previously released pieces, an unwavering line of drama, inner conflict and melancholy. The impact of this debut lies in its paradoxicality: remarkably mature on the one hand, yet feeding on unbridled youthful exuberance on the other. The songs you find on the album have been written between 2005 – 2008 and have been recorded back at Anja’s place - mostly just by herself.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
For every up, there is a down. For black, there is white. For day, lurks night. Or so The Audreys discovered following the warm embrace garnered by their debut longplayer, Between Last Night and Us. The album catapulted The Audreys on to the national stage and saw them collect the 2006 ARIA Award for Best Blues & Roots Album, but the accompanying success left them high and dry in a songwriting drought. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Taasha Coates says it took her and fellow songwriter/guitarist Tristan Goodall an age to get back to writing. “We were just a little Adelaide band that made an album, then suddenly we were touring constantly and playing on bigger and bigger stages. Everything was new,” Taasha explains. “It was all so overwhelming and took up so much of our time that is was 18 months before we wrote another song.” But in a universe controlled by dynamic balance, the drought was broken by a flood. Rather than a metaphorical flood of songs, it was a soaking of sentiment – a darkness, a foreboding – that seeps into the corners of their sophomore album, When the Flood Comes. Not exactly what you’d expect from the Adelaide five-piece, comprising Coates (voice, piano, melodica, ukulele), Goodall (acoustic and electric guitars, banjo), Michael Green (violin, lapsteel, backing vocals), Lyndon Gray (upright and electric bass) and Toby Lang (drums).Yet on When the Flood Comes, The Audreys shatter all expectations. They deliver an album of lyrical and sonic beauty that expands their musical template beyond the alt-country-tinged instrumentation and smoky pop of their gorgeous debut. Musically, it’s a revelation that almost defies categorisation. It aches. It breaks. And it drips with passion.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
After Coeur de Pirate, one of my favorite discoveries last year, another french singer-songwriter/composer caught my eye. Chat sings and plays the piano in her abundant and very original folky pop songs with so much honesty and charm, make that you can't help falling in love..
"Abundant, charming folk songs with amazing piano pieces make this encroyable enjoyable"
Chat is originally from the East of France where she spent the first years of her life. She discovered classical music in childhood, and quickly took piano lessons. She attended the Conservatorium in Boulogne, where she received a first prize in piano and was seriously considering a career as a proffesional piano player. The important thing is that during this past year in Switzerland, chatting, began to compose small pieces. In 2006, she accompanied her boyfriend in London. Lo. She liked London for the is ideal unusual events. One day I came across a type with which I found myself playing the piano that evening, on stage. He was dressed as a woman and sang into a megaphone, a song from Ella Fitzgerald, with two strippers next to him. To earn a living, Chat taught piano while composing her first songs, it was only after a while, she decided to sing. It was during this period it is on MySpace where Vanessa, also based in London, commented and invited her to plays her songs in front of an audience for the first time. Shortly thereafter, the English Decca label contacted her, but she eventually ended up signing with Capitol France, and adopted the name Chat. In terms of modern influences, Chat really likes Radiohead Feist, or Keren Ann. She is also fascinated by Björk and Bat For Lashes she saw on stage recently and adored. For Chat, who also sings in English on "Folie Douce" the lyrics count. Double or even triple. She has always written and especially read a lot. Recently, Chat, definitely a strange bird, gave some concerts in apartments; live, she is in her element.
Friday, March 6, 2009
"Folk pop gems sung in perfect harmony"
Two unique voices, flowing harmonies and captivating songs seem to bring Nick and Liesl a loving reception wherever they go. Their distinctive sound is the coming together of two singer/songwriters with influences ranging from Nick’s love of Cat Stevens and James Taylor to Liesl’s classical songbooks and the local folk music of her childhood home Sweden. Although only two people, the pair present a sound that fills large theatres and small village churches alike. Their stories are many and varied, as is their performance, with each switching between instruments along to the ever-present stomp box and tambourine. In 2006 they received national airplay on Triple J after featuring on compilations Home Grown Roots and Sounds Like Café. In January 2007 they took their music to the international stage performing to audiences throughout the UK and Sweden. Having spent the last year recording their debut Wyong River EP and touring the East Coast of Australia, Nick and Liesl recently embarked on a second European tour, playing to packed venues & festivals in Sweden, Germany & the UK before returning home to launch Wyong River at The Basement in Sydney. Last year’s hard work paid off with a number of festival performances (see below) and supports for major artists such as Kate Miller-Heidke, Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson, Harry Manx etc, as well as a Folk Award nomination and a performance at the 2007 ABC Music Awards in Newcastle.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
"The maturity of her voice, and creativity in her songs will get her far"
Twenty year old Emily Elbert is a singer/songwriter with deep musical roots and a clear love for creative expression. Fresh off a northeast run with G Love and Special Sauce and a showcase spot at the Folk Alliance Festival in Memphis, Elbert is quickly growing in the national spotlight. Her lifelong passion for music from around the world, and distinctive combination of jazz, folk, soul, blues, and pop creates a sound that engages the hearts, minds, and ears of listeners around the globe. Emily blends a hip musical perspective with an in-depth knowledge of classic songs to create unique vocal and guitar arrangements. Elbert’s debut CD, Bright Side, contains eleven original songs that she wrote, arranged, performed, and recorded at Bob Gentry’s New Masters Studio in Tyler. When performing live, her sets include music from Bright Side, as well as new compositions and adaptations of music ranging from Joni Mitchell to Michael Jackson. Texas Instruments recently licensed videos of two of Emily’s songs to demonstrate their new video cell phones throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. She has opened for G Love & Special Sauce, Kaki King, the Wood Brothers, Patty Larkin, Ruthie Foster, Marcia Ball and Ben Taylor, and has an upcoming booking supporting Ryan Montbleau. Emily Elbert is currently based in Boston, where she tours locally and is a recipient of a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music. She's also working on her second album.
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