Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Port O'Brien

It was the story behind this album and the members of Port O'Brien that made me curious. Their debut album "All We Could Do Was Sing" was mainly inspired by the daily work of the bandmembers ranging from baking to fishing. Although this may sound rather strange, it translated into a beautiful album.
Port O'Brien began early in the year 2005, as a folk-ish duo of Van Pierszalowski and Cambria Goodwin. Shortly thereafter, when they moved to the Bay Area the project added a rhythm section, comprised of Caleb Nichols and Joshua Barnhart. Every summer, Van works on his father's commercial salmon fishing boat, the Shawnee, on Kodiak Island in Alaska. The work is exhausting and the weather could be much better, but the contrast between the serenity of the wilderness and the rigorousness of the labor seem to cause quite a bit of musical inspiration. Meanwhile, on land and around the corner, Cambria also writes music while maintaining her position as the Head Baker at Larsen Bay. After both write parts and lyrics separately, they fix them together when Van comes ashore. This resulted into the band's first studio-recorded album "All We Could Do Was Sing" Because when you're working all day in the freezing cold, what the hell else are you going to do? The album was recorded in San Francisco. Lush string arrangements, raw electric guitar, percussive banjo, pots + pans, a tight rhythm section, group chants and screaming provide the new album with a diverse, but cohesive feel. They've become a touring machine since the critically lauded M. Ward first named Port O'Brien his Favorite New Band. They have been able to perform with several of their favorite artists; Rogue Wave, Bright Eyes, the Cave Singers, and Nada Surf. Now, Port O'Brien is ready to take on the rest of the world, when they visit Europe I'll definitely be there to support them!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Breanne Düren

Have been meaning to write about Breanne earlier. I had been on the look out for her album since I discovered her a while ago through MySpace and heard one of her songs "Black Coffee". In a world of countless emerging musicians, young Minneapolis singer/songwriter Breanne Düren certainly stands out. Her alternative pop style, ornamented with hints of jazz and folk and dressed with profoundly thoughtful lyrics influenced by life, knowledge, regret and faith makes for an exceptionally enjoyable and unique listening experience. With an occasional sweeping cello behind her silky vocals and creative piano parts, twenty-one year old Breanne Düren is bound to surprise and captivate music listeners of all kinds. Tracks like Lenses, Black Coffee and Warm Water making her selftitled debutalbum definitely worth the effort and that can be the first step in a very promising future for this young singer-songwriter.

@ Minneapolis, USA
♫ Alternative, Pop
♥ Black Coffee (mp3)
♥ Lenses (mp3)
▸ Myspace
▸ Buy

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Woodlands

The Woodlands mailed me two weeks ago, but with all the mail I get every day they unfortunately got a bit lost in the crowd. They would've stayed there if their reminder message, mailed to me yesterday, did not woke me up. With the promising statement that they sounded like some of my folky favorites like Jaymay and Gregory and the Hawk I hurried to their MySpace. After a quick listen I knew I had to feature them, despite my week full of studying for upcoming exams. When first songs of an album sound as good as Woodlands' "Until The Day Dims" you would've done the same. The rest of the album surpassed it's promise with tracks like "Can't We Stay" and "Summerland" the catchiest of the bunch. Hannah's whispering voice combined with subtle guitar and light bells are so beautifully interwoven in the narrative folk songs that they will leave you daydreaming right away.
The Woodlands, a wife and husband indie folk-pop duo, craft songs of lyrical poetry, lush melody and intelligent simplicity. They conjure faraway lands and the longing of lovers with timeless imagery that unearths the shadow of tragedy and the glisten of magical realism. Hannah’s hushed voice conveys both mirth and melancholy, tempered and surrounded by Samuel’s melodic instrumentation. They till the soil of their souls to reap songs and sounds wrapped in a hauntingly sweet hush of wonder. Their 2009 self-released debut album was recorded and produced by Samuel & Hannah in their Portland apartment, true to their intent of capturing intimate songs of simple complexity that sound professionally homemade. The album has been received with both national and international anticipation, and with its release The Woodlands are set to embark as husband, wife and songlings on the voyage forthcoming.

@ Portland, USA
♫ Folk, Indie, Acoustic
♥ Summerland (mp3)
▸ Myspace
▸ Buy

Monday, May 18, 2009

Charlene Soraia

It's been quite a while since I received two of Charlene's EP's in the mail. They unfortunately got lost in all the new music I discover and get all the time. Charlene's is way too talented to go to waste, and I'm glad I recently rediscovered her when I was reorganizing my cd collection. The one that like folky singer-songwriters like Fion Regann should definitely give this talented, mature sounding singer songwriter a try.
Charlene picked up her first guitar at the age of five. She played her first Open Mic night at the age of eight, and was a regular on the Open Mic circuit by the age of ten. Completely self-taught, she won admission to the legendary BRIT School of Performing Arts despite failing to have the minimum requirement of a GCSE in Music. Once at the BRIT School she stopped performing acoustically and started playing in a band called Retrospect. In 2006 she released the ‘Lemonade’ EP, which in its contrasting shades of light and dark set the stage for two very different Charlene Soraias: the girl who likes to pick flowers and run through fields in frilly dresses, and the one who wants to float through the blackest fathoms of space watching planets being born. She restarted her solo performances in 2008. Charlene released her new EP entitled Daffodils & Other Idylls in March and has topped the uk Folk Charts on iTunes. “There are two sides to my music,” she says. “There’s the folky, idyllic side that comes out in songs like ‘Daffodils’ and ‘Lemonade’, and there’s the cosmic night time side, songs like ‘Jupiter’ and ‘Postcards From iO’. She released another EP in 2008 called "Postcards from iO" and recently released her fourth EP "One of the Sun".

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hannah Scott & John Carden

Quite some time ago, Hannah Scott was recommended to me by the always amazing last.fm. Her debut album "Till Angels Fall" was fully streamable back then and while I was listening to it the song "Footprints" became an instant favorite. Female vocals combined with beautiful piano parts normally already does the trick for me, but Hannah's distinctive vocals made it even better! Last month I discovered she joined forces with John Carden, and released an EP. Although the usual piano occasionally made place for guitar on this EP, the combination of Hannah and Johns vocals make it definitely worthwile.
Hannah Scott has been writing music and lyrics since her early teens but it was a year spent in Tuscany as part of her degree that inspired her to start writing and performing more seriously. Returning home, the strength and maturity of Hannah’s songwriting and her distinctive voice immediately caught the attention of BBC Radio Suffolk’s Stephen Foster who helped produce her debut album, “Till Angels Fall”, alongside well-known local musicians such as Mark Flanagan Released in 2007, the album has gained airplay on Radio 2 as well as becoming a regular choice on local BBC stations. A chance meeting through mutual friends brought Hannah and John Carden together in early 2008. Hannah had been performing regularly in London following the release of her album and John had just moved to the capital and was keen to get involved in its vibrant music scene. Combining their talents as singers, guitarists and pianists, they have been performing as a duo since October 2008. In March 2009 they released “Falling into spring”, a collection of new songs which is faithful to their live sound. Having attracted interest from EMI Publishing’s Head of A&R, Kenny McGoff, supported folk favourites Cara Dillon and Megson and headlined London venues such as The Hope & Anchor, the duo are rapidly increasing their fan base with their passionate live shows.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Forest & The Trees

Can't remember where and when The Forest & The Trees were introduced to me. All I know is that I recognized their photo on swedesplease, probably stumbled upon their myspace profile a while ago. The fact that the TFTT are from Sweden seems promising enough for these days, and also this time Sweden delivered a taltented orchestra-folk duo. Fans of Loney Dear and folk fans in general should definitely give this duo a try.
The Forest & The Trees are Joel Edin and Linnea Edin. They live in an apartment outside of Stockholm where they sleep, eat and create music. Joel and Linnea started making music together when they were recording a christmas CD-R for their friends. As an alternative to christmas carols, they started The Forest & The Trees a year later. Right now the duo is working on an album which hopefully will be released in the autumn of this year. They consider their music to be influenced by David Bowie, Sufjan Stevens, Martha & Rufus Wainwright, Bob Dylan, Stina Nordenstam, Midlake, Jonathan Safran Foer, Beatles, Västerbotten, Russia, Magnolia, Cocteau Twins, Michel Gondry.

@ Stockholm, Sweden
♫ Alternative, Folk, Pop
♥ Mother (mp3)
▸ Myspace

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Skyler Stonestreet

TV shows prove once again to be a great source for new music. One Tree Hill, for example delivered me some amazing singer-songwriters. Skyler Stonestreet is no exeption. When I heard "My Favorite Song" on OTH, I immediately fell in love with her beautiful vocals in her songs with cheerful guitar and piano parts. Skyler Stonestreet began playing classical piano at the age of seven, and within a few years found a sound and writing style that branched out from her classical roots, and became a sound all her own. Growing up in Santa Barbara, California with influences such as Carole King, James Taylor, Rickie Lee Jones and many more great artists, this young girl with and old soul found a knack for writing captivating and truthful music and began playing local shows which soon brought her to famous clubs such as, The Key Club, The Cat Club, BB King’s , Universal Bar and Grill, El Rey Theater, and many more clubs and coffee houses that allowed her audience to see that every song she wrote and played came from her inspiration and experience. Skyler considers herself a gypsy nowadays. Last fall she went on a tour adventure with Brian Benham. They played in over 18 states, 25 cities, basically lived out of their car, and collected random memories along the way. She's currently recording and getting ready to get back on the road! Skyler likes to write, travel. She does not like liars, wasabi or writing on a chalkboard. Her songs have been featured on several shows like previously mentioned One Tree Hill, The Ex List and Laguna Beach. She is currently recording some new songs, and hopefully we will see her releasing a debut album soon. Until then, you can buy her singles at iTunes.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Taxi Taxi!

In just two years, Taxi Taxi! has gone from bedroom demo project, to virtual indie-sensation – with the creative duo just turning 17! The Swedish pair haven't released a proper album to date, but this hasn’t stopped them from bagging slots at Europe's biggest festivals such as Roskilde and Hultsfred. On the basis of just two demos (made public via the Internet,) the identical twin sisters Miriam and Johanna Eriksson Berhan have already turned the heads of myspace travellers, enchanted live audiences in large scale, scoring prominent fan-bases in Sweden Norway and Denmark. All of this seems truly impressive considering they have achieved such success whilst juggling their music with school. Their hard work is set to pay off as May 7th sees the release of their self-titled debut EP on Efterklang's Rumraket label. The EP presents six tracks written over the last year and a half, telling stories of love and life through the eyes of the two girls. The listener gets an honest and intimate sound of indie-pop and folk projected through their unique voices and harmonies. Fingerpicked guitar and piano drive most of the tracks but the EP sees a refreshing accordion and glockenspiel mix thrown in. For this release Taxi Taxi! collaborated with producer Björn Yttling from Peter, Björn and John to really accentuate the best in the girls, boasting their impressive singing and song-writing abilities. Rumraket is extremely proud to be a part of this debut from a unique band that, without question, will be a generous contributor to the future music scene. Consider this the first taste. Taxi Taxi!'s new EP comes in a wonderful digipak printed on heavy-weight board made by the Copenhagen design duo Hvass&Hannibal.

@ Stockholm, Sweden
♫ Indie, Folk
♥ All I Think Of (mp3)
▸ Myspace