Weyes Blood - Cardamom

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Here's a post I've been meaning to do for ages, beyond ages in fact. I went and saw Weyes Blood perform at The Lock Tavern back in June and was transfixed by a bewitching show that saw her, Natalie Mering, play solo and beguile with stark, haunting, mainly acoustic songs (others that echoed whilst played through her MacBook) that tinged in beautiful melancholy and vulnerability.

That’s summed up pretty nicely within Weyes Blood’s new track “Cardamom”, the first taken from a forthcoming four track EP Cardamom Times (due via Mexican Summer on October 9th). It delivers heartache within an enveloping atmosphere that’s both devastatingly sad and majestically pretty, wrapping you up with warmth and comfort and releasing all kinds of different emotions.

At that show, Natalie promised she’d be back in the UK before long. It cannot come soon enough (perhaps with a full band so we can witness that too?!).

Lanterns on the Lake #11 - Faultlines

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It was over half a decade ago now that I first heard Lanterns on the Lake and the band have stayed with me since, I often play back both of their records to date, so I am of course delighted to hear “Faultlines”, the first track taken from their forthcoming third LP Beings, released 13th November on Bella Union.

Immediately bursting into life with typically sweeping, cinematic soundscapes, the tracks sees twinkling piano keys combine with dense, gripping atmosphere and bristling guitars. Ever-bold and innovative, on “Faultlines” Lanterns manage to sound rawer and more aggressive yet still conjure up some of the most beautiful, emotional noise possible. I guess that’s why they are one of my most favourite of all bands.

A tour has similarly been announced to coincide with the album’s release, the date for my diary is December 1st at London’s Moth Club (I don’t think the place is even open yet, so fingers crossed!)… (full dates).

Aurora #5 - Murder Song (5,4,3,2,1)

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I'm back from a week long holiday. This site is a hobby blog run by one person and I have a family, sometimes I have to devote my entire time to them! Of course, I return to find countless emails and tracks to talk about. The first has to be from my discovery of 2015 (and just about everyone else who has fallen for the Norwegian's bewitching talent) Aurora.

"Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)" is a song I'm familiar with already (as would you be if you've trawled YouTube for Aurora videos or seen her live, I have twice this year. This track was the one that flawed me on the second of those two occasions at London's Ace Hotel (with its less than ace stage). A beautifully restrained, haunting track that floors you each and every time you hear it. I wrote the following paragraph back in May on a blog about her "Nature Boy" cover but I think it rings truer still now with the release of a simply shot black and white video which sees Aurora starring straight to the screen covered by butterflies (are they real?!)...  

"The video highlights what is so brilliant about her, not only does she have the most wonderful of voices, a haunting, natural tone that soars with effortless grace and beauty but she has the most compelling presence, you simply cannot take your eyes off her. Her arms never stay still, acting out every word and those piercing big-eyes, staring straight at you, you can tangibly feel the emotion pouring out".   

Aurora is back in the UK in a couple of weeks playing Hoxton Bar & Kitchen on September 18th, I was stupid enough to book a holiday away that weekend so I'm going to have to wait for 

Anna Von Hausswolff - Come Wander With Me/Deliverance

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Anna Von Hausswolff released two albums in my top ten releases of 2013, the record she actually put out in the same year Ceremony and her debut, which I arrived to on the back of that LP and a blow-away set at End of the Road festival, Singing From The Grave. Her follow up The Miraculous was announced yesterday for a November 13th release and comes with a share of the best track I’ve heard so far this year; “Come Wander With Me/Deliverance” actually two songs, a cover with an original entwined within it.

The track feels like a combination and extension of those two records, it is big and ambitious (of course it is), bombastic and dramatic and evokes earth-shattering emotion throughout, it’s both heavy and light, dark and celestial. There’s moments of long, dense instrumentals, there’s shadowy organ chords which send shivers down your spine, there’s duelling guitars which offer a captivating, uncompromising vision of darkness and then there's Anna’s haunting vocal, reaching far beyond this realm and it leaves me completely breathless.

What sprung to my mind after my first listen? The words of one Mr B Potter Esq. "Sweet baby Jesus and the orphans!"

What comes close to this? Perhaps “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”? Either way, “Come Wander With Me/Deliverance" is truly outstanding. 

Pre-order is open now via City Slang or Anna’s own label for Sweden (there’s also the promise of a signed copy and an exclusive ‘extra’ there, enough to tempt me to pay a little extra)… Now I'm off for some nightmares.

Jemima Surrender - Sylvia

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I came across Jemima Surrender a few weeks backed because Luckless played a few shows with them, a Bristol trio whom have a few tracks on their Soundcloud, the most recent (and probably the best, certainly the most adventurous) is "Sylvia', a quirky track which reminds me of the dramatic side of Anna Calvi combined with guitars plucked out of a spaghetti western which then suddenly disappear and in their place it's glockenspiel, yeah pretty impossible to pigeonhole then.

The track is dominated by Millie's compelling vocal acrobatics, one moment melodious, the next sensual, the next raw emotion, as with the unpredictable, oscillating instrumentation, "Sylvia" fits somewhere between the brilliant and the inspired.

Seapony #8 - Couldn't Be

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I’ve been meaning to revisit Seapony since the release of their third LP A Vision late last month and a video for the track “Couldn’t Be” provides me with the perfect reason. Continuing with the Seattle indie-popper’s patented sounds you are soon swimming in a sea of light, airy guitar chimes and Jen Weidl’s warm, sweetening vocals, the track is the equivalent of a warming blanket after the summer sun starts to fade, full of such beautiful melancholy and nostalgia that you’ll be reaching out to whomever is nearby for a cuddle before the song plays out.

The video sees Jen visit a physic played by Colleen Green (it's not the first time Coleen Green has starred in a Seapony related release having starred in the clip to "Line Up on the Solstice" from Danny’s Space Daze side-project). The result is as equally smile-inducing.

A Vision is out now, I was hoping to find a UK distro but haven’t so all orders through the bands own Bandcamp.

Ember Isles #2 - Waterbound

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I'd be lying if I said I knew the original version of this cover by Ember Isles but the Brooklyn trio instantly introduce me to a wonderful track, "Waterbound" (originally by Dirk Powell) sounds like the sort of song you'd hear in the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack, that means of course there's traditional Americana soundscapes with banjo and harmonisation to the heavens.

That's lucky for Ember Isles because they make harmonies that are the most exquisite and they remain faithful here with banjo the lead instrumentation amongst rich vocalisation, guitar and carefully placed percussion. It's beautiful, warming and heart-felt. i doubt there's a better way to spend your next three minutes than this...

Unnveig Aas #2 - Lead Me

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Musician spend countless hours and expense trying to perfect their recorded output, often take after take and mix after mix is scrutinised before an artist gets to a stage where they feel comfortable sharing their music but for me there is nothing better than seeing an artist take up arms with their bare essentials, with my tastes, that usually means something like this…. Unnveig Aas with her acoustic guitar backstage somewhere in Oslo performing a track called “Lead Me”.

It’s raw, it’s intimate and it’s ever, ever so beautiful. Close your eyes and let it transport you wherever you want to go.