Monthly Archives: August 2009

The Swell Season

“You were restless, I was somewhere less secure.”

Everybody who is anybody knows and appreciates the earnest brilliance and labour-of-love intensity of Frames frontman Glen Hansard. The brilliance is only amplified when you add long time musical collaborator, Once costar, and former Czech girlfriend Marketa Irglova. Together they are the Swell Season. Glen still totes his barely-there guitar, and Marketa adds her signature airy vocal and piano accompaniment. The new album, Strict Joy, hits shelves on October 27th. Until then, you’re advised to pick up the duo’s self titled debut and the ever incredible Once soundtrack.

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The Wooden Sky

“I keep on repeating all the last things you said.”

If my days were spent galavanting back and forth between the great Northern cities of Toronto and Montreal, I’m sure I’d have some great stories to tell. Canada’s The Wooden Sky, who release their first full length on August 25th, are some such storytellers. “The 13-track LP sweeps through countless rock and roll subgenres,” reads the band’s promo e-mail. Essentially, it has all the makings of a classic rock and roll record and comes complete with a heaping helping of alt-country and folk undertones. The band will be touring, starting in late September, through most of October in support of If I Don’t Come Home, You’ll Know I’m Gone.

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Jocasta Sleeps

“The last thing you want in the world is to leave without saying goodbye.”

Without having ever been, it seems that Glasgow and I have some sort of strangely cosmic metaphysical connection. There’s an acute difference between simply enjoying a song and wanting to fall off your chair every time you hear it – which is what a number of Glaswegian groups have done to me in the past few years. Jocasta Sleeps, whether they’ve adopted their name from Greek mythology or the world of Marvel comics I’m still unsure, is the latest young Scottish band to render me inarticulate. Their debut single, “Crayfish Cocktail”, is now at most digital retailers. I’ve opted to post the single’s b-side instead, as I find it a bit more evocative.

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Wolf Am I

“We’re all so perfect from afar…”

Alcopop! is nothing if not ultra consistent. I find myself enjoying each and every single artist they have thus far chosen to work with. Berkshire’s Wolf Am I, formerly Kill the Arcade, is certainly no exception. The band’s fiery new take on their tried and true alt-rock formula sets them, and their excellent new full-length Lead the Way, far above the rest of the muck and the mire originating from today’s teenage neo-punk scene.

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SH Davidson

“Good luck is not my friend, it never sends me anything.”

When Stephen isn’t busy writing, playing, touring, and simply being extraordinary with his band Tellison (written about long ago, but loved very much still to this day), he moonlights as a noticeably more temperate version of his musical self. SH Davidson‘s collection of lo-fi folk tracks, the longest of which tops out at just over two and a half minutes, are worlds apart from his band’s frenzied brand of fight-pop. He dabbles simultaneously in the best of both worlds. In all its simplicity, “Bookshelf” is one of my absolute favorite tracks and comes with the very highest of recommendations. It’s too hard not to be effusive.

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Survive Atlantica

“I’ve seen you float in and out for days.”

The young London four-piece, Survive Atlantica, seem to have mastered the art of slow crawling melodies and gradual build-ups to a decidedly more epic chorus. The understated atmospherics and the obvious attention to instrumentation suggests that the band is developed far beyond their apparent years. “Circuits & the Sea”, the first single from the group’s debut album entitled I Woke The Devil is available for preview below. The album just dropped early this week but is, unfortunately, a bit hard to track down for those who reside outside of the UK.

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Nathanael Mehrens

“Does anybody ever listen to the things they’re told?”

After falling in love with his short and certainly understated Here/There EP years back, I spent the many months that followed with the music of Nashville’s Nathanael Mehrens always somewhere in the back of my mind. I was thrilled, no doubt, when he contacted me a few backs about the upcoming release of his new 6 track EP – For the Conscious. The disc’s title track, which also happens to be my favorite, is included for preview below. You can find For the Conscious at a few major online retailers – take your pick.

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