The Novel Ideas - Montana
The folks in The Novel Ideas have never shied away from raw, unadulterated emotion as a songwriting foundation. This primary facet of their sound is part of what makes this band special. Each song is an exploration of internal conditions and external circumstances that are often discordant and brutally sincere.
Employing heartfelt honesty and unadorned articulation, this band has grown. The songs still speak of the hazards and tribulations of love with a level of pragmatism that is truly unique. This, coupled with elegant instrumentation, creates something incredibly immersive to connect with. Percussion and slide guitar combine to mirror emotive tenor while aerial harmonies round out an aesthetic that has increasingly become their own.
Time on the road has left an imprint on their music. In Montana, a distinct shade of country has seeped into their established folk sensibilities. This is more of an evolution of sound than a departure. Frontman Daniel Radin launches into the song by declaring, “I don’t know where to begin”; he’s tackling something remarkably nuanced and personal. Complications proliferate the love he’s singing about. Distance, silence, and a third party amalgamate to steer the situation away from black and white. As usual, The Novel Ideas have crafted something moving and relatable.
Montana can found on The Novel Ideas’ upcoming 7”, Lost On The Road. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out their freshly-minted website, their Facebook page, and their simply phenomenal debut album, Home, on Spotify and Soundcloud.
Luke Kelly - The Auld Triangle
This weekend my sweetheart moved back to England from Spain and instead of bringing home boots of Spanish leather, he came back with this song (for in Seville there is a small gaelic/celtic folk scene that somehow survives in a sea of flamenco). I believe this was written in the ’50s, made famous by The Dubliners (pictured), and recently featured in the film Inside Llewyn Davis. I can’t stop singing it… enjoy your weekly dose of Monday folk!
The Killers - Shot At The Night
So The Killers, a Soundboard fave, released a new track last Fall for their greatest hits album and it’s pretty great and has a retro 80s sound… and you know I love me some 80s.
The music video, which stars The Social Network’s “not-actually-Indian" guy, comrade of "not-actually-twins" guy, is just as interesting as you’d come to expect from Brandon Flowers and co. It also serves as a great companion to the video for the album’s 2nd single, Just Another Girl, which stars Glee’s “not-actually-evil-well-maybe-kind-of-evil-but-she-has-her-reasons-I-guess?" girl.
Anyway, you know the drill. Press play. Have a good time. See you next week.
Basia Bulat - It Can’t Be You
The beginning of April has been pretty concert heavy which is perfect for when I have to post on Saturdays. On Thursday, I went to see The Head and the Heart. Their opener was Basia Bulat, a Canadian folk singer-songwriter from Toronto, Ontario. Now my friends have all told me about her beforehand and someone even sent me the albums so that I could give them a listen. I liked it but I didn’t realize how amazing she was until I saw her live.
A relatively short blond woman got onto the stage and was accompanied by a bassist and a drummer. No big deal. She tuned a charango, which is a ukulele-sized 10 string instrument before beginning her first song. And that was that. I was in complete awe. An amazing voice was accompanied by her amazing talent on the charango, guitar, keyboard, and even an autoharp . Hell, I was so impressed by the autoharp, I almost posted Gold Rush simply because it featured it so much. Instead, I picked It Can’t Be You based on her amazing work on the little instrument. I actually read an article in where she actually learned how to play the instrument JUST for her newest album. At one point, she stood away from the mics and performed acoustically for all of us in the packed concert hall. Simply fantastic.
Bulat’s newest album, Tall Tall Shadow, was released in 2013 and she just finished up her Canadian tour.
I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday!
Future Islands - Seasons (Waiting On You)
You know that voice in your head? It’s the one that doesn’t actually sound like what comes out of your mouth; you’re probably using it right now to read this. Well, I’m still waiting on confirmation but I’m fairly certain that David Bowie has invented a device that is able to record said voice. Yes, I believe that Future Islands is the first evidence of the inner voice of David Bowie. Bowie will be trying to pick an outfit and Samuel T. Herring is just crooning away inside his skull, “No, the one with the sequins, it makes you shimmer like the moon”. Now before you start speculating that I’m hearing more than one voice in my head you should probably hit play and hear it for yourself.
Future Islands is another band that I can add to my Baltimore pride list as they are now official residents. With constant themes of love, vulnerability and celestial attractions, the snyth-pop band’s latest release and fourth LP, Singles, is not only stronger but more sonorous than previous iterations. This album will be the one that thrusts them into a well deserved spotlight.
NoFX — The Decline
It occurred to me today that it would be a nice idea to check out my old playlists, you know to remember the good ol’ days.
It never ceases to amaze me how smell, sounds and music can transport you right back at some point of your life.
This song did this to me today, it transported me back at a random day of my adolescence; my brain remembered the smell, the colors, the feelings and mood of my past self, and I felt younger too. I looked back at the window, the sun was shining outside. Even though I was working, it didn’t feel like it.
Today I’ve been 16 again.
I been meaning to post this one since the very beginning, as this is without a doubt one of my favorite songs by NoFX. The Decline is pure ear bliss; it was in the past, and it still is in the present. It will never get old to me.
So do yourself a favor and press play. Hope enjoy!
The War On Drugs - An Ocean In Between The Waves
It’s odd to think of The War On Drugs as musical veterans, especially as they just released their third album in around six short years. However, their rock ‘n’ roll purist sensibilities and profound emotional resonance give the band a certain gravitas that is impossible to ignore. As soon as Red Eyes dropped last month, something was simply different. When listening to their newest release, Lost In The Dream, their commitment to growth is apparent. Only three of the album’s ten tracks clock in under five minutes (and one of those earns that distinction by a single second), as opposed to nine on Slave Ambient.
The songs on Lost In The Dream are meticulously crafted and labyrinthine; the way that each song builds is a thing of beauty. Each track’s subtleties grow and become more urgent until they, along with drums and the occasional impassioned “Woo!” by Adam Granduciel, signal an incredible emotive shift. The average track length works in their favor. With extra room to breathe and explore, Lost In The Dream is an exercise in superb sonic complexity.
While the implications of a faded relationship are an extremely common theme, Granduciel fuses the unstable feelings into the songs’ changing tones. Here, he delivers his last lyric that is front and center of the mix just before the song simply blows apart for another three minutes: "You’re like an ocean in between the waves". From that point on, the song is a foot slowly pushing down on the accelerator in a car chasing the sunset.
Lost In The Dream is a can’t miss.
Flux - Boiling Point*
I discovered Flux a couple of Saturdays ago when I sleepily walked myself under the blossoming Islington trees to the Union Chapel, where, every Saturday, they hold an inspiring showcase called Daylight Music. My first day off in a fortnight, I was exhausted and lost in my own pensive world. This band headlined the lunchtime show and transported me more completely than a band has in many months. A violin, piano, cajon, Indian flute and Indian/Spanish guitarist created a gust of sound that soared around the chapel, with brushes of Galician and Celtic folk, amongst hearty lashings of Indian melodies. I was in folk nirvana.
I immediately gave away £7 for their album, Mirror, which maybe was a bit hasty; I’m not hugely impressed by it now I have them to listen to whenever I want. They’ve severely over-done it with dramatic electric guitar licks and an obvious desperation of studio prowess-recognition. However, track 4 is this beautiful stroll with some meditative drones that set my heart alight, truly. I’m a sucker for Indian virtuosos.
Moral of the story? Try, then check out online before you buy… And live music is always the best way to serve music.
*Boiling Point isn’t actually the name of this song; I’ve just noticed that it’s been listed with the wrong title on Flux’s Soundcloud…