Franka De Mille

Franka de Mille could make me utterly depressed. How can a woman be so gorgeous, possess such a voice, such talent, such a stage persona and yet be so utterly down-to-earth and friendly. It being that and of course her songs lift me up. The only thing that does depress me then, is why is the woman not at a star in the making at once?

Franka De Mille is a London singer, songwriter and composer with THAT voice and very personal lyrics. She has a good knack on melodies which are bordering classical music, americana, folk and indie and yet are truly her own. Add to that orchestral arrangements and you have her debut album “Bridge The Roads”.

I hear the real thing is to see her live, performing like a modern day Edith Piaf or or or (but then again, comparisons to other female singers are often based on the one thing in common, being female, which is my pet hate, so I’ll say no more but let you listen).

Good good news! Franka is building a new studio, so we are all waiting with bated breath!

Meanwhile here are some tunes from her debut “Bridge The Roads”.

Review: J.P. Kallio “After The Storm”

In our fast-paced, multimedia, multitasking, ready-to-consume world, we hardly ever take the time to engage with anything profoundly and solely. From my own experience I know for instance that there are only few listeners to my radio programmes who just do that: Sit and listen.

It is the plight of the singer-songwriter therefore, especially when performing live that his music is taken as a kind of pleasant background noise. Who needs the stories anyhow, told in the folk tradition of rendering tales by music? We have all the news input we need and more. Information overload.

It is with this in mind that I really appreciate J.P. Kallio‘s work (see earlier blog post). Relentlessly he pursues his aim in life: Music. There are almost daily sessions in Dublin with J.P. Kallio who moved there from this native Finland almost two decades ago and immersed himself in traditional music. Other than that he churns out songs weekly and blogs diligently, supporting musicians. With four albums under his belt last year alone, you would think, the songs become fodder but that is not so. He instead used the constant songwriting to fine-tune his craft.

With his new album “After The Storm” he does make it as easy as possible to entice you to really listen: Superbly produced (headphone material!), with a strong baritone voice that can convey many moods and amazing fingerpicking guitar-playing and the odd sparse additional touch of an extra instrument or vocal, you are very welcome to listen to his lyrics. Nothing distracts, unless you get distracted by the outer world. I beg you: Don’t.

“Won’t help me” starts off the album, being a good choice as it features just the voice and the acoustic guitar – a song about not blaming the world around you, but doing the first step yourself.

“Stick around” is the declaration of love in the daily grind with lovely added electric guitar and vocals.

Title track “After The Storm” introduces poignant piano sounds.

The sadder “Anytime” picks up on the song before and befitting the happier lyrics it becomes quite a rhythmic song from the middle on.

Then we have “Never Ending Road” about the one friendship that outlasts the others in a typical American country mood.

More of that in “Mama Was Right”, only with some cool slide guitar and melancholic lyrics.

Followed by one of my favourites, the incredibly delicate “Deeper Than Before”, featuring excellent finger-picking style and added vocals.

Then comes “Do your best” in the typical J.P. Kallio style; the sombre banjo-accompanied “Losing Faith”; some nice-old fashioned blues with “Dog House” and  another upbeat country-style song called “Fool”.

“After The Storm” ends up with touching masterpiece “Troubled” that shows J.P. Kallio’s use of voice and guitar at his best.

J.P. Kallio’s lyrics are observant, honest and the music transports them excellently, never becoming overbearing, able to rely on its sheer being accomplished. The album “After The Storm” is in a clear handwriting, the melancholic folk tradition despite little side steps into other genres.

Now sit down, switch everything else off and listen! Find the new album “After The Storm” on Soundcloud.

www.jpkalliomusic.com

Manchester: Puppet Rebellion and The Rubys

I have got you my precious…the keyboard is mine…so, quick…let me say something about TWO bands. Both come from Manchester, one of the UK’s big musical cities. And Manchester, let us be quite concise does not only mean Oasis (no, I am not in a huff because Noel Gallagher called Brussels boring the other day, not at all at all) – it means Joy Division, The Smiths and (so important to moi): Durutti Column.

I have already introduced Orphan Boy from Manchester (well, residing in Manchester) to you. And there is so much more.

Short and snappy:

Puppet Rebellion

 

Despite clearly having very close links to Manchester (yes, to football as well and both clubs, may I add) and having a fantastic following there at their gigs, Puppet Rebellion‘s  two EPs “Chemical Friends” and “No Means Yes” as well as the new single “Watch Me Fall” and their live performances do hint (way too soft a word) at larger things to come. Here is indie rock at its best with lyrics that are above average as well. See below for MUSIC!

The Rubys

19e17a_e41caecac225498f9ffcb706590313aa.jpg_srb_p_960_640_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srb

“The Gemstones” of Manchester! The Rubys have been around for five years now and in that time released three EPs, one album, one concert movie and their new album is due for release May 2015. Not bad, ey? Unsigned but all over the radio and the concert venues. Watch out for them! Can’t claim I did not tell you. 

Puppet Rebellion’s new single:

And here is a goodie from The Rubys:

Captain Wilberforce

How to write a blog post about someone who does an excellent blog on new bands himself? Who does? Simon Bristoll does in the aptly named “Honey and Bile“! Kudos to the accomplished musician and blogger on many new bands himself by at least saying a few words and maybe bringing his music to a couple more ears.

I know him first and foremost as Captain Wilberforce, releasing songs with an assured nod to the songwriting craftmanship of the sixties. For me also XTC and Elvis Costello spring to mind. Catchy as hell stuff! Titles such as “The Johnny Depp Memorial Café” indicate a lyricism that is funny on the surface, sometimes sad underneath and to me quintessentially British.

Simon Bristoll started out in the mid-nineties in “Theory Of Everything” who released an album “The Failure of Arithmetic”, alas their first and last.

As Captain Wilberforce he released a well-received demo called “Dreams Of Educated Fleas”. In 2004 the debut album “Mindfilming” followed, in 2008 “‘Everybody Loves A Villain” and in 2011 “Ghost Written Confessions”. You must have heard one of Captain Wilberforce’s songs somewhere surely, since they were massively featured as soundtracks on various TV programmes and channels.

Bar the drums Simon Bristoll used to play all instruments himself. Currently though Captain Wilberforce are Simon Bristoll (vocals, guitar), Carl Banks (drums), Mike Browne (guitar), Chris Newiss (bass).

They are working on a new EP which hopefully will hit us in June 2015. Meanwhile we must do (and this is no punishment at all) with his last EP “Distance” and you will find a few tracks from it below.

Contact Captain Wilberforce at http://www.captainwilberforce.com which will lead you to all other relevant information.

And now have some from their last EP “Distance” (you can also check out Captain Wilberforce’s previous three albums on YouTube which musically, I find, take you from 60s England all the way to the sweet American music…loads of gorgeous songs to explore!)

“Someone To Love”

“The Johnny Depp Memorial Café”

This is my favourite “You Can’t Have Me”