Into the new year

Wishing you all happy holidays here from the Offbeat hub, hope you are having a great time! Not happy with your presents? Needing some light in those dark winter days? Some incentive for the new year to come? I might just have the cure for you! At the very end of the old and well-worn year, some fine new releases for you that you might have overlooked in all the hullabaloo. So there we go, some quick recommendations this evening…into the new year.

Austin & Elliott

Into the new year

Lisa Austin and Chris Elliott came across this wee blog via the wonderful Molly Pinto Madigan who they supported many times. Lisa and Chris are based in Western Massachusetts, and provide you with all the acoustic dark and original  folk you might ever ask for. Not only fine on the ear with brilliant harmonies, Austin & Elliott deliver food for thought in their poetic, sometimes satirical lyrics as well.

“Cradle And Crow” is their third album and sports their creators’ manyfold musical influences and creative talent in one well of listening pleasure.

 

1921

Into the new year
1921

The wondrous music of 1921 is made by David Åhlen and Andreas Eklöf from Gothenburg, Sweden, to be found on the label Compuntio. Here we have an exceptional voice singing captivating melodies over an electronic-organic soundscape – it might fit into the genre chamber music if you so wish. As 1921, David and Andreas have just released “In My Veins” of which you can hear and see an appetiser below.

Rosemary & Garlic

Into the new year
Photo by Melissa Scharroo, Capribee

January 12th will see the release of the long-awaited self-titled debut album by Rosemary & Garlic on Nettwerk, following their EP “The Kingfisher”. Rosemary & Garlic are Anne van den Hoogen and Dolf Smolenaers from the Netherlands whose music is rooted in the folk and singer-songwriting tradition. However, the music transcends the genre and includes electronica, electric guitars and vintage embellishments. Above all hovers Anne‘s voice singing about emotions in methaphors from the natural world as practised in romanticism. If you need any more encouragement to lend Rosemary & Garlic an ear – Laura Marling included them in their favourites!

 

Brigid Mae Power

Into the new year
Tompkins Square

Keep your eyes open for Brigid Mae Power’s new album “The Two Worlds” to be released on February 9th, 2018 on Tompkins Square. The first single off it can already be savoured now: “Don’t shut me up politely”. Brigid says about her new album that it contains songs about her grandmother, songs about lost friendships, songs about balancing being settled and also being up in the clouds, songs about cutting out the crap and letting go of things that don’t serve you.

She recalls not being able to write about the past in a free environment and could only do so once she was back in Ireland, an environment she often experiences as repressive. Brigid Mae Power recorded the album in an analogue studio for a direct, live sound. “The Two Worlds” was produced by Peter Broderick, a collaboration that has already brought us Brigid’s riveting debut album.

New Apostles

Into the new year
New Apostles new album

After a 17 year hiatus, Nottingham’s New Apostles have started releasing their delicious mix of post-punk, krautrock and electronica again in 2015. Since then we have been enjoying the albums “West Bank”, “Apparatchiks” plus several EPs and “Recurring Dream” via Sunshine Beheaded. Their creativity flows unabated: Early December saw the release of New Apostles latest: “Antiquarian Medical Texts” with cover art to embellish the beautiful title perfectly. The sheer quantity and variety and musical and lyrical depth of songs on the album, makes for a lasting journey of discovery which I am still on. Join me!

Christopher Pellnat

Into the new year
Christopher Pellnat

Christopher Pellnat is a singer-songwriter from Hudson, New York. He also works as guitarist for The Warp/The Weft. Christopher’s solo album “Honey Venom Wings” is a tender, surprising, quirky journey into life at its fullest, covering the big questions of life, love and sometimes just a good old silly laugh. Adding to some of the songs of the album are Pete Toigo on upright bass and Molly Dechenne on violin. Enjoy!

Indian Summer New Releases

I hope you had a lovely summer so far. Where I am, it was not much of a summer really and we are all waiting for an Indian summer. The nights are already getting quite cool. This is the time to settle down with some nice music (isn’t it always). Time for Indian Summer New Releases.

The brilliant thing about this lack of summer was that the usual slack in new releases was also missing. I am trying to work my way through this huge backlog on this blog that is at the very tailend of part-time occupations I do. But here goes: Give it a listen, enjoy and support the artists of your choice as much as they are there to share their work with you.

The Moles – Tonight’s Music (Fire Records)

Indian Summer New Releases

This friendly and distinguished looking gentleman with a fine selection of books and a great record player AND lamp behind him (yes, I do notice these things) and a ska album on his lap, is indeed a musician himself and an accomplished and quirky one at that.

It is Australian Richard Davies who is part of Cardinal and releases records as The Moles. Quote Richard on The Moles:

“The Moles is a fitting incognito pseudonym synonym nom de guerre pen name make believe disguise cloak for most of the musical ideas I get. The album has accumulated over many years. I recorded in Boston, New York, and Western Massachusetts when ideas and opportunities came along. It is almost like a journal covering 15 years.”

The band’s first album “Tonight’s Music” in 20 years contains 24 (!) fine tracks and I could not describe it better or more enticing than UK magazine Uncut: “As if Syd Barrett had lit out for New Zealand in the 1980s and joined The Chills.”

Psych rock with indie pop gems and personal lyrics and great tunesmithing does not even come close…that will be music for many nights to come…and days…

The Wedding Present – Going, Going… (Scopitones)

Indian Summer New Releases

You will have to wait until September for The Wedding Present’s new album but a) you can pre-order now b) it is not long to go and c) it is so much more than an album.

Judging by the single “Bear” this is The Wedding Present at its best, the bittersweet and joyful, the raw and the melodies and yet, make no mistake, the years in music show…and show many young pups where to go…Expect journeys into new musical territory though as well (and so we should) and done expertly and magically.

And what a fine result it is going to be with musician, sound technician and instrument builder David Hiraga at the mixing desk amongst other fine contributors.

Have a look at The Wedding Present’s site on “Going, Going…” here.

Hologram Teen – Marsangst / Hex These Rules (EP) (Happy Robots Records)

Indian Summer New Releases

Now for some electronic vibes…you may well remember Stereolab. Their keyboard player was Morgane Lhote and she is back as Hologram Teen with a new EP called Marsangst / Hex These Rules.

Hologram Teen might go for electronica and pop but this is no shallow charts fodder – Morgan Lhote herself feels it is like Fabio Frizzi meeting Grandmaster Flash. It could well be an electronic horror movie soundtrack. Let’s just say,  Jarvis Cocker is a fan. There, is that good enough for you?

Her influences are varied and eclectic as you might well guess. How many of these artists do you know?

Yellow Magic Orchestra, Chagrin d’Amour, NehruvianDoom, Maria Bethânia, The Salsoul Orchestra, Acid Washed, Jean Claude Vannier, Chicago, Del The Funky Homosapien, Silver Apples, Steely Dan, Don Armando’s Second Avenue Rhumba Band, Nancy Leticia, Riz Ortolani, and Siouxsie & The Banshees.

The four-track digital EP is available from August 5, 2016 on all major digital stores and streaming services. The 7” single is limited to 300 copies and is distributed worldwide by Cargo Records. It is also available from www.happyrobots.co.uk.

TRACKLIST
1. Marsangst
2. Hex These Rules
3. Scratches en Série
4. Franmaster Glash

 

Brigid Mae Power – Brigid Mae Power (Tompkins Square Records)

Indian Summer New Releases

Heather Woods Broderick mentioned Brigid Mae Power from Galway, Ireland and I have been hooked to Brigid’s music ever since (see here). Accompanied by otherworldly sparse music, she lets THAT voice float, often in surroundings that add to the atmosphere, like churches.

Brigid Mae Power has now released her debut album after several EPs and gets well-deserved praise for it. Musician Peter Broderick worked with Brigid in his studio in Portland, Oregon and supported technically, musically and as Brigid put it above all: Finding her voice, making her comfortable and really helping her to achieve the most.

The self-titled debut is an absolute gem. Its lyrics and music so fragile, so vulnerable and yet so empowering…

Peter Broderick again has just released his album “Partners” where he also does one of Brigid’s songs of her album: Somewhere. Again, absolutely recommendable. This partnership is so much more than just adding up two musicians.

 

Neal Hoffmann – Untrained Hearts (Amphibic Records Ltd)

Indian Summer New Releases

I have come to expect quite a lot from Neal Hoffmann, former Amphibic member from London and now solo artist. (Also see here).  But I suppose I can as the man is a perfectionist and yet his songs never lose any of their warmth. This album Untrained Hearts contains an array of beautifully written and composed songs, presented by Neal in his unmistakeable, assured voice and almost all instruments played himself. Blimey, the rich sound of the album virtually cascades headphone moments on you and then there is the very nice artwork of the album too. And a lyrics booklet. If you are looking for new songwriters, go for Neal Hoffmann’s Untrained Hearts – this is a stunning effort and he is deservedly a little proud of the result. I am sure, to see Neal performing live must be the ticket and makes the songs intensify but this album is as close as you could possibly get. Put your headphones on.

Brigid Power-Ryce

Sorry to have been so quiet lately…been on hols which were fabulous but induced a lot of knee pain which is finally being looked into this week. But enough of that – music was there as usual to lend an ear, to console and to uplift. Of course I will share the music with you.

You know this idea that some people breach to you, that you should actually buy books online. Apart from wanting to support my local book shop however, an online book thingie does not really lend itself to browsing. I know, they try and give you recommendations but honestly, did this ever work for you?

If, on the other hand, an artist recommends other artists and I happen to like that artist’s work a lot, that recommendation is worth gold. (Thank you eternally, Jazzbutcher, for recommending Flann O’Brien and P.G. Wodehouse in my youth to me).

So, not only has Heather Woods Broderick a fine album out herself (“Glider” – ah, go on, you know you want it!), she also made her love of Brigid Power-Ryce‘s work public (Brigid Power-Ryce worked together with Heather’s brother Peter Broderick amongst many others – if you search online you can also find a great little blog of Brigid’s on that tour). And here goes:

Brigid Power-Ryce paints and draws (note her funny and cute cartoon like drawings of animals and her dreamy, intricate paintings that also come with her albums). Brigid Power-Ryce sings and plays guitar and piano. With a name like that, yes, she hails from Ireland (Galway, to be precise) but feels at home all over the world.

If you generally take the amazing musical heritage of Galway on the Irish West Coast which always has the feel of the wide and wild  and eternal Atlantic to it and add a beautiful voice that is not ashamed to just be that voice and to let that voice sing high and confidently and optimistically but lyrically probing and questioning and searching herself and others and relationships. Actually she puts her whole self into her voice, unblinking, letting it rip and it totally captivates. Don’t get me wrong, this is not traditional music, neither is it pure singing-songwriting, Brigid’s music has matured to something truly her own over various releases which you can find on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. Her latest offering is the album “I Told You The Truth” recorded in a church for total immersion in her music.

Come in:

Here is another one for your delectation (and mine: Brigid, thank you so much!)