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!

Waiting for spring to come

Is this blog hibernating? Not at all (too many cups of tea). The author of the blog is patiently waiting for spring in the northern hemisphere. In the world of music spring has already come – tours being announced, new releases galore and the festival line-ups as good as wrapped.

Let me pick out a few:

Last year’s Little Waves Festival in Genk/Belgium I attended and it was absolutely beautiful. This year’s (April 8th) now promises to be a stunner too. Mind you, it is already sold out, so why am I promoting it and teasing you at the same time? You could keep an eye open. There is a waiting list (keep updated here). It is so worth it. Located in a gorgeous restored mine building, it is indoors and always hosts a great a line-up. Wonderful food and drinks await you (hey, we are talking Belgium here) and the audience is of the really appreciative and good-humoured kind. I had a blast year and no doubt, this year will be special, too. The ticket prices are not to be sniffed at either for the whole event.

Waiting for spring to come

Same day, different location: Helsingborg, Sweden hosts for the 4th year in a row  together with Amnezia Music Management the World of Music Festival. There will be 5 national and international acts performing live during Saturday 8 April 2017. BAM records presents BlackRockStar as a Headliner from The Netherlands. It will be a mix of Punk, Rock, Blues, Soul and Stoner Rock at a brand new location at REBUS in Helsingborg.

Then of course I will divulge what is on the record player right in the Offbeat realms. Too many to mention but I absolutely must recommend the following (apart from the release of New Apostles album now, again a mesmerising new Brian Jonestown Massacre record and Jane Weaver‘s new album Modern Kosmology  on the horizon).

Hand Habits – Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void) / Woodsist

Meg Duffy is a multi-instrumentalist from Upstate New York. Many might have first encountered her and were impressed by her performance with the Kevin Morby Band last year (like myself). Her new album “Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void) under the moniker Hand Habits invites you into her world and does not let you go – in a good way. I can vouch for everyone who has listened to her album to become totally addicted. Her label Woodsist aptly describes the album as lulling you in like a bath.

Hand Habits album was recorded in Meg’s home and you are witness to all the background noises of everyday life. She tells stories of her restless life in different jobs and on tour, however, with an outstanding talent for captive songwriting, in a beautiful tender voice and garnished with just the right amount of instrumentation in all the right places. Welcome to the world of Hand Habits, you won’t regret it.

Now for something totally different – the release of Black Needle Noise. Black Needle Noise is the new project by John Fryer. The mention of his work up to now will make you bowl over with awe. After all he produced Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, The Wolfgang Press, Cocteau Twins, Yaz (Yazoo), Clan of Xymox, Nitzer Ebb, Love and Rockets, Xmal Deutschland, Fields of the Nephilim, De/Vision, Stabbing Westward, Swans, HIM, Cradle of Filth, Jesus Jones, Swallow, and M|A|R|R|S, Dead Leaf Echo and The Foreign Resort. John Fryer created soundtracks and last but not least he is one of two constant members along Ivo Watts-Russell in This Mortal Coil (4AD). Have you fainted yet?

Now, John Fryer’s new project Black Needle Noise releases the new album single by single (the latest being “And nothing remains” with Ana Breton). Recent single releases included the following vocalists: Jarboe from Swans, Jennie Vee (also bassist in Hole), Omniflux of Puscifer, Kendra Frost of Kite Base, Andrea Kerr of Colt, Elena Alice Fossi of Kirlian Camera and Zealand. Other recent singles feature Jarboe from Swans, Canadian-born songwriter/ guitarist Jennie Vee (she also plays bass in Courtney Love’s band Hole), as well as Omniflux of Puscifer., Kendra Frost of Kite Base, Andrea Kerr of Colt, Elena Alice Fossi of Kirlian Camera, and Zialand as well as Mimi Page of Delirium and many more. Keep your eyes open for this extraordinary œuvre which you can find on blackneedlenoise.bandcamp.com.

Last but not least I am getting immense listening pleasure out of The Immediate‘s new EP Mold! Adam Walton, Richard Harrison and Duncan Farmer hail from Mold in Wales where they grew up, went to school and now Mold has become the subject of their album. The four songs on the EP cover a wide range of everything that is good about alternative music without (don’t get me wrong now) being too vague, too superficial. The band show off an extensive love of music and making music on their EP. I particularly love (and cried tears of mirth and sorrow simultaneously) “Manbuoy”, a spoken word piece and think it should become mandatory for English lessons at schools abroad for it’s sheer wit and sadness and the detailed depiction of life in modern Britain.

The Trouble With Templeton, Richard Osborn & New Apostles

On Offbeat’s turntable in January you’ll find a bit of everything. What the songs have in common is that they provide heart and soul with much needed warmth. Offbeat Music Blog introduces new releases to you: The Trouble With Templeton, Richard Osborn & New Apostles.

The Trouble With Templeton – Someday, Buddy (Bella Union)

The trouble with The Trouble With Templeton‘s release “Someday, Buddy” (Bella Union) was that it was released pre-Christmas during the usual end of year lull. So it went by unnoticed by some which is why I would really, really like to bring the album to your attention again.

Thomas Calder from Brisbane loves a melancholic song and still does on “Someday, Buddy”. Some people see no development from his band The Trouble With Templeton’s debut “Rookie”, especially in the sadness stakes. I do see a development in the songwriting capacity to a self-confident joining of different genres. Moreover, melancholic as the songs on “Someday, Buddy” may seem, they exude exceptional warmth.

Somewhere between post-rock, gloomy indie pop and slacker, The Trouble With Templeton manage to instill a glow in their songs that will have you listening to the album again and again, preferably in the late hours of the day.

Another trouble with The Trouble With Templeton would be their web presence…their website link is clearly leading somewhere else. Their Facebook is bit outdated. Same goes for the music sites. Hey, so you will have just to get that album and you won’t regret it.  Here is a wee taster for you. My personal favourite is the elegiac “Double Life” but here is “Vernon” that nicely represents a lot of angles on their music.

Richard Osborn – Endless (Tompkins Square Records)

For all you fans of the fingerpicking guitar style (American primitive music in particular) and songs evoking whole movies, listen up: Richard Osborn! Not a name you are familiar with? Despite Richard Osborn having been around playing guitar since the 1960s?

Small wonder, if you look at his story. Richard Osborn was impressed by John Fahey’s style in 1965 and in 1968, Richard became a student of Robbie Basho, not surprising considering his interest in Indian music. Robbie Basho regards Richard as “technically better than me or Fahey”.

BUT THEN Richard Osborn suffered two accidents in 1980 which left him unable to play guitar for fifteen years. Only in 1995 he returned to playing guitar but did not have the strength for steel strings. Finally though, steel strings and the raga style were possible again for Rich, so at last he released an improvisational album in 2012, followed by his participation in a compilation “Beyond Berkely Guitar” (Tompkins Square), another self release and now, as a fantastic start into the new year: “Endless” (Tompkins Square)

 

“Endless” will impress you with all but one instrumental folk songs presented in an immaculate classical style for the most part. The masterpieces for me are however those where Rich Osborn introduces the raga style into his songs which adds a floating, dreamlike quality apart from incredible technical ability.

New Apostles – Recurring Dream

New Apostles first appeared in 1980 and you can still hear the heritage of the time in their music, albeit brought forward musically, lyrically and personally to the now. After 18 years the band broke up and supposedly no-one believed in their comeback after a couple of years. Another 18 years and they are back, full whack, though and have been releasing an abundance of songs that they write and record in the true punk spirit: Quick.

Based on the band’s age, their experience as musicians and many musical influences and also other cultural inputs, these songs are far from thin and superficial: Out come fully formed songs. It feels like they opened the tap and the water just barges out, having been stored up for so long. To high critical acclaim New Apostles have so far in their second coming released three albums: West Bank, Apparatchiks and Collateral Damage.

New Apostles’ music, if you want tags, would be somewhere between post-punk, psych and krautrock, also some electro finds its way into the mix. It is not all doom and gloom, the mixture comes across as a musically satisfying, lyrically thought-provoking but balanced result.

Friday, 27th of January 2017 will see the release of a brand-new album called “Recurring Dream”. A taster you can enjoy below. “Recurring Dream” will be available as CD and digital download.

From what I have heard and can vividly imagine, New Apostles are well worth seeing live, so don’t miss New Apostles from Nottingham/UK.