The new music doesn’t stop when Mark goes on holiday so here I am again with another mix of songs large and small but all worthy of investigation. We have an established female folk singer, a potential soon-to-be-superstar, some Australian grunge and some blissfully bleak electronica…
The hotly tipped singer-songwriter lived up to expectation when single “Hold Back The River” went Top 10 in several countries in late 2014. Fresh from touring with Hozier he now releases debut album Chaos and the Calm. The main focus is vocal and guitar but there’s a contemporary polish through being recorded in Nashville’s Blackbird studio. This will be a big seller in the UK and he will hope to emulate the success of Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith stateside. Warning: The below song has potential to stick with you for a while. http//www.jamesbaymusic.com
Here’s a grunge track which manages to sound lazy, vital and cool all at the same time. “Pedestrian At Best” is from new album Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit and has a slight 90s feel to it with lyrics almost spoken in a subterranean homesick Australian way. The other pre-release song from the album, “Depreston” has a softer, more effortless ease about it, almost being radio-friendly with a hint of Camera Obscura about it and the difference between the two songs should pique your interest enough to explore further. http://courtneybarnett.com.au/
Having dropped the ‘quartet’ from their name following the departure of Nick Mulvey (whose solo album last year was one of my picks of 2014) the London trio return with some guest vocalists to enhance their sound for album Living Fields. “Bright Luck” is a sensational song and you should stop what you are doing to appreciate it. Minimal, stuttering electronica flitters in and out which allows the vocal of Jono McCleery to soar and shine. It’s like the finer elements of acts like SBTRKT and Moderat combined into one. Hearing that Jamie Woon is also guesting on the album bodes well. http://www.porticomusic.co.uk/
UK folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling seems to have been around for ages and it is hard to believe she is only 25. A heap of awards and now on her fifth studio album, she always had a cool maturity and this album strengthens an already impressive back catalogue. I hear Joni Mitchell with the swagger of Lou Reed about the vocal at times which duels for attention with lush Nick Drake-like acoustic orchestration. It’s a successful formula but the recently released ‘live in session’ video of song “I Feel Your Love” featured here has a different electric blues edge to the album version which could tease fans as to what to expect at live shows. http://www.lauramarling.com/
So thanks for reading and listening. It’ll be business as usual next week as Mark returns for another My Four.