If you know me (I’ll assume you don’t), you’ll know that I’m not much for belt-y, powerhouse vocals; I’m more keen on whisper-sweet serenades that require you to almost lean in (even if you’ve got headphones on).
Priscilla Ahn more than checked off that box for me when I first came across her sparse ‘girl with a guitar and a loop and sometimes a harmonica’ easy listening tunes. I caught her at the Drake back in 2009, and sitting cross-legged on the floor with everyone else in tiny venue, there was a collective hush over the crowd and everyone was actually leaning in.
Now she’s back with Sweet Hearts, a duo project with fellow musician Charlie Wadhams, and they’ve just released their mellow, mushy, and blush-worthy self-titled EP for free download just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Or if you’re a single lady (“all the single ladies, all the single ladies, all the single ladies, now put your hands up!”), why not celebrate Galentine’s Day à la Leslie Knope?
Guys, you can follow suit. And then on the 14th, cozy up with a glass of wine, some cheese, a mirror, and celebrate a little good, healthy narcissism. Celebrate you! (It’ll be like your birthday except better because you’re not a year older!)
Oh sweetheart, when I see you again, you’re never gonna let me go. That’s right, you’ll always be my dearest friend. My, my, I’ll love you till the day I die.
Put on Sweet Hearts’ EP, gaze into your own eyes (that’s what the mirror’s for) and pretend all the lyrics are about you. It’s the new affirmation nation.
[Download]: Sweet Hearts’ EP here by entering your email address!
Getting to know an artist is like making a new friend.
There are some people that seem standoffish in the beginning (maybe because they’re shy or because they’ve eaten a crap sandwich and it’s ruined their entire day–sandwiches have that kind of effect on people, y’know), so it takes a couple of visits or run-ins for them to get comfortable around you and for you to warm up to them; then there are those people you take an instant liking to (perhaps you both find great pleasure in watching/making fun of what has become of America’s Top Model over the years).
It’s the same with music. There are some musicians that require a couple listens to get into (Joanna Newsom, anyone?) and others where the connection is undeniable and instantaneous. For me, Youth Lagoon was the latter.
Even better, it was like revisiting an old friend. That’s the kind of nostalgia-tinged feeling The Year of Hibernation is wrought with.
“Five years ago, in my backyard I sang love away. Little did I know that real love had not quite yet found me.”
[MP3]: Youth Lagoon – “July”
Raw vocals with a sort of youthful reverie, crackling and hazy with reverb, beg for a closer listen, for a more concentrated ear. With synths, organ, guitar, and some heavy beats layered on–usually starting off quietly and then building up to thicker, fuller sound (think wall-of-sound)–Youth Lagoon crafts introspective bedroom anthems.
Also, I cannot lie. During my first listen of the entire album, I thought it was a girl singing. (Sorry, Trevor.) Alas, Youth Lagoon is Boise, Idaho’s awesomely named Trevor Powers. (Yes, that’s his real name.) And with a name like that and a penchant for bedroom music and introspection, you’d think that Powers might be walking around with a superhero costume hidden underneath his button-ups.
However even amidst the quiet introspection, Powers references the past only as a way to look to the future. Like the experiences and memories that make us who we are today, The Year of Hibernation is a memento of sorts, to the past.
[MP3]: Youth Lagoon – “Cannons”
From the opening track (“Posters”), I could immediately feel a quiet sense of understanding between Powers and I, like a quiet nod. Like, a musical ‘hey, I feel ya!’ What started as a bedroom project (where the whole LP was recorded) has found resonance beyond his four-walls.
You make real friends quickly. You make real friends quickly. But not me.
I get him. I feel where he’s coming from; from his lyrics, to his delivery, to the entire atmosphere that’s created when everything comes together perfectly. And for me, that’s the beautiful thing.
Here it is: part 3 of my series on Australian music, just as I promised (albeit a little–okay, very–late). The great “Down Under” has produced many quality folk-pop singer-songwriters, but with these two bands/musicians, Australia proves that it can churn out more than just sentimental and glitter-infused tracks. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a sucker for that kind of music; it’s just good to know there’s diversity.)
Australia is also home to quality psych-rock bands like Tame Impala and bluesy sirens a la Abbe May.
We all know the story of Noah and the Whale. How the happy-go-lucky British folk band that sang catchy, twee songs like “Five Years Time” churned out an album of heartache and heartbreak a la The First Days of Spring following the breakup between Charlie Fink and sort-of-member, Laura Marling. (Completely understandable as I’m sure Marling is tough to get over–seriously.) Their former spirit was hardly recognizable, if even noticeable, on their last album.
I, for one, thought that their more heavy material on their last album was probably some of the better stuff Fink has written lyrically, so I didn’t mind wallowing with him in his sadness.
However, old Noah and the Whale fans will be happy to know that the band will be back next year–March 2011, specifically–with a brand new album that seems to be edging back in to their bright, light hearted roots, if this next track is any indication. It seems that Fink has finally realized that there is life after Marling, and he has a new song to prove it.
[LISTEN]: Noah and the Whale – “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.”
The band has also just released “Wild Thing”, another track off their forthcoming album entitled The Last Night On Earth, for free download. This song is obviously on the opposite side of the spectrum from “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” It’s a tad introspective and still a little sullen, but the contrast between the two tracks showcases the various sides of the indie outfit. I mean, we can’t expect to be happy all the time, can we? Enjoy!
[MP3]: Noah and the Whale – “Wild Thing” (right-click, save as)
WHO: Nanna Øland Fabricius
WHERE: Brooklyn, NY (via Denmark)
SOUNDS LIKE: The futuristic swirls and crunchy beats of a ghost from another planet.
CLAIM TO FAME: SXSW 2009, where she caught the eye of Epic Records
FOR FANS OF: Roison Murphy, Little Dragon, Florence + the Machine
LISTEN TO: “Wolf & I,” “Rainbow”
[MP3]: Oh Land – “Sun of a Gun” (right-click, save as)
There is a sense of assuredness in the way that Oh Land sings that I can’t quite put my finger on–like she knows some sort of secret no one else knows–and you can’t help but follow her into her futuristic sonic landscapes. Maybe it’s the way she sings with a barely audible accent (that sometimes slips out on particular words) that makes her so intriguing; or maybe it’s the fact that was a dancer at the Danish Royal Ballet Academy; or maybe it’s the way she describes her music in new ways; or maybe it’s a combination of all three.
But with an opera singer for a mother and a theatre organist for a father, it was only a matter of time before Fabricius found herself experimenting in the music scene. A recent Brooklyn transplant (by way of Copenhagen, Denmark), she was scouted and snatched up by Epic Records at last year’s SXSW festival. With the release of her self-titled EP (her US and major label debut) this past October, plans are in effect for the full-length to be out sometime in 2011.
Although she has only recently had her US debut, Oh Land already has a full-length record to her name. Fauna was released exclusively in her native Denmark via Fake Diamond Records in 2008, thought it can now be downloaded on iTunes worldwide.
“Son of a Gun,” a catchy pop tune and the first single of the EP, is a little introduction to the talented sonic crafter, but it certainly isn’t the best she has to offer–only a taste of what she is fully capable of; “Wolf & I” and “Rainbow” are even catchier. Plus, her music translates surprisingly well in a live setting. (Watch her stripped down version of “Rainbow” below!)
“My goal is to sound like I’m from 2050, but still feel really classic, like the music is an old friend.”
This is clearly just the beginning for this young artist who cites Björk as one of her major influences, and it’s going to be very exciting to see what she does on her full-length next year.
[MP3]: Oh Land – “Sun of a Gun” (Savage Skulls Remix) [right-click, save as]
**To download mp3 from soundcloud player, click the arrow on its right side below “info.”
[MP3]: Oh Land – “Sun of a Gun” (Yuksek Remix)
[MP3]: Oh Land – “Sun of a Gun” (Ian Pooley Remix)
Seemingly out of nowhere, Gregg Gillis–better known as Girl Talk–is back with a whole new album of mashups this Monday to ease us into the daily grind (whether it be work or school). So even thought it’s not party season for all us University kids, we can now take a little study break and have a little dance party in our rooms. Gillis announced All Day was up for free download via his Twitter this morning, and the website has this to say about the record:
All Day is intended to be listened to as a whole.
It is broken up into individual tracks only for easier navigation.
The album is a free download.
Girl Talk thanks all the artists sampled. A full list will be posted in the future.
You can head over to Illegal-Art to download the album, but servers are incredibly busy (and I had no such luck). So here are a couple alternative links if you can’t wait to get all into it:
[LISTEN]: Brooke Fraser – “Ice on Her Lashes“
You lucky Torontonians are in for a treat! Kiwi songstress Brooke Fraser will be making a pit stop at Toronto‘s Opera House on November 23, 2010 for her North American tour in support of her new album, Flags. I previously wrote about Brooke’s new writing approach and reviewed the record, saying that it had a little bit of everything for everyone–pop, folk, a new narration–and showcased Fraser’s growth as an artist. Who wouldn’t want to see this singer-songwriter translate her new (and old) tracks in an intimate live performance?
Now thanks to Sideways-Media you can experience just that (for FREE!) as we have a pair of tickets to give away PLUS a signed copy of of Flags!
Follow any of the steps below for chance to win this awesome prize pack (the more steps you follow the more times you enter!):
- Follow us on Twitter and then retweet the following: “WIN TICKETS (& MORE) to see Brooke Fraser (@BrookeFraser) in #Toronto on Nov.23. Follow @MindfulEarful and retweet! http://bit.ly/dq2uBn“
- Email mindfulearful (at) gmail (dot) com and include: “I Want to See Brooke Fraser” in the subject line and your full name in the body.
CONTEST CLOSES NOV. 19th at 2 PM EST. Winner will be announced later that day.
EDIT: A big thank you to Sideways-Media and everyone who entered the contest. Congratulations to the winner!
Check out the rest of Brooke’s North American tour dates (including Vancouver) after the jump!
HOMETOWN: Long Island, New York
LINEUP: Eric Cardona (guitar/vox), Gabel D’Amico (bass), Andrea Estella (vox), Dev Gupta (keyboard), Bryan Ujueta (drums)
SOUNDS LIKE: Rhythmic rolling body waves captured in a bottle of glass shards
Without a doubt, Long Island quintet Twin Sister has stolen my heart (and my ears) today. And now as the sun is beginning to set, this band’s music is just what I need to ease me into the still and quiet evening while I furiously pen some poetry for my class tomorrow. Andrea Estella’s voice is sometimes buried beneath a wall of fuzzy reverb and tinny guitar (“Ginger”), and sometimes it’s sweet, drawn out, and lingering in the foreground backed by atmospheric swells and swoons (“Dry Hump”). And when Eric Cardona shares vocals at times, they create some light harmonies that make the tips of my fingers tingle (see video below).
Twin Sister translates their “wall of small” (what they sound like, according to their Myspace) recordings as well as their more sparse tunes surprisingly well in a live setting, so go and download their Daytrotter Session (free!) for your sonic pleasure and listen for yourself!
[MP3]: Twin Sister – “Ginger” (right-click, save as)
And we’ve got a live one for ya!
A lot of my readers seem to love Russian Red (aka Lourdes Hernandez), so here’s a treat! The Madrid-based songbird has just released a cover/collaboration of Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” via her Facebook for Sony’s commemorative 75th anniversary album for the King of Rock, Viva Elvis.
While performing with holograms of deceased music legends borders on distasteful (seriously, who does that?!), is recording a track with the deceased any more tasteful? Is it sacrilege? Regardless, this delicate re-imagining of the classic Elvis track honors and pays tribute to the original while incorporating a tinge of singer-songwriter feeling with a plucked acoustic guitar.
Call it a remix or whatever you’d like, but it’s a truly beautiful rendition of an already tender lovin’ song. Enjoy!
[MP3]: Russian Red – “Love Me Tender” (w/ Elvis Presley) [right-click, save as]
EDIT: I recently had the chance to talk to Lourdes about this “duet” in a short Q&A session.
While television shows like American Idol rarely ever find musicians who can translate successfully into popular music sphere, it seems as if a shy Aussie beat the slim odds. Lisa Mitchell, an Australian Idol alum, stood out on the talent show for her coy, singer-songwriter demeanor. Released in 2009, Mitchell recorded her debut full-length Wonder in the UK, which has now reached Platinum in Australia. Canadians who do not know her might have actually heard one of her most popular singles, “Coin Laundry,” in a Bell Canada television ad (available for download below). She has been nominated for 3 ARIAs, won the Australian Music Prize (equivalent to Canada’s Polaris Prize) for Wonder, opened for Jason Mraz, and played big Australian festivals like Big Day Out.
Her musical style, some people may say, is full of soft child-like vocals and is unmistakably twee. Simple yet intricate in their arrangements, the girl has a penchant for multiple vocal track layers and most of her songs have the ability of making you smile. Go ahead, I dare you. Because regardless of whether or not you think she’s a musical revelation, you won’t be able to surpress your smile.
[MP3]: Lisa Mitchell – “Coin Laundry” (right-click, save as)
In a time when band names are getting more and more complicated, Washington is plain and simple. Washington is the moniker of Megan Washington and her band. I’ve only recently stumbled across this pop gem, and I’m not one to shy away from some good ‘ol pop music. She’s been really popular in Australia for the past year or so and just released her debut I Believe You, Liar. Her radio-friendly sound ranges from mellow pop like “Clementine,” to the quirky “How to Tame Lions” and even more polished, drilling tracks like “Cement.” Give her a listen, because I think you’ll be hearing a lot more about this this Aussie popstar soon enough.
[LISTEN]: Washington – “Clementine”
[MP3]: Washington – “How to Tame Lions” (right-click, save as)
[MP3]: Washington – “Cement” (right-click, save as)
This four-piece from Sydney been on the mouths of many recently and has been touted as one of the big upcoming acts for quite a while. They’ve toured with the likes of Tegan & Sara and they don’t even have a full-length record out yet. With three EPs under their belts and picking up steam, the Jezabels are starting to gain overseas recognition in North American. The band has played a slew of US dates and are gearing up for their Canadian tour. A mix of pop, rock, indie and even a little alternative thrown in at times, the Jezabels are a diverse band whose honest songs are universally relatable.
And Canada, Canada, Canada–please don’t miss this quartet when they come around next week (dates are below). Sadly, I won’t be in Toronto for the show as I’m stuck out of town for school, so please go and enjoy for me so I can live vicariously through you!
[MP3]: The Jezabels – “Easy to Love” (right-click, save as)
[MP3]: The Jezabels – “She’s So Hard” (right-click, save as)
[LISTEN]: The Jezabels – “Mace Spray”
Oct. 26 Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern
Oct. 28 Calgary, AB – The Republik*
Oct. 30 Vancouver, BC – Pit Pub (Uni of BC)*
Nov. 3 Edmonton, AB, The Starlite Room*
Nov. 4 Regina, SK – The Exchange*
Nov. 5 Saskatoon, SK – Amigo’s*
Nov. 6 Winnipeg, MB – The Royal Albert Arms*
I don’t know what it is about Australia that draws me to it. And I don’t know why the great Down Under calls my name, so. It could be the accent (which I’m constantly attempting to perfect), the Sydney Opera House, the kangaroos, or the fuzzy koala bears. Or perhaps it’s because the first time I actually paid any attention to the Olympics, they were held in Sydney, and right then I decided that it was #1 on my list of must-visit destinations. I want to go to there.
Regardless of the reason behind my fascination with the great Aussie country, one thing is for certain: they have some great musical exports. And just like me, they seem to have an affinity for female singer-songwriters. Here are some of the Aussie musicians that I think deserve a some recognition and are worth checking out. This is part 1 of a 3-part series–so enjoy and stay tuned!
This brother and sister duo have 2 full-length albums under their belt, most recently 2010′s Down the Way. With complementary honey-soaked boy-girl vocals, they are household names in their native Australia. Plus it doesn’t hurt that they’re pretty to look at. They actually have quite a substantial dedicated fan base overseas already, with many of their 2010 tour dates selling out (including a sold out Toronto show which I attended). They’ve played numerous festivals, including this year’s Bonnaroo and the CMJ festival over in New York this week. With Angus & Julia Stone well on their way to becoming big names in the States and Canada, be sure to check out their solo efforts: Lady of the Sunshine (Angus) and Julia Stone.
[MP3]: Angus & Julia Stone – “Just a Boy” (right-click, save as)
If you’re into folk/pop, this girl is a true gem. Blasko has been around since 2002, so I guess you could call her a veteran in the industry. Just like her debut The Overture & the Underscore indicates, Sarah Blasko burst on to the scene with sweeping orchestral arrangements and a timid, yet assured warble. She has won 2 ARIA Music Awards (Aussie equivalent of the Grammys) for Best Pop Release (What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Have) and Best Female Artist (As Day Follows Night) in 2007 and 2009, respectively, since then. I never really understood why she never broke it over here in North America despite her immense talent, because this girl deserves some well-earned recognition!
[MP3]: Sarah Blasko – “At Your Best” (right-click, save as)
Brooklyn-based Sharon Van Etten describes her music as pure folk. Simple and stripped back, her strength lies firmly in that emotive voice of hers. Etten is one of the rare artists that has possesses ability to grab a listener based solely on the heartbreak factor of her wispy croon. It draws you in by your heartstrings, tugging until you have no choice but to get drawn in. “Love More” comes by way of her sophomore full-length Epic, that was released earlier in September of this year via Ba Da Bing!
[MP3]: Sharon Van Etten – “Love More” (right-click, save as)
WHO: Joy Williams and John Paul White
WHERE: Nashville, Tennessee / Florence, Alabama
SOUNDS LIKE: Curling up by a warm fire with a glass of red wine
CONNECT THE DOTS: Ten out of Tenn (collective), Madi Diaz, Erin McCarley
CLAIM TO FAME: Free digital album: Live @ Eddie’s Attic (download below!)
FOR FANS OF: The Swell Season, The Honey Trees
You may know Joy Williams as the voice of the new Oscar Meyer theme song, “Doesn’t Get Better Than This” or from her song placements on numerous television shows. You may even remember her as one of the Christian musicians your parents let you listen to as a child. But perhaps you haven’t yet heard of The Civil Wars.
After previously being on a major label and then releasing a couple EPs on her and her husband’s independent label, Sensibility Music, Williams has now joined forces with singer-songwriter John Paul White, the pen behind a couple of country tunes from well-known artists (LeAnn Rimes, Matthew Mayfield, Jason Aldean to name a few). They met by chance at a songwriting session in Los Angeles, hit it off, wrote a couple tracks–and that, dear readers, is the story of how The Civil Wars came to be.
Their sound is warm and inviting, with lyrics offering reflection on life and love. Williams and White’s voices blend together so well it’s as if it was somewhat inevitable that they sing together. The Civil Wars offer up a brand of music that is sincere, honest, raw to the bone, and without gimmicks–giving their stripped back sound the ability to withstand time and the influx of fads that come and go it. And with slow-burning, folk-tinged songs, “melodic melancholy folk” is what I think best describes the music these two make together in this age of blending genres.
Last year, I had the pleasure of speaking to Joy about the struggles and triumphs of being an independent musician, having already experienced the major label world. She had some thought-provoking insights into the industry and was incredibly well-spoken, and I think that really comes across in her co-writing with John Paul White. We discussed how we are living in an unprecedented era of the independent artist in which there are so many avenues and platforms through which musicians can get their music out to the public.
And the technological era has done really incredible things for the pair: their free live album has been downloaded over 80,000 times; their 2009 four-song EP, Poison & Wine, debuted at #4 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Top Albums chart; and the EP’s title track was played in full on “Grey’s Anatomy.” (And wow, when was the last time you’ve heard a song played in full on TV?) See how much the Internet and a little good ‘ol word of mouth can come in handy for independent artists?
The mesmerizing duo will be releasing their debut full-length Barton Hollow on Feb. 1, 2011 via Sensibility Music, and it’s only a matter of time before they make it big. Can’t wait to see what The Civil Wars has in store for all of us in the coming year!
[DOWNLOAD]: The Civil Wars – Live @ Eddie’s Attic **Don’t forget to spread the word!**
I’ve been listening to L.A.-based girl troupe, Warpaint‘s latest track “Undertow” nonstop as of late. With multiple vocal tracks bleeding into each amidst of river of reverb, they sound like hipster ghosts (yeah, I just made that up). With only 2009′s Exquisite Corpse EP under their belt, the quartet has already landed themselves the opening spot on the xx’s current tour. They play Toronto’s Massey Hall tomorrow night (Sept. 29)!
Their debut full-length, The Fool, comes out October 26 via Rough Trade.
“Now I’ve got you in the undertow,” they sing on the track, and they’ve definitely got me.
[MP3]: Warpaint – “Undertow” (right click, save as)
Today, we got a listen of a previously unreleased M.I.A. demo, and we owe it all to producer, Diplo (who recently said some not very nice things about the Brit’s latest effort, /\/\ /\ Y /\). He took to his twitter yesterday to post the little surprise:
Maybe this is a peace offering? Who knows. All I know is that I’m liking what I hear.
UPDATED (Sept. 29): So I guess it wasn’t a peace offering then. M.I.A took to her twitter today to tell the world that she released the demo, so undue credit shouldn’t be given to “the white dudes”–ahem, Diplo (her words, not mine).
Oh, and she also released: http://yesthelittlepeoplewillneverwinbuttheycanfuckshitup.com/ and http://facebookgooglemyspaceyoutube.com/
Girl be crazy! She’s gonna buy every ridiculously named site until they are no longer.
First up we have Band of Horses, who are the originators of “The Funeral.” The track starts off softly and then breaks into urgency driven by crashing cymbals and guitars, though heralding back to the lone voice and guitar in one section. The sound is signature indie rock-driven folk, folks–and simply and truly Band of Horses.
[MP3]: Band of Horses – “The Funeral” (right-click, save link as)
In ring 2, we have Canadian folk songstress, Serena Ryder, whose cover is off her 2009 EP, which she made in collaboration with Toronto-based roots/country band, The Beauties. She also covers Kylie Minogue, Jordan Sparks, and Hank Williams. Eclectic, huh? Her version of “The Funeral” is a bit slower and more sparse, with 3 vocal tracks and beautiful horn/brass instruments and guitar buried in the background. Her raw and musky vocals are front and center, and the focus seems to be solely on the emotion.
VOTE on who YOU think does “The Funeral” best!
@ Madrid, Spain
If you haven’t heard of Lourdes Hernandez aka Russian Red, it’s probably because she’s also fairly new in her hometown of Madrid, Spain. She only has one release to her name: 2008′s I Love Your Glasses. And honestly, I have no idea how I stumbled upon this gem of a singer-songwriter last year, but I’m glad I did. There’s something very distinct about her voice. If you’ve heard it once, it’s immediately recognizable. It might have to do with Hernandez’s accent or the quirky way she stretches and bends her voice. While Russian Red’s sound might not be to everyone’s liking (some mind find it a tad grating like Joanna Newsom’s voice), if she suits your tastes, you’ll love her.
I’ve been listening her new track, “Loving Strangers,” non-stop since I got my hands on it. It’s probably my favourite track of hers (I love its subtleties), and I think it’s on the soundtrack to Habitación En Roma (A Room In Rome).
[MP3]: Russian Red – “Loving Strangers” (right click, save as)
EDIT: I recently had the chance to have a quick Q&A with Russian Red. Check it out here!
*KEEP READING: Russian Red – “Loving Strangers” LYRICS (after the jump!)
@ New Zealand
Wood & Bone Records
With two solo albums–2003′s What To Do With Daylight and 2006′s Albertine–already under her belt and releases/tours with Hillsong United, Brooke Fraser is already a veteran in the music scene. And four years after her last solo record, she’s back and ready to make waves with Flags, which will be released October 12 via Wood & Bone Records. Plus Canadian/U.S. tour dates have also been announced!
Whenever friends ask me about music I listen to, they tend to ask if the artist is “famous,” and I always answer with: “Well, they’re famous to me.” Because regardless of whether a musician has had national/international success, sold a million records, or are on the charts, as long as I listen to them, I consider them “famous” in my mind and make the assumption that everyone has heard about them. (It’s absurd, I know.) Brooke Fraser is one of those artists.
Though she may not be a household name in North America yet, she has a huge following in her native New Zealand and Australia, where her albums have gone Platinum and Gold, respectively. Albertine was Fraser’s U.S. debut and was released in 2008 (two years after it was originally released in NZ, AUS), so I guess you could say she is still relatively new to the North American scene/circuit.
However, being on the road for three years in support of Albertine (beginning in 2006) really took its toll on Fraser; by 2009, she was burnt out and spent. It took a beautiful evening at Coachella and a performance by Fleet Foxes to re-awaken something in the Kiwi singer-songwriter. (Thank you, Fleet Foxes).
“Robin Pecknold began to sing and the purity of his voice seemed to melt away every memory of trauma and disillusionment [...] Then the other voices joined his and it all felt so human and honest [...] It was a moment where I remembered the power of music as a language, a connector. I remembered that I’ve been given the gift of speaking a particular dialect of this language and realised I didn’t have the option of being resigned to silence and I didn’t want it.”
In a press release, Fraser speaks about the direction of Flags and why it’s “more survivable” than previous records :
“I’ve never used as many characters or as much narrative in my songwriting as I have on this record. On my previous albums I was singing completely as myself, which is why I think I got so burnt out from touring. Albertine was inspired by incredibly significant events and people and every time I’d sing I’d go back to that moment where my heart was ripped open. So singing such heavy songs nearly every night for three years took a toll. On Flags, it’s still me speaking, but it’s me speaking through the voices of different characters and their stories. It’s more survivable.”
What can we expect to hear on the new album? Wood & Bones calls the new record “a dreamy, alternative-pop collection that showcases [Fraser's] agile soprano, lilting melodies, and knack for telling her stories through the lives of vibrant characters.”
FUN FACT: The new album features a co-written duet with Aqualung’s Matt Hales entitled, “Who Are We Fooling?”. Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman also co-wrote a track.
Here’s a little taste of the record and the first single off Flags. Listen, simmer, and enjoy!
[Download]: Brooke Fraser – “Something in the Water” (right-click, save as)
Album review over HERE!
READ ON FOR CANADIAN/U.S. TOUR DATES!
Okay, Sufjan Stevens has literally been gifting us with new tracks this month like an overzealous high school boyfriend, and hey–I’m not complaining. Now we have 2 free tracks, “I Walked” and “Too Much,” available for download off his highly anticipated Age of Adz.
Now enjoy and gush over it with your friends like you did your high school sweetheart–you know you want to.
For fans of London’s the xx, we have Tiga’s (Montreal DJ/producer) remix of of “Shelter” from the band’s critically acclaimed 2009 debut, xx.
Every Tuesday I will be featuring an album or two that are being released that very day. These are my “must listen to” recommendations! See my picks this week + FULL ALBUM STREAM after the jump!