Sometimes we get so concerned with the future that we forget about the now. It’s not all that surprising really; we live in uncertain times, and we get other people’s successes thrown in our face through social media. It’s easy to worry about things falling apart or that you’re not progressing as much as everyone else, but sometimes the harder you try to grasp something the more likely it is to slip through you fingers. Sometimes you have to just take a step back, have faith that you’re on the right path, and trust in yourself to get to where you want to be at your own pace. That feeling is captured brilliantly by Cincinnati based artist Curt Kiser on his new track ‘Patience’, with a welcome reminder that “it’s not always better on the other side”. Curt delivers that message under his Carriers moniker with an expansive blend of Americana and dream pop that will delight fans of The War On Drugs. Throw in the fact that the track features Bryan Devendorf of The National and John Curley of The Afghan Whigs and it makes ‘Patience’ everything that an indie fan could ever ask for.
‘The Great Orator’ is a curious creation. It carries a kind of lavish and expansive feel akin to The Family Crest or Arcade Fire, but is tempered by a bittersweet melancholy reminiscent of The National. The result is a sweeping cinematic soundscape that could rush headfirst into something grand and epic at a moment’s notice, but instead holds back and delves into something more elegant, austere and introspective. Like a great mind turning to questions with no answer, or someone who seemingly has everything leaving it all behind and succumbing to wanderlust. Written about “feeling like you’ve discovered something that no one else knows”, it’s almost as though Canadian artist Kuri could blow your mind with ease if he wanted to, but instead takes you by the hand and encourages you to discover things on your own. Both empty and uplifting, like soaring high through the frigid northern sky with clouds obscuring the world below, this track makes you its plaything like no other.
I find I’m the kind of person that resists change. The kind that clings on to the fading summer and laments all the missed opportunities in the face of autumn’s arrival. But as much as we may try to deny it, change is a natural part of life. Whether it’s the shifting seasons or the collapse of a relationship, things have to end in order for something new to begin. It’s only when a tree falls in the forest that new life has chance to reach for the sunlight. Singer/songwriter Elliah Heifetz understands this better than most, and his new track ‘I’m Over Now’ paints heartbreak not as something to drag you down, but as something to build upon, to learn from, and become a better person. With warm melodies tinged with sadness like those fading summer days, this cathartic track shares a mature and moving view on heartbreak that we can all stand to learn from.
When I’m feeling lost or lonely I often find the best remedy is to sit outside and try to feel one with the world. Close your eyes, feel the wind brush against your skin, hear the birds singing, and try to feel like a part of something greater. It’s something that I’ve struggled to put into words in the past, but I feel like the new song from Woods End manages to express it perfectly. The spiralling melodies recalling flocks of birds spiralling in the sky, the soft swell of cymbals like waves crashing upon the shore, it’s dark subdued atmosphere hanging over you like a thin veil of mist; they write tracks that feel in tune with nature like no one else. But in its calls of “how I got here I don’t know” it also captures that feeling of being adrift and alone, offering solace in the fact that you’re not the only one looking for meaning.
Is art something we create, or something that lives through us? Like how the energy of all living things carries on in the big circle of life; someone creates a work of art that inspires someone else, which in turn inspires someone else and so forth. Whoever made the painting that adorned the childhood home of Sweden based singer/songwriter James Auger would likely never have expected that it would end up inspiring a song like ‘Southwest of the Moon’. Likewise I imagine James (under his Choir of Ghosts moniker) will never truly know the reach of this track from his forthcoming debut album An Ounce Of Gold. But with its rich imagery, vocals reminiscent of The Decemberists, and plenty of heartwarming fireside folk vibes, I’m quite certain it will leave its mark and take root in people’s imaginations.
They say the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes, but I’d say we can throw just general adversity into that category too. And as much as we dislike them, they all serve a purpose. We all face hardship at some point, but in overcoming it we can hope to grow and become wiser and better people. Written by frontwoman Elodie Tomlinson during a time of struggle and subsequent self-discovery, ‘GWTC’ (gone with the city) is a song that knows all about growth. The airy intro slowly gathers itself together, and draws you in with it, before kicking into overdrive as it reaches a rewarding climax complete with soaring guitar tones and lush melodies. This LA band wear their heart on their sleeve with this new single, and manage to make such a raw track feel almost effortless.
We spend a lot of time looking for something new and exciting, but sometimes you just can’t beat something old-school. When a style is tried and tested sometimes there is little to gain by trying to change a winning formula, instead you just have to do your best to put your own stamp on it. I’d say Canadian singer/songwriter Lydia Persaud has done that to a tee with her new single ‘More of Me’. Taken from her forthcoming debut album Let Me Show You out 10th May, it channels the very best of soul and Motown as it focuses on a struggle to trust and be trusted in return in a relationship. Her stirring vocals, the warm vintage guitar tone, and the dash of funk in the rhythm section, makes this a track that makes you (ironically) want to call out for more!
What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and Katie from Belwood favourites The Lunar Year sounds just as divine when releasing music under a new solo name. ‘Put You Away’ is a beautifully assured first venture under her new moniker Katie Bird. It opens with just soft acoustic guitar and her crystal clear vocals; delicate yet at the same time all-consuming, like awaking on a winter morning to a world gripped by ice and frost. Gentle piano melodies slowly start to fall into place, each note ringing out like falling water droplets from the thaw. As it draws to a close the song ends on a high as the arrangement expands into something more warm, lush and inviting. It’s like a golden sunrise announcing the arrival of spring, and just melting your heart along with it.
In my head I tend break down Americana into two different sides of the coin, what I like to call “neon and gold”. Belwood favourites Evening Darling are already well acquainted with the latter; the warm and inviting side that soundtracks the open road, golden summer days, and a lust for adventure. With their new single ‘Invitations’ however they explore their darker side and shift into “neon” territory. A more bittersweet, indie-tinged affair that instead conjures up images of a night spent wandering under city lights in search of meaning. Penned from the perspective of someone gripped by obsession, the contemplative atmosphere and haunting backing vocals do a superb job of adding to the feeling of being lost and alone. With a driving bass line, shimmering synths, and all the moving melodies you could ever ask for thanks to Erica Lane’s mesmeric vocals, it seems Evening Darling are just as at home under neon lights as under golden sunsets. The band have expertly expanded their sound, while still remaining true to who they are.
Here is a track that revels in the two most powerful forces known to man: love, and nature herself. Recorded in Eype Church in Bridport, this stunning single is about as elegant and entrancing as they come. Inspired by the English coastline, and a love affair as tumultuous as the waves crashing upon the shore, this classically inspired track carries a profound ageless quality. ‘When She’s In That Mood’, taken from Mesadorm’s forthcoming album Epicadus out 19th April, talks of a love as wild, as unpredictable, and as all-consuming as the ocean itself. To look out from the coast at the endless untameable sea before you, small and powerless to its whim, is what it is to surrender your heart to someone completely. It can so easily sweep you away, but its call remains inescapable.