Members from the likes of Beirut, The Arcade Fire and Belle & Sebastian have played a role in creating Flare’s (aka Flare Acoustic Arts League) diverse and brilliantly produced third album Cut. They lead on from the likes of The New Pornographers and The Hidden Cameras in showing that good pop music does not have to be formulaic. In fact, each of the songs on Cut manages to stand out as unique. This diversity accounts for a lot of its charm but equally accounts for its few flaws.
Oxford’s indie music society (ISOC) have announced a party to be coveted by any discerning birthday girl or boy. ‘Imstock’ will celebrate 20 years of indie music appreciation, with a line-up that’ll blow even the finest Pizza Hut birthday bash out of the water. The event will take place at the Jericho Tavern, Oxford on June 14th.
Lovely folkette Alessi has recorded an off-the-cuff cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic ‘Simple Man’, which is available to download free.
Sad Day For Puppets are Scandinavia’s latest contribution to the UK music scene. With thoughts of Aqua, Alphabeat and ABBA, I approached them with unnecessary caution, as on the strength of this album, Sad Day For Colours have cemented their place on my summer’s playlist.
A Mouthful is a master class in marvellous, unadulterated eclecticism. The record is a mad-sounding melange of all things beautiful – there are recorders, harmonicas, hand-claps, glockenspiels and swirling strings. There is ostentatious, borderline gypsy brass, playground chanting, mc-ing and piano. Melodies swing from sweet and bluesy on tracks like ‘Searching Gold’ to electro-tinged late 1970s nostalgia on ‘Aha’. Too much, you would think? Not for a minute. All of this put together works bloody brilliantly. This album is – my well-documented Francophile over-enthusiasm aside – a work of sprawling genius.
Malcolm Middleton, once half of Arab Strap along with Aiden Moffat, denies being a grump, but his website is adorned with wee unhappy faces and he wants to start a miserabilist girl band in which “a bunch of young lookers with great voices sing all the black shit that comes out of me during my worst depression”. Sounds pretty good actually… here he answers our “above average bunch of questions”.
Jo Legg conducts a friendly interrogation of super busy genre-hoppers The Dø. This duo make fantastic pop songs, and here FFS finds out exactly how they do it.
Celtic darling Cara Dillon was barely out of her teens when she was invited to replace Kate Rusby in the Warner-backed folk supergroup Equation. Cara didn’t stay long with the group, preferring to breakaway with fellow band member Sam Lakeman whom she married and has recorded with ever since. After three albums on Rough Trade, Cara’s latest album Hill of Thieves was recorded at home, produced by Sam and put out on their own label. It finds the couple returned to their folk roots with simple acoustic versions of traditional songs. Cara talked to FFS about breaking free from major record labels and the challenges of touring while being a mum, but only after she had put the twins to bed.
Isobel Morris and Jim Kimberley began their music careers in folk clubs before meeting and forming alt-rock duo Bruise. After years of jamming folk songs with friends the couple have returned to their roots, teaming up with Nottingham based guitarist Gary Southwell to form A Murder of Rooks. FFS caught up with Jim and Isobel in The Pelton Arms in Greenwich at the monthly Sunday afternoon folk session which they host.
FFS’s Jess Powderly had an email chat with Poppy and the Jezebels about fashion, festivals and being the best Birmingham band since the Move…
Kurran and the Wolfnotes are an exciting bunch. After just a handful of live shows they’d set the blogosphere alight and industry tongues wagging. So much so that just five months after their conception, the band decided to cancel their gigs, take a month off and polish their live show to make damn sure they lived up to the ever-swelling hype surrounding them. For Folk’s Sake caught up with them ahead of their first post-hiatus performance, at which their upbeat harmony-laden folk-rock set even the most reluctant of scenester toes a-tapping. We couldn’t be more excited to bring you the first of two instalments of this, their first ever interview. Ladies and Gents, Kurran and the Wolfnotes.
Fresh off the back of her tour with US folk star Andrew Bird, Laura Marling is to play a secret show at the newly launched Flowerpot Cafe in Camden, London.
As far as FFS is concerned, Willy Mason has spent far too much time at home in the last couple of years. We were, therefore, jubilant to the extreme when we discovered that he’s recorded a live session and interview for Radio 1 to be aired this week.
End of the Road has a very special place in the hearts and minds of the FFS collective, as it was at this splendid festival last year that we began spreading the love that is our website. EOTR 2008 was just lovely – small, brilliantly curated and covered in fairy lights and ribbons.
The Wave Pictures have two performances scheduled this week. On Thursday, 7th May they launch their new album, If You Leave it Alone, at the Lexington Arms, London. The boys will also appear a day later (Friday 8th May) for a free 6:30 performance at Pure Groove London.
This Sunday the Phrased and Confused tour hits London, with a gig at the Cross Kings which might well hit all your cultural buttons simultaneously. If you can handle that much pleasure, that is. Folk darlings Woodpigeon are on the bill for the tour, which they say is “focused on lyric-writing and the collision between words and music”.
Who? Brooklyn based musician and artist Leah Hayes, armed with her thunderstick and joined by her twin sister Vanessa for backing vocals, Ben Shaprio on drums and Bradley Banks on bass.