Album Review: Flare – Cut

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 to host Folk extravaganza

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.

Album review: The Dø – A Mouthful

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.

FFS Interview: Malcolm Middleton

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”.

For Folk’s Sake Interview: Cara Dillon

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.

FFS Interview: A Murder of Rooks

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 Recommends: Kurran and the Wolfnotes

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.

Willy Mason session on Radio 1

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 line-up proper swoon-worthy

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.

Wave Pictures announce album, gigs and DJ set

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.

Phrased and Confused this Sunday: Woodpigeon AND poems!

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”.