On the startling front cover of her new album, Neko Case’s head is covered in cigarettes and she starting to catch fire. It is somewhat alarming on first inspection, especially considering her house actually burnt down recently, but maybe using the violent imagery is her way of accepting such an unlucky fate. Hellion is a word for a rowdy or mischievous person and you feel that spirit and don’t give a fuck energy radiating out of her very core. Hell-On was mostly recorded before the fire so don’t except songs to directly reference that incident but Case has always made art out of life’s disasters and these songs continue in that vein. Produced by Neko herself, with Bjorn Yttling, this album offers no simple narrative and makes no concessions to genre or trends. Because of this sense of originality, Hell-On feels like a vital addition to her already impressive discography. Continue reading “Album Review: Neko Case – Hell-On”
‘Book Week Scotland’ might not mean a lot to many people beyond bonnie Caledonia but this campaign to promote reading gives me a nice excuse to write about the myriad connections between my two favourite things: books and music. My first post was about songs inspired by female writers and today I’m going to recommend some of my favourite books about music written by women. Continue reading “Books About Music Written By Women”
One of my favourite ways to find new music is to see who some of my favourite artists are working or touring with. So when I reviewed Lizzie No’s album earlier this year I also discovered her friend and fellow musician Caroline Reese, who writes the kind of gorgeous indie alt-country songs they call Americana nowadays. Caroline has opened for artists like Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton and Ray Wylie Hubbard. Her new E.P. Two Horses consists of four stripped back new songs which tell the story of her recent move to Montana and her life as a struggling musician. Continue reading “E.P. Review: Caroline Reese – Two Horses “
Navigating the infinite shows on offer during Edinburgh festival season can be an overwhelming task. Look past the ubiquitous comedy on offer and you will find an array of interesting music-themed events. So here are some suggestions for you, with our usual focus on female performers. All of these shows have tickets available at time of writing.
The book festival can be an oasis of calm in the city during August (especially in the evenings). Novelist David Mitchell is curating a series of music themed events at this year’s festival, including an event with the wonderful English folk duo The Unthanks who will be discussing and performing work from their recent album of music inspired by the poems and songs of Molly Drake (which I reviewed earlier this year).
In the wave of shows available local performers can sometimes be forgotten but there is a wide variety of Scottish folk and traditional music on offer. Appearing at the Queen’s Hall is Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, most famous now for singing the songs from Brave (also if you missed Karine Polwart’s show at the same venue she is reprising Wind Resistance later in the year). Iona Fyfe, a folk ballad singer from Aberdeenshire, who has been a finalist in BBC Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year is also appearing at the festival.
If you are looking for something a little more alternative then Summerhall continues to deliver a cutting edge program of music events under the banner Nothing Ever Happens Here. Appearing across the month include Spanish indie girls Hinds, plus singer songwriters Julie Byrne and Jenny Hval.
In terms of theatre and comedy there are always shows themed around specific musicians, such as the Joni Mitchell Story or the excellent Doris, Dolly and the Dressing Room Divas. And the Fringe wouldn’t be the Fringe if you didn’t go and see something a little bit different and Dollywould appears to fit the bill nicely.
And since we love country music on this blog I feel it’s only right to finish by recommending Reformed Whores: Grand Ole C*ntry for the title and outfits alone.
If you have a spare fifteen minutes (or a few hours) I can think of no better way to spend it than listening to some of the best musicians playing NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. These sessions are now legendary, breaking new artists as well as bringing in those at the top for a more intimate performance.
Of course there are so many now it can be hard to find the time to search through them, let alone watch them all so I have picked ten great ones for your viewing pleasure (and to be honest I’m partly making this list for myself so it’s easy to find the links) Enjoy! Continue reading “Ten Awesome Tiny Desk Concerts”
For this new record the lead singer of The Honeycutters, Amanda Anne Platt, decided to give herself top billing for the first time. Her name is emblazoned on the front of the album as she stands alone underneath, smiling. Such feelings of happiness and confidence run throughout the sound of this self-titled album. Continue reading “Album Review: Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters”
Ward Thomas, a self-proclaimed UK ‘country’ music act showed some promise on their debut album but their follow up Cartwheels was over-produced pop music that barely referenced the genre they made their name in. This new EP of bland cover versions, A Shorter Story, is another disappointing misstep in their musical direction. Continue reading “Review: Ward Thomas – A Shorter Story”
Last time we heard from Lindi Ortega she was hanging out in Faded Gloryville, where success was in the past but there was still a warm glow of positivity in her voice. This new E.P. Til The Goin’ Gets Gone takes a much darker turn, and was recorded at a time when she was deciding whether or not to continue with her career in music. Continue reading “Review: Til The Goin’ Gets Gone – Lindi Ortega”