Album Review: Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud

The final song on Waxahatchee’s last album gave us some clues as to the next direction her music might take. Fade was an introspective, acoustic track that felt like a quiet sonic reset after the blistering indie rock on the rest of Out in the Storm, while lyrically it explored her internal struggle to assert her identity in a toxic relationship. On Saint Cloud we thankfully find her in a much better place – being newly sober and in love. Musically too she embraces a breezier Americana sound, evoking early Lucinda Williams, her songwriting hero. Continue reading “Album Review: Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud”

Album Review: Nadia Reid – Out of My Province

At this moment in history we are all searching for some comfort, some hope to get us through another day. New Zealand singer songwriter Nadia Reid recently spoke about her new album and the power of music explaining, “A lot of the world can appear so sad at times but on the other hand, life is so tender and beautiful; art, music, and nature become our balm. Watching people sing and dance heals me. Walking in the hills heals me. I feel privileged to be a part of that healing.” And yes Out of My Province is indeed a healing listen – it’s a glorious sounding, rich-hearted record about finding your place in this ever spinning world. Continue reading “Album Review: Nadia Reid – Out of My Province”

Album Review: Sierra Hull – 25 Trips

Writing music reviews is my hobby, my escape from the real world. This past week has been so utterly surreal I have barely been able to do anything but stare aghast as the global coronavirus horror unfolded. The online chatter faded into insignificance for me and I haven’t been able to follow the music community in the same way really at all. I admire those who have been able to review albums, tweet, live-stream, share links, buy merch, help artists etc but I have spent most of my time frozen in shock and disbelief.

Before the virus hit I had been spending a considerable amount of time listening to the new album 25 Trips from mandolinist Sierra Hull. I was working though some ideas for my review, thinking about the central idea of this record: time and its grip on us all. Now time has the world in a vice. How long will this be our new reality? How long might it be until we all stand in a room together and hear live music again? How long before we get back the simple things we used to take for granted? We can’t go forward and see the future, we can only let the world spin and wait for our fate to unravel. Continue reading “Album Review: Sierra Hull – 25 Trips”

Album Review: Brandy Clark – Your Life is a Record

The truth is none of us are really ready for the big moments. We don’t ask for our lives to change. But they do. So what are we? Helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come, you can’t help that. It’s what you do after them that counts. That’s how you find out who you really are.

So yes this coronavirus outbreak has involved me just obsessively listening to music and watching episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (fans may recognise the reference in the introduction). That’s who I am. That’s what has got me through one of the craziest weeks in world history (and I’ve seen some serious shit). All I can say is thank god for Brandy Clark and this new album Your Life is a Record because otherwise I think I would have just submerged myself in a bath of hand sanitiser and refused to come out (well I would have if I actually had any). Continue reading “Album Review: Brandy Clark – Your Life is a Record”

Album Review: Kyshona – Listen

Why won’t you listen?’ asks Kyshona Armstrong on the title track of her powerful new album. She asks everyone the question, sounding weary at how society is to deaf to the needs of others. The album’s purpose was inspired partly by her background as a music therapist working with vulnerable people. Musically her mix of gospel, blues, soul and folk (let’s just call it Americana) fits perfectly with her message of inclusivity, empathy and acceptance. Continue reading “Album Review: Kyshona – Listen”

Album Review: The Secret Sisters – Saturn Return

Last year I was lucky enough to see the Secret Sisters open the Sunday of High Water Festival in Charleston. The sisters were both pregnant and in high spirits, entertaining the crowd with their stories and reducing us all to tears with the beauty of their music.

They previewed some songs from this new album at that show, so I have been eagerly waiting ever since to hear these recorded versions and thankfully they do not disappoint. The sisters have again worked with producer Brandi Carlile, after their previous collaboration on You Don’t Own Me Anymore. Every song on this album was written by the sisters, a deeply personal project with the title representing the significant change occurring in both their lives. Continue reading “Album Review: The Secret Sisters – Saturn Return”

Album Review: Tami Neilson – CHICKABOOM!

In the winter months my musical preferences veer heavily towards the quiet and introspective. Living in Scotland means I have to spend a lot of time indoors due to the weather so I often search out soothing albums that can soundtrack lazy afternoons of reading or writing like the recent releases from Bonny Light Horseman and Isobel Campbell, for example.

At the end of last year I had listened to some preview tracks from this new Tami Neilson album and really enjoyed them but as time for release date came my mood didn’t really match up to returning to such a style of music. Blame my hesitancy on seasonal affective disorder, rather than anything to do with the artist themselves.

Yesterday I looked outside and finally there she was, the dear old sun and even a blue sky. Okay so it was still fucking freezing but I decided this was the opportunity to blow the cobwebs off and take CHICKABOOM! outside with me for a walk. Continue reading “Album Review: Tami Neilson – CHICKABOOM!”

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