Anna Burch’s last album Quit the Curse was full of smart, understated indie pop that quietly sparkled. After a busy schedule of touring she returns with a new album If You’re Dreaming, which was recorded with producer Sam Evian at his studio in the Catskills. Musically the songs on the album are slow and gentle, suggesting a songwriter learning how to go at her own pace. Continue reading “Album Review: Anna Burch – If You’re Dreaming”
Why should I die so you can live? Laura Marling sings on the opening track of her new album Song For Our Daughter. Alexandra was partly inspired by a Leonard Cohen song and also how over history women were often only valued in what they could offer men – as muses or as mothers. Marling sings these songs for her own imagined daughter, dreaming of a future where women can live and love in a world free from such bullshit. Continue reading “Album Review: Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter”
It’s fitting that when you buy a vinyl copy of this new Lilly Hiatt record Walking Proof you get a colouring in page with it, since her songs are about finding the confidence to be yourself and make your own individual mark on the world – even if that means shading outside the lines a little. Continue reading “Album Review: Lilly Hiatt – Walking Proof”
Having had an amazing run through to the Grammys earlier this year with Girl Goin Nowhere, Ashley McBryde had some really strong momentum to build on heading into this new album Never Will. Sure there has been limited success at country radio (which is insane considering how good her singles are) but she hasn’t let that stop her. In the end it is the live show where an artist can build an audience of fans who buy records, merch and make careers. And live is where this artist shines. Most of these country chart toppers will soon be forgotten and Ashley will still be out there playing to big crowds in the decades to come. Talent, grit and songs will always win out. Continue reading “Album Review: Ashley McBryde – Never Will”
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”
During my period of working from home in the last week there has been one blessing: even more time to immerse myself in new music. One artist who I found a particularly comfort to get me through my email hell was the lovely Sunny Ozell and her gorgeous new album Overnight Lows. Continue reading “Album Review: Sunny Ozell – Overnight Lows”
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”
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”
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”