Boston’s Mike Cavanaugh has a way with a pop tune and a twist of a phrase. Take John Lennon Or Kurt Cobain from Mike’s latest long-player, Pretend (September 2014), for instance. It’s a fun romp through what a musician might aspire to be. Throughout Pretend, Mike explores folk nuanced pop music. There are plenty of stories here with the usual subjects (love, loss, life), all told well.
If you are at all interested in Mike’s music, then you should definitely check out his bandcamp.com link, as all 5 of his long-players are there with a “name your price” download option. If you do a web search for Mike Cavanaugh, make sure that you don’t get confused with Michael Cavanaugh, who makes a bigger splash on the Internet but is not this Mike Cavanaugh. There does not appear to be a web site for Mike, but there is a facebook.com link.
Check out some wonderfully nuanced folk-pop, from Mike Cavanaugh and head on up to the aforementioned bandcamp.com link and pick up any one of his fine long-players for, an, er, song.
Don’t give up… The video starts about one minute in and it’s worth the wait. Complicated Man is included on Tattletale Saints new full-length (March 2014) How Red Is The Blood. This wondrous modern folk duo, combine the edginess of alt-pop with the story telling of traditional folk to create a sound-image collage while you listen.
Like any good story worth its salt, Tattletale Saints weave yarns that keeps you engaged. Musically, the masterful guitar works of Cy Winstanley and the low bass tones from double-bassist Vanessa McGowan combined with their engaging and spot-on two-part harmonies are as captivating as the stories themselves.
You can find more information on Tattletale Saints by visiting their web site or consider picking up a digital copy of How Red Is The Blood from their bandcamp.com site. If you’d prefer a hard copy or like your digital a wee bit more i-Tuneified, you can find all the purchase links on their web site. Check out this amazing modern folk duo now!
Full of positive energy and young optimism, Heart.Beats.Mind are a duo with a strong pop sensibility, clever song-craft and great two-part harmonies. Their three-song mini EP, Let Go, (August 2014) is out now on bandcamp.com and what it lacks in length, is made up by sheer will and talent. The duo shares lead vocal roles with Jordan Millar taking lead here on the title track, Let Go, and the duo alternating lead vocal duties on Over For Me.
This is country/pop in the same vein as other duos like Flagship Romance or The Civil Wars, though it does not compare musically to either. Heart.Beats.Mind are a force of their own, and that is as it should be.
It’s too early to tell if this Australian duo can make it in the music business, but they’ve already made it in my eyes. You can find more information on Heart.Beats.Mind by heading on up to their web site, or hit the aforementioned bandcamp.com site for the new EP. Check out this great duo now!
You may remember Portland, Oregon based Otis Heat from the video / review posted for Gold Mine around two years ago. Well, the second long-player, ING, from the group is finally out (by the time you read this, September 2014) and with it comes Brow (see this video), Gold Mine and twelve additional tracks. Since I’m writing this review prior to the release, it is going to have to exclude most of those tracks, as I have not heard them yet, but Otis Heat has the ability to rock out (Brow) or weave a beautiful melody (Circles) and then there is the not-so-tongue-in-cheek comedy about how success changes you and the people around you, Gold Mine.
There is a host of information on Otis Heat, most available from their web site, complete with all of the social and purchase links that you require. You can also pick up the band’s earlier long-player, Yoon (July 2011) and the EP The Ugly (May 2012) as well as ING, from the group’s bandcamp.com site.
Check out this wonderfully diverse band now!
As promised during the review of Bridie Jackson and The Arbour’s We Talked Again on August 27, 2014, from the quartet’s second long-player New Skin (May 2014), here is another dark tale from that long-player. Scarecrow tells the story of a bride who dies on the night before her wedding day. It is a beautiful, haunting song and, as was the case with We Talked Again, it is full of the quartet’s signature harmonies.
Scarecrow is one of the few songs not penned by vocal lead Bridie Jackson. It was written by Louis Barrabas. You may remember a post by Louis Barrabas and The Bedlam Six here about 8 months ago. It fits seamlessly with the rest of the tracks on New Skin, as if it were the group’s own track.
Three young women who create beautiful, complex songs infused generously with three part harmonies is nothing to be sneezed at. Combine this with their skills as session vocalists and instrumentalists for the last ten years and it would be hard to even believe that the average age of this trio is just 22. That’s an incredible feat!
Here, Saoirse Duane, Caoimhe Barry and Karen Cowley, performing together as a group called Wyvern Lingo, show off the lovely a Capella number, Used, from their new five-song EP (August 2014), The Widow Knows. These five tracks are breath taking examples of musicianship and vocal acuity. The melodies are anything but simple, yet they are easy to enjoy passively or actively. I hope the musical future is bright for Wyvern Lingo; It should be, but this is the music business.
The Murder and four other tracks are available from Bandcamp as the new long-player, Just Another Day from Dublin, Ireland’s Tony Fitz comes together. It should come as no surprise after listening to these first tracks, that this is an old west story, and if the pictures aren’t conjured up by the words and music alone, then once the CD releases, it comes with a comic book. (pictorial sample available on the bandcamp.com site.)
There is plenty to find out about Tony Fitz, but you can find out nearly anything you want to know by checking out his web site. Make sure you pick up a copy of Just Another Day when it releases sometime in September, or pick it up now and take advantage of the five wonderful tracks currently available.
Bridie Jackson and The Arbour are a find! They have eluded me until now, but that won’t happen again. We Talked Again, the dark tale of near tragedy, is one of the stellar tracks on the group’s second long-player, New Skin (May 2014), that will mesmerize you. Bridie Jackson’s lead vocals are so beautiful, but combine them with her three female band-mates vocal harmonies, and the layers! The textures! This is music to be heard. Each song is a video in itself; meaning you really would not need a video to conjure up the images in your head that are created by these wonderful, dark and beautiful songs.
Oddly, We Talked Again, appeared in a completely different form on the groups debut long-player, Bitter Lullabies (January 2012). That track was more understated on the original debut, but has more force and texture here on New Skin. Both versions are worth repeating!
Consider this the first of a couple of videos by Bridie Jackson and The Arbour. I’ll post at least one more in a week or so. You can find more information on Bridie Jackson and The Arbour by heading on over to their web site. Pick up both New Skin and Bitter Lullabies on their bandcamp link. Whatever you do, listen to this amazing group of talented musical story tellers!
Singer-songwriter, Rob Cantor’s debut long-player, Not A Trampoline, came out in April (2014), and it is full of wonderful pop musical gems. Take All I Need Is You for instance. Rob’s voice is an pleasing tenor which blends together with itself, strings, (or synthesizers I can’t find any extensive album info), light rhythms, and guitars to great effect. Rob got a following from a stunt video created for his song Perfect, also on Not A Trampoline. That video created quite a stir, which I have to believe was a great marketing ploy.
Whether you are one of the converted because of that stunt video for Perfect or whether you have yet to be converted, you owe it to yourself to sit down and listen to the 12 tracks that make up Not A Trampoline. There’s a nod to musical styles of 1985, Garden Of Eden, synth pop in The Rendezvous, full tilt pop-rock with I’m Gonna Win and much more.
This Woody Guthrie remake of This Morning I Am Born Again from Lucy Kaplansky’s 2012 long-player, Reunion, is a great example of Lucy’s folk-blues side. She has many musical sides, all of which are cohesive and blend perfectly together. Whether she is singing in a light Jazz vocal about Pi, or rehashing folk standards, Lucy’s voice pops seamlessly from track to track. Certainly some of these tunes could be classified as country, but they are minus the annoying (in my opinion) over use of twang. That is a good thing.
I’m featuring this video now, because Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell, who was one of several core musicians who helped with the making of the long-player Reunion, have teamed up to create an album of cover songs as The Pine Hill Project. Their Kickstarter campaign has reached their initial goal, so barring a catastrophe, the album will be released. This album should feature tight harmonies from these two top-notch artists.
You can find more information on Lucy Kaplansky by visiting her web site. For information on Richard Shindell, check out his web site as well. To keep tabs on The Pine Hill Project, check out the Kickstarter page.