This week I have been feeling particularly delicate so decided to expand my musical tastes in the softer realm. The likes of Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake are firm family favourites, as are chart toppers Bon Iver, Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling. But, never afraid to 'dream a little bigger darling', I have been searching and listening and then searching some more for lesser known artists that may delight my (currently very sensitive) ears. My favourites among the extensive array of artists I have found over this past week are as follows:
Paul Thomas Saunders
After hearing a lot of hype from many of my Leeds friends with regard to this young musician's musical talents, I decided it was finally time to give him a listen and boy have I enjoyed what I found. A soulful folk-influenced delicacy, psychedellic inclination is clear as Saunders claims influence from the likes of Leonard Cohen and other 1960s folkies. Distinct electronic ambience underlies his enchanting vocal tones, and perhaps it is infact this quality which ensures that Saunders intertwines beautifully within the 'nu-folk' movement which seems to be actuallytaking over the world. Saunders sits somewhere between modern Fleet Foxes style records and Jeff Buckley's timeless Grace. Soothing sounds for an autumn eve, I will definitely be following this young Leeds-based budding musician in the future.
Following his support slot at a recent Pierces gig I attended, I certainly made it my business to research Foster following an engaging and really rather powerful performance at Bristol's Anson Rooms. With the help from old school friend Robert Pattinson, the video for recent release 'I Was Broken' features a brooding Kristen Stewart interspersed between a singing Marcus throughout [watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI_pPEysgYQ], and Pattinson even covered Foster's track 'Let Me Sign' for the original soundtrack release from the first Twilight film. Foster was an engaging live talent with charming accompaniment from a double bass and cajon, and is also clearly a budding recording artist: his first release Nameless Path certainly contains some charming little numbers. And in all honesty he is set to be huge with, whether consciously or not, little help from his Hollywood friends. [For all you twi-hards a version of R-Patz himself singing Foster's 'I Was Broken' is also available here]
Although an already well established artist, I had personally never heard any M83 until very recently. Following his most recent recorded release Hurry Up, We're Dreaming I decided it was time to give it a whirl. Following 'Intro' which features mesmerising budding female vocalist Zola Jesus, and second track 'Midnight City', I was hooked. The whole album is a delight, with each of the 22 tracks gracing your ears with something new. An ambient, electro-pop delight, this is a must for fans of multiple genres. With so many layers to uncover, listen after listen you continue to notice more of the record's subtleties; and it certainly ensures that Hurry Up doesn't get dull. Highly recommended.
Utterly mesmorising and distinctly unusual, Creep On Creepin' On is a fantastic album. A highly reverberated voice permeates the album with tones reminiscent of the 60s folk wailers who attempted to copy Bob Dylan's vocal style in spite of the fact that they, unlike him, could actually sing. A simple storytelling style encompasses the lyrical structure, with basic chord progressions providing the only accompaniment for tracks such as 'Demon Host', until of course the haunting choir joins him on his epic "woooah"-ing. Strings, horns, synths; Timbre Timbre, however plainly, uses it all. The self titled track is utterly 60s with a McCartney style piano crotchet pattern relentlessly repeating underneath the almost psychedellic voice. The simplicity of the structure of the songs with differing instrumental passages provides the main body of excitment to the record. In spite of its brutal simplicity, the album does what it says on the tin: it 'creeps on' as you find yourself effortlessly 'creepin on' with it, until you realise you've immensely enjoyed the journey.
Kill It Kid
Being a Bath-based band, I was instantly intreigued. I'm a sucker for a highly saturated photograph featuring in any act's album artwork, so with Feet Fall Heavy even more of my criteria was instantly met. Their sound is highly comparable to the likes of The Dead Weather and perhaps even more (now) 'old school' acts like Giant Drag. Their simple guitar-heavy style is clearly influenced by Jack White and co; attitude and sluge permiate their sound, and it certainly works. Having a female vocalist with such a raw and emotive voice makes me want to re-visit riot grrrl and celebrate all that is female: this, alongside a male voice somehow reminiscent of both 90s grunge acts and 30s blues, when both vocal lines intertwine something quite beautiful is created. This album is a fantastic listen and I shall definitely be catching them on their next tour cycle.
Now, to blow my nose and get back to bed...