From Toronto, Jennifer Castle writes folk songs about friendship, love and heartbreak. Pink City is a stirringly beautiful album every bit a step forward from 2011's Castlemusic. It's barer arrangements - often just piano, guitar and voice with string arrangements from Owen Pallet - highlight just how good of a songwriter Castle is. Her singing has an intuitive style, not always following the expected melody, but soaring along on it's own current. Greil Marcus wrote in The Believer that Castle "reaches a pitch of mystical transport so gorgeously ethereal she seems to drift off into lands that don't appear on any map."
Bob Carpenter came close to being a major star. He received a glowing mention in Rolling Stone in 1970, recorded an album for Warner Brothers and had his songs recorded by Emmylou Harris, Billy Joe Shaver and others. But Silent Passage, his lone solo album recorded in 1974, was pressed and ready to ship when contract negotiations shelved the record indefinitely. By the time things were resolved it was the end of the 70's singer-songwriter boom and Warner had moved on. The album saw release by the Canadian label Stony Plain in 1984 but has been out of print until now.
Two new songs and just the second solo release from NED OLDHAM whose been recording music for more than two decades now: first with Palace, then as The Anomoanon, later as Old Calf. Limited to just 600 copies. We know 7"s aren't the most popular format these days but Ned sent us these songs and they were too good to pass up.
With the kind of understatement that’s typical of the man, Doug Paisley describes his wondrous third album Strong Feelings as “just 10 new songs. It’s a lot less simple and unadorned than other recordings I've made, but it’s just as earnest and straightforward.” Not that Paisley has forsaken any of the delicacy and quiet rapture of his previous work. Recorded in a new analog studio in Toronto, Strong Feelings bears his usual trademark signature, but it’s altogether more assured, full of rich texture and fine detail.
Cian Nugent is a guitar player from Dublin, Ireland whose music combines personal passions, such as suburban/coastal blues, traditional music, 1960s & ’70s singer-songwriters, psychedelic rock,critically jazz ambitions and 20th century composition. Born With The Caul is his first full length with 4 piece-band The Cosmos and follows his acclaimed 2011 solo effort Doubles. Like that album, Caul is comprised of a few expansive, developed pieces (three, to be exact). Led by Nugent’s guitar playing â€“ always inviting, subdued and unpredictable â€“ the band takes these songs into darker, richer territories opening a whole new galaxy for this young guitar player to explore.
Nathan Salsburg’s 2011 debut was a beautiful ode to racehorses (a point of pride for any resident of Kentucky). Comprised of seven acoustic guitar instrumentals and one vocal track, Affirmed caused Popmatters to declare the record “one that others like it will soon be measured against.” His second go-round is a grander effort. Although still primarily composed of acoustic guitar, the songs sound bigger. They bounce along, weaving through unexpected twists and turns, with the occasional piano melody or fiddle line.
Houndstooth is a 5 piece rock and roll band from Portland, OR informed, decidedly, by the grand history of rock acts, but it may be more helpful to think about a William Eggleston photo or an Alice Munro short story to get the feel of the band; two Southerners (Katie Bernstein and John Gnorski), two Detroiters (Courtney Sheedy and Mike Yun), and a Canadian (Graeme Gibson). Their debut LP, “Ride Out The Dark,” is a collection of songs that came out of that universally tumultuous year of 2012, and speak to the light at the end of that tunnel we all made it through. Sit with it for a while; it’s the kind of record that makes you homesick for an un-nameable place and puts you in its own sort of darkness on the edge of town, where things are raw and alive and unchained.
Third studio album from New York's kings of choogle Endless Boogie. The 8 tracks are still rooted in informal jams but this one finds them expanding their sound dynamically: more guitar, more atmosphere, deeper grooves. Frontman Paul Major finds new ways to grunt, holler and groan, sounding more crazed tongue-speaker than vocalist in a rock band. The addition of Matt Sweeney on third guitar takes the intensity up while providing a willing partner for Major to play off. Mojo Magazine say: "It's a roller-coaster of amplified sound... Long Island is alive and involving, creating a world of it's own".
Family Band is a collaboration between visual artist turned singer Kim Krans and heavy-metal guitarist Jonny Ollsin. The couple met in the Catskill mountains in 2005 and still write many of their songs there in a two-room, hand-built cabin. Grace and Lies is the group's second album, and as the title suggests, it is equal parts light and shadow, evoking the mystery and terror of early Cat Power, the ghostly aura of Warpaint, with whom Family Band toured in 2011, and the hushed longing of prime-era Cowboy Junkies. Though they explored similar territory â€“ both sonically and lyrically â€“ on their self-released debut, Miller Path, on Grace their canvas is wider -- the greys lusher, the blacks deeper.
Five new songs recorded in Toronto and intended to hold fans over until September, when Doug Paisley will release the follow-up to 2010's critically acclaimed Constant Companion. If you slept on that album, then we're sorry, but use this affodably priced EP as an excuse to acquaint yourself with one of the finest working songwriters, who Time Out NY called "the purest voice to come down the pike in ages."
In Toronto, Jennifer Castle possesses a sought after voice, singing on albums by Fucked Up, The Constantines and Doug Paisley. Castlemusic is her debut under her own name (she previously performed as Castlemusic). It’s full of rambles, waltzes and ballads. It wanders with equal parts feedback and quiet, through dark melodies, wistful, and straight out of a hazed dream or some offbeat 70’s AM station. The songs have that type of familiarity, as if they were always there. Castle is backed by an assortment of musicians: pedal steel, percussion, vibraphone. She handles guitar and piano herself, but it’s her voice which is ultimately the guide. Like “cold smoke”, as one writer puts it: it’s enveloping and unmistakably present.
Louisville, Kentucky's Nathan Salsburg is a folklorist, producer, and presenter of vernacular music for East Village Radio, the Drag City imprint Twos & Fews, and the Alan Lomax Archive, among other outlets. With his first solo record as a performer — entitled Affirmed, after the 1978 winner of horse racing's Triple Crown — he enters a wholly new interaction with the corpus of American (and British) musical folklore. The album, seven original instrumentals and one trad arrangement, is a startlingly diverse synthesis of guitar traditions — from Gary Davis to Sam McGee; Peter Lang to Nic Jones — refracted through a compositional sensibility long on melodic adventurousness and short on repetition and drone, those shibboleths of the American Primitives. Affirmed is a remarkably confident, emotional debut by one of the most original and gifted young guitarists playing today.
Old Calf formed as a duo in the small, but musically vibrant town of Charlottesville, VA by Ned Oldham (The Anomoanon, Palace Music) and accordionist Marty Metcalfe, slowly accruing members on route to recording their debut album. Deeply influenced by traditional American music, and touching on ground most groups do not know exist, Borrow A Horse is rich with melody and instrumentation, it’s simple songs rooted in folk and bluegrass, and presented in a swirl of psychedelia. It’s an album forged in history, and despite existing in the present, its sound is timeless.
As rock bands go, The Psychic Paramount is a rigorously all-in proposition. They make impact a state of being rather than a discrete event. As single-minded as the music may seem at first strike, it exists at higher elevations — of decibel, intensity, motion, color, temperature — and spills freely over the walls of genre, magma into new land. It is punk in its fury, noise in its rash extremity, and progressive in form. II is their 2nd studio album.
“the purest voice to come down the pike in ages.” â€“ Time Out NY“Songs of poetry, harmony and sweetness and the honeyed, craggy voice of the classic American country singer... Paisley's perspective is that of the Canadian outsider, seeing America anew whilst being fully immersed in its history and myths. Like The Band he re-presents American music history without the trappings of fashion and, like the Young of After The Goldrush uses his outsider status to ruminate on America's fate" - Mojo