It was back in 2014 that the Bolivian folk-rock Khuno sextet last featured – then known as the trio of Aguayo.
Always a pleasure to catch up with developments of musicians who have been out of focus for a while. Atados – a live version – arose recently which finds Khuno drawing reference point from both tradition and ’60s art-rock leaving the listener crossing fingers there will be more to follow imminently.
The Australian folk-rock duo Miles Recommends releases the EP – Extended Play on the 5th of February.
Miles Recommends – Extended Play – artwork
Extended Play (available on bandcamp) is a collection of five songs which ponders of the realities of life in a world where following the crowd has become the accepted norm with no articulation as to how that benefits the individuals who make up the mass.
There is a melancholic air to the compositions that are marked by the vocal harmonies which allow Miles Recommends to deliver a different flavour in each piece. This breadth is further enhanced by the range of instruments at their disposal which are carefully selected and deployed to create the weave of the fabric in the songs.
The middle track is Darkness – a sombre number that has a captivating beauty.
Shelley Segal is a singer-songwriter from Melbourne in Australia.
There are moments in life when you just need to put up your heels and let the music douse you in its temperament and Shelley Segal ideally suits one of those moments. The songs speak of personal perspectives and challenge prescriptive notions without threatening or growling, which makes for a diversive angst-riven perspicacious soliloquy which has a broader reach, if you will allow it so to do.
The folk-rock may not immediately hit the sweet-spot, but I merely ask that you let preconceptions pass you by and tarry in the tunes, as like many of the most personal and honest recipes, the ingredients may not initially meet with a wide smile, however, on ingestion there is a feeling of satiation and mooreishness, thus you will find with Shelley Segal.
Smartly composed pieces of music combine with an eviscerating lyric, leaving the listener in a pall of self-immolation which captivates the audience despite themselves. Whilst easily and dismissively slotted in to a genre that doesn’t suit – like Baez, Dylan, Piaf etc., it is when you scrape away the covering, you will find yourself captivated by the concepts.
The Gallerist is the folk-rock trio of Mike Collins (Vocals /Guitar / Banjo / Harmonica), John Holback (Drums / Vocals) and Kai Carter (Bass / Vocals) from Philadelphia in the USA.
For moments of reflective contemplation The Gallerist produce a serene back-drop with a vocal that breaks with tremulous emotional expressiveness. The empathetic music lays as a cradle for the audience to lay their head. Without complicating the sounds the trio are able to convey the sentiments of the music, without ever becoming claggy.
It always amazes me, I am sure as it does you too, when I find myself enjoying music that fits into a genre, which instinctively finds me curling my ears, but that is the joy of being a music reviewer. With an assurance that every introduction will be heard I find myself exploring all sorts of things I wouldn’t in the regular course of the day give a moments thought and as within every style of music, there are gems that rise above the tensions, to provide sounds that need to be shared with a wider audience and The Gallerist tick everyone of those boxes.
Recorded material is far apart, with a début LP A Falling Waltz being released in 2011 and not until last month did a follow-up, the five track Twine, appear.
My summation – put away any preconceptions and enjoy some well composed and delivered music courtesy of The Gallerist.
Hook & Anchor from Astoria in the USA is the folk-rock quintet of Kati Claborn (Vocals / Guitar / Banjo / Ukulele), Gabrielle Macrae (Vocals / Violin), Ryan Dobrowski (Drums), Erik Clampitt (Vocals / Guitar / Pedal Steel) and Luke Ydstie (Bass / Vocals).
Hook & Anchor
Hook & Anchor is only about a year old as a band, but the players have lengthy experience as performing musicians as this is immediately evident on hitting play. Taking US country and folk whilst wrapping it up inside rock tempos gives Hook & Anchor a surprisingly upbeat sound. The contributions of the individuals are weaved into each other, giving the resulting tracks an enticing depth of exploration for the listener.
The vocal harmonies, rather then cloying sugar-sweetness are the highlight of the sounds as the instruments lay down plenty to keep the ear twitching. Whilst never slowing to funeral pace, Hook & Anchor is able to deliver slower ballads as effectively as their up-tempo toe tappers.
Whilst self-evidently producing music with a target audience in mind, there is enough grit about the sounds to entice audiences who would in the normal course of events run for the hills at the very mention of the genre.
In my view Hook & Anchor is well worth spending some time to enjoy, not least because they are talented creators. Although, like me, you may find a continual play of their début eponymous LP, which came out this month, more than enough of a good thing, that doesn’t mean to say that there are not some highlights worth adding to the ‘party-light’ playlist alongside digging into the full release from time to time.