Tag Archives: alt country

More sounds from the New Folk

Well, morning has passed me by but as always the day has been soundtracked by some new folk sounds… Here’s a snapshot of what has been entering my ears of late. Plenty here to get those Saturday morning feet a stomping! Enjoy and don’t forget to drop your LitRock suggestions into my previous post… I plan to post some of your suggestions real soon.

 

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Little Lion Man – Mumford and Sons

This a sweet slab of new British folk from four young men with names that were begging for them to come together and make music. Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane marry gutsy, old-time folk with their love of bluegrass and country. And on Little Lion Man, they capture the live fire that they are becoming renowned for. let’s hope they hit these shores soon… Their debut album Sigh No More is out now.

 

 

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Soul of a Man – Rambling Jack Elliott

Rambling Jack Elliott is one of the final links to the old American folk tradition. As Johnny Cash once said, nobody has covered more ground and made more friends and sung more songs than Rambling Jack. And in the tradition of the folk troubadour, he has just released a new album of Depression Era blues songs to pay homage to a handful of the songs that have fed him over the years. This track, originally penned by Blind Willie Johnson, is a song that haunts me every time I hear it. The lyric, I’m going to ask the question, answer if you can/ If anybody here can tell me, what is the soul of a man?  cuts straight through me and Rambling Jack has the life-weary voice to deleiver it with conviction.

 

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The Wrong Road – Steve Kilbey

Originally recorded for one of the tribute albums to the late great GW McLennan (although it sadly never made it on to the finished album), this is Kilbey at his stripped back best, capturing the elegance of McLennan’s lyric. This song is a major contender for the LitRock list that I was talking about recently too, with Grant superbly name-checking Dickens: 

Started out Oliver, ended up Fagin/ Don’t you worry, it’s my problem

It still hurts that there will be no new McLennan songs…

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Take a ride… the sounds of Kerouac, Cohen & Bon Iver

As the clouds roll in and the humidity continues to rise, dip your toes into the sounds of these new folk sounds. Take a ride to the rugged coast of Kerouac’s Big Sur with the Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard; be mesmerised by the messianic tones of Cohen as he tames the crowd at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival and rug up in the snow storm of Bon Iver’s Blood Bank. You won’t regret it…

 

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Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard – Big Sur

Taken from the soundtrack to the new Kerouac film, One Fast Move or I’m Gone, this is a sweet slice of folk from the pages of Big Sur. And while Kerouac was more of a jazz man, I can see him driving along some mid-west highway, arm out the window, nodding approvingly. There is an ache in both Farrar & Gibbard’s voice that lends an authenticity to Kerouac’s words and the arrangements distill Kerouac’s bummed-out prose beautifully.

 

 

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Leonard Cohen – Suzanne

Forty summers ago, Cohen stepped on stage at the Isle of Wight festival. His set followed Jimi Hendrix (touted as one of the best of Hendrix’s career) and the audience was close to rioting. Standing in the centre of what had become a political maelstrom, Cohen looking like a ragged messiah, stood undaunted and delivered a set of songs and poems that brought the crowd to a stand still. For the first time, this set has now been released along with DVD footage of the concert and a documentary by Murray Lerner. After his mesmerising tour earlier this year, this is on the must have list.

 

 

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Bon Iver – Blood Bank

After the release of the much lauded For Emma, Forever Ago, many wondered whether Bon Iver mainmain, Justin Vernon would be able to capture the beauty of his lovelorn debut. Blood Bank puts all those doubts to rest… The warmth of Vernon’s voice sits somewhere in the chest cavity and reverberates, longingly. Images of stacked up cups of blood, snow storms and secrets that fuck with your honour are pieced together to create a song that sweeps you away. Breaking up has never sounded so good…

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The New Folk pt III

Right now, the Spring sky is as wide open as the weekend. And as always, I’m colouring my Saturday morning with a burst of that new folk sound. Hope it paints your sky as big as you like…

 

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Ten Paces Away – The Gin Club

The belting first single from Brisbane’s folk/country/rock collective The Gin Club’s last album Junk. These guys are something to see live, with four (or is it five?) vocalists/lyricists, leading the band through country rave ups, folk ballads and staright up rock ‘n’ roll. Personally, I love it when Ben Salter (also of Giants of Science & Wilson Pickers fame)  takes the wheel as he does here on Ten Paces Away. He is without a doubt, one of Brisbane’s best singer/songwriters. You can catch them live at The Zoo in Brisbane on November 27!

 

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Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show

Drawing on the long history of hillbilly, bluegrass, folk & country, Old Crow Medicine Show, have gone from busking on street corners to playing sold out shows with the likes of Merle Haggard, The Felice Brothers & Dolly Parton. They are one of those bands that makes you want to drink good whiskey and sing loud… ‘rock me mama like a wagon wheel…’

 

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Lover of the Bayou – Mudcrutch

This is Tom Petty’s pre-heartbreaker band and man do they rock. Their debut album from last year (that’s right… it took em over thirty years to get around to making it) is raw and filled with some of the best guitar playing you will ever hear. And just check these lyrics…

‘I was raised and swam with the crocodile/snake eyes taught me the mojo style/suckled and weaned on chicken bile/I’m the lover of the bayou’

Tom has always been the master of southern-fried rock and this rave up of The Byrds classic is up there with his best.

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The New Folk pt II

Well to tell the truth, these folk have been putting out great music for the last decade or so (in Lloyd’s case the last three and a bit). But not one of these artists is trading on nostalgia and for me that is one of the things that is crucial to longevity. So here’s my soundtrack to this perfect Saturday morning… Sparklehorse, Lloyd Cole & Gareth Liddiard (The Drones), I hope it helps brighten yours.

 

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Home Coming Queen – Sparklehorse

This is from the first Sparklehorse album, vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot. Sparklehorse mainman, Mark Linkous has been described as defiantly surreal. And like the surrealist shapeshifter, his work has defied genre and boundary. Most recently, Linkous teamed up with renowned DJ, Dangermouse and dark master of film, David Lynch for the Dark Night of the Soul project. Just love the warmth of this song…

 

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Late Night, Early Town – Lloyd Cole

Most people hear the name Lloyd Cole and expect to hear and the Commotions in the same breath, but the truth is, Lloyd has released a string of brilliant solo albums since the Commotions days ended in the late 80’s. This song is taken from the ridiculously underrated 2003 album, Music in a Foreign Language. And it provides a great taste of things to come, as Lloyd makes his way to Australia in November for a show at The Powerhouse on November 7. I have my ticket… what about you?

 

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Sharkfin Blues – Gareth Liddiard (The Drones)

Known more for their cathartic blues rave ups, this stripped back version of Shark Fin Blues from the sublimely titled 2005 album, Wait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By, highlights the beautiful menace of this song… They’re coming fin by fin until the whole boat sinks. Beautiful stuff!

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The New Folk

I am loving the new folk/country sound that is currently being embraced by so many bands, both old and new. Here’s a taste of some new sounds from some of the artists who are making waves in this Lost Shark’s world.

 

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One More American Song – The Duke and the King

Another slice of brilliance from the super talented Simone Felice. Felice toured as a poet for over a decade and has penned two novels alongside his songwriting credits for The Felice Brothers and now The Duke and the King, and his work as a writer is evident here… this is lyrically superb. This is from their debut album Nothing Gold Can Stay.

 

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The First Days of Spring – Noah and the Whale

Charlie Fink is a man with a broken heart. This fact is not hidden in any way shape or form on the album The First Days of Spring. Fink has also turned his talents to producing a film of the same name. This may well earn a place as one of the great breakup albums of all time… lovelorn and luxurious.

 

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You Can Move Back Here – Richmond Fontaine

This track is from this Oregon quartet’s supremely titled eighth long player, ‘We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River’. Singer/songwriter, Willy Vlautin, is another man with two novels under his belt (Motel Life and Northlines). Vlautin’s literary musings combined with the bands sonic palette have produced some breathtaking songs during their career… can’t wait for this album to hit our shores.

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