It’s hard to believe Elliott Smith left this world in 2003, but his music still graces us all. Smith’s old record label (Kill Rock Stars) is marking the 20th anniversary of his album Either/Or by reissuing it with previously unheard bonus material. Either/Or: Expanded Edition will features a bunch of rarities and live tracks. Continue reading →
From a band whose beginnings came from evacuating the path of a hurricane, I found it a little ironic that GIVERS’ latest album, New Kingdom, carries the drama of an impending storm. Moody and synth-heavy, this second effort from the Louisiana indie pop outfit is a stark departure from 2011’s In Light.
While the band circulated from festival to festival this year, I caught a few minutes at Eaux Claires in Jul speak to Tiffany Lamson (percussion, vocals), Taylor Guarsico (guitar, vocals) and Josh LeBlanc (bass) a little bit about New Kingdom.
The journey to Eau Claire (pronounced “Oh Clare”), Wisconsin for the inaugural Eaux Claires (EXC) indiefolk mammoth of a festival started like a freak folk dream that never really stopped. From the time we pulled into the two hour wait line outside the muddy camping grounds Thursday night – during which antsy campers skipped up and down the aisles of cars and coolly flaunted their half-shaven haircuts on cig breaks – the party kept rolling with no signs of slowing down.
Lines of hipster drones sweated outside the gates from 10 a.m. Friday morning until they could break through to music mecca curated by the one and only Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver. (Our staff photog Jeremy cleverly nicknamed the festival #BonnarooIver.) Make no mistake about it; everything on these grounds felt handpicked by JV from the focus on Midwestern artists – every artist on the bill had a personal connection to Vernon, even those of non-Midwestern descent – to the oddly terrifying family zone – more on that tomorrow. Continue reading →
Singer-songwriter Pieta Brown is releasing her new album, Paradise Outlaw on September 30th on Red House Records. Produced by Pieta, with frequent collaborator and partner Bo Ramsey, the album was recorded in four days at Justin Vernon’s April Base studio in Wisconsin. The album features appearances by Amos Lee (who co-wrote and duets on “Do You Know,”, and Brown’s legendary singer-songwriter father, Greg Brown, and an experimental group of players Brown calls the Sawdust Collective.
About the album, Brown says:
On my last album, I was recording near Nashville with top-call studio musicians who I hadn’t worked with before, and exploring the idea of craft and trying to hone in on more classic forms than I had previously. Paradise Outlaw came from a radically different place. I was thinking a lot about freedom, experimentation, poetry, folk songs, bending forms and voices. I also wrote and delivered half the songs on the banjo, which was completely new for me. Growing up around many musicians and artists, often living on the fringe, I have always felt most at home among them. And that’s where I made this recording. Surrounded by friends in an underground Mid-western goldmine.
Below, stream “Flowers of Love,” featuring Vernon on harmonies. It’s a warm, welcoming, laid back song, built on a shuffling beat, delicate banjo picking and an easy back porch, soft wind blowing vibe.
Polica debuted a new song this past weekend at Coachella with special guest Justin Vernon. Below, listen to a new song from Polica’s forthcoming album, “Tiff,” featuring Vernon. Polica are performing at this year’s XPoNential Music Festival Presented by Subaru on Saturday, July 27th. Tomorrow morning at 9AM, Michaela Majoun will announce the initial Wiggins Park lineup for the festival. Below “Tiff,” watch Polica perform “Wandering Star” at Coachella this past weekend.
Standing out among this year’s breakout acts is Field Report, the new folk project from Minnesota native Chris Porterfield. Formerly a member of the Eau Claire band DeYarmond Edison (which also featured Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and members of Megafaun), Porterfield relocated to Milwaukee where he rekindled his love for music . When its eponymous debut was released in September, critics hailed Field Report as an artist to watch for its rich, poetic lyrics and quiet-yet-powerful sound. Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, who Field Report supported on tour this summer, said “There’s such a perfection in the songs that I wonder how long Chris spent.” This week we caught up with Porterfield over the phone about his experience working with a new group of musicians, his surprise at the success of album, and the band’s resolve to remain true to their Wisconsin roots. Continue reading →
Indie-folk hero Justin Vernon of Bon Iver has written a slew of original songs for L.A.-based Silver Lake Chorus to be featured on their forthcoming EP, Wreckage, due out September 18th. Below, stream one of those songs, “From The Snow Tipped Hills.” The song presents a stunning display of sounds forming painterly natural images, presented in a style suggestive of traditional 19th century choral music, all delicately wrought through human voices alone. The 25-member group’s EP is produced by Ben Lee and also includes original songs written by A.C. Newman of The New Pornographers. (Don’t miss Bon Iver in Philly at the Mann Center on Sunday, September 16th. Tickets and information are available here).
Kathleen Edwards performed last night at World Cafe Live. Her new record, Voyageur, was co-produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, and last night’s concert goers were treated to a special appearance from Vernon. Special thanks to the guys from Philly’s Work Drugs for the photos they took during the show. They commented: “Justin definitely played the role of side man, singing and playing guitar on some cuts from the new record.”
Below, you can watch a fan video of the song “12 Bellevue.”