February 20, 2018

Holly Miranda: Mutual Horse

NYC based singer Holly Miranda flew to LA to record the basics for her new Mutual Horse, her fist foray into orchestral pop with an indie twist. Finishing touches were made at Dangerbird Studio in her hometown. Miranda kept it close to home with a song for her mother (Sing Like My Life) and fiddling with the wireless in search nice to listen to (On the Radio). There is always a hint of jazz in he phrasing, which could have got her into trouble singing the Neil Young classic When Your Lonely Heart Breaks, but she pulled it off admirably.

Mutual Horse is an almost shy album, but it opens up a little bit more after a few spins. A hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. Holly Miranda has been flying mostly below the radar for 20 years, drawing praise from her peers and performing with Lou Reed, The XX, and Lesley Gore. She can hand over an impressive list of guest musicians: Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond), Josh Werner (Dr. John, Lee Scratch Perry), Jared Samuel (Yoko Ono), Jim Kirby Fairchild (Grandaddy, Modest Mouse), Kyp Malone (TV On the Radio), Maria Eisen (Underground System), and Matthew Morgan (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse). It's high time for the general public to take note of her work.

The Radio Set: "Gotta Crush on You" video

Watch the new video by The Radio Set for their latest single Gotta Crush on You. The Manchester New Wave band recorded the song with Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order) in the producer's seat.

I am Oak: "Will I Wake" video

Watch the new I am Oak video for Will I Wake. The Dutch folk band relied on the guitar when composing new material, but main man Thijs Kuijken switched to piano for this one, making it even more tender than their previous output.

February 19, 2018

The Stephen Stanley Band: Jimmy & the Moon

Roots rock band have to mean it or things will apart pretty damn quickly. But when it's done right, it can be great and heartfelt. Canadian quartet The Stephen Stanley Band are pushing all the right buttons on their new album Jimmy & the Moon, with rollicking songs about legendary coffee house (Under the Mynah Bird - this should ring a bell for Neil Young and Rick James fans) and an inebriated stranger raving about Earth's companion in the title track.

The core quartet called in a few favours to fill out the sound and lend a hand with the vocals. Birthday Clown is turned into a sad but hilarious send-off song and Next To me sonds decidedly Iirish with call-and-response vocals about making amends and settling the score. Jimmy & the Moon is a worthy addition to the stack of albums marked "road trip music". Upbeat, funny, sad and with enough layers and lyrical twists to press repeat. Producer Hugh Christopher Brown made sure it all sounds energetic and close to what they sound like on stage.

Words about music (469): Joe Satriani

I can embarrass myself very easily on guitar. It's funny because people say to me I can play anything; I'm God on the guitar. But I could make a big list of everything I can't play... I'm grateful that people don't notice that.

Joe Satriani