Monday, 26 November 2012

Annie Dressner: Strangers Who Knew Each Other's Names

Annie Dressner recently got in touch with me to see if I could have a listen to her new album, Strangers Who Knew Each Other's Names. With its ditsy-pop feel and her sugary-sweet voice, much like Zooey Deschanel's in She & Him, I felt more than happy to oblige.

Throughout the record, the happy guitar strums and melodies conjure up imagery of cycling in the springtime or picnics in the park, despite the lyrics often dipping into a pool of sadness, such as "I smoked a cigarette so I could taste you on my breath" and "I'll look for you in me". For me, this is really what makes the album listenable and loveable however - there's a journey to be had when listening through the album.

So, if you like Alessi's Ark or Jenny Lewis, you'll probably like Annie Dressner too. And if you're missing the sun's yellow rays coming in your windows, at least you can pop this record on and have it flow out of your headphones instead!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Matt Corby, Bear's Den and Lucy Mason: Live

(Clockwise: Lucy Mason, Bear's Den and Matt Corby)
On Friday night I went to see Matt Corby live at HMV Institute Birmingham. It might have been a cold, cruel night outside but inside The Temple, the top-floor room in the venue, it was a night filled with awe-inspiring, goose-bump-inducing music.

Lucy Mason was a lovely start to the evening, with a sweet voice and pretty dress (I want it!), and Bear's Den then followed. After spending most of their set wondering why I recognised the lead singer's voice, they played one of their older songs - Don't Let the Sun Steal You Away - and I had an epiphany; realising they're a more mature, more talented form of Cherbourg, with a new name to match. I'm putting their EP on my Christmas wish-list as we speak!

Last up was the headliner himself, Matt Corby. I now realise in my first post on Matt, I may have only revealed the tip of the iceberg; Matt's music is a lot more than simply another Bon Iver/James Vincent McMorrow-alike, demonstrated professionally through his style variations: from the soft, sweet intro onto the stage to the face-melting, stadium-worthy songs, he's a man of many talents. That, plus his band, and his swapping of guitar to piano to vocals and the use of looper pedals means he's one to definitely see live if you can. However, as a jet-setting Australian, you might have to wait a little longer than usual!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Izzi Dunn: Visions

Recently I was sent a copy of Izzi Dunn's upcoming E.P. "Visions"; a compilation of four soulful, heart-wrenching and yet surprisingly slick songs. A wonderful cellist, and softly-sung artist too, the stripped-back mini-album may be raising the sophisticated side of my musical palate a little, but I'm really enjoying it. Take a listen to the above track, and make sure to put her EP on your late Christmas wishlists; it doesn't come out until 21st January 2013.

Although her website doesn't seem to be up and running, you can find out more at her MySpace here.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Voluntary Butler Scheme: Brain Freeze

They may be a brand-new discovery to me, but after seeing them live last week, I've found their pretty successful back-catalogue too! Their latest release, Brain Freeze, is as colourful as the rest, and with an amazing array of instruments (and of course, talented players), they're worth giving some of your time to. Especially when most of the Top 40's music is made by computers and auto-tune (not a cynic or anything). Listen to more at their website here or head on over to my YouTube channel, I went on a little Voluntary Butler Scheme favouriting spree...