Category Archives: Mumford & Sons

News Bits and Bobs


New addiction: Andrew Davie’s new outfit Bear’s Den. Check out a live version of song “Pompeii” above.

I know I’m not great about updating this blog, but this is bad–even for me. Thankfully I have an excuse: I was in London! That’s right, London. The homeland. The mother ship. While I was reliving study abroad memories, seeing friends new and old, and hanging out at Borough Market, a lot of cool stuff happened in folk world. Here are just some of the news items I missed.

Communion artist Michael Kiwanuka toured with Adele earlier this year–no small feat! He’s now announced details of forthcoming EP Home Again, which is set to be released January 1st. It’s short and sweet, with just three tracks:

‘Home Again’ (click to hear his performance on Lauren Laverne’s BBC6 Music show)
‘Now I’m Seeing’
‘They Say I’m Doing Just Fine’

Three Blind Wolves have released a free acoustic EP, The Maybe Forest. It features an acoustic version of “Emily Rose” as well as a bunch of tracks I don’t know, and you can get it here. The band has also been in the US (not the West Coast, dammit), and their last date on that tour is tomorrow night at Star Bar in Atlanta.

The fabulous King Charles has released a video for the official recording of “Ivory Road”–and while I think I like the Black Cab Session a bit better, it’s pretty exciting that an LP is on the way.

    Mumford & Sons have two new tracks floating around–including one from the upcoming film adaptation of Wuthering Heights. That track is called “Enemy”, and you can listen below. The other track is “Ghosts That We Knew”, and was debuted in Philadelphia on 104.5 FM.
    And finally, I reviewed Florence and the Machine’s new album Ceremonials on The Owl Mag. Here’s a snippet:

    ‘For an artist like Florence Welch, the second album is tricky. Will it catapult her into the Top 40? Will she maintain even an ounce of indie cred, or be relegated to guilty pleasure playlists? As songs from Lungs continue to haunt movie trailers and car commercials, Florence and the Machine appears to be moving dangerously close to ubiquity. For me, then, sophomore effort Ceremonials begs the question: can I still own my girl crush?

    I realize that’s probably not the question running through your mind, but bear with me. With her crazy red hair, kooky style, and songs about stabbing girls’ eyes out, Flo is endearingly eccentric–a refreshing and indie-appropriate superstar. Though flanked by a self-professed Machine, she and debut album Lungs never felt like products of one. Ceremonials had a lot to live up to: it needed to bring the same quirky grandeur as its predecessor, or my admiration would end up in one of her boys’ coffins.’

    (Read More)

Bridge School Benefit Announces Line-Up: Mumford & Sons, Arcade Fire, and More

The 25th annual Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View (which takes place October 23rd and 24th) has just announced its lineup. As usual, it’s a great selection of big-time bands and artists:

Arcade Fire
Foo Fighters (Day 2)
Beck (Day 1)
Eddie Vedder
Mumford & Sons
Tony Bennett (Day 2)
Los Invisibles featuring Carlos Santana
Jenny Lewis
Diana Krall (Day 1)
Dave Matthews
Neil Young

International Markets: The Upside for UK Music

Music royalty orgnization PRS for Music published its annual Adding up the UK music industry report today, presenting dismal figures for 2010. Even live music revenues, which had been on an impressive rise over the past several years, fell 11.8% between 2009 and 2010. UK industry revenues overall fell 4.8%. Yikes.

Is there anything good in a landscape that seems as bleak as London fog? Well, yes. Will Page, the chief economist for PRS for Music, advises in his report that the UK industry should ‘get small’ and ‘get abroad’. The first theme involves “reducing the transaction costs of managing metadata”, which I won’t pretend I understand. I’ll leave that topic for the grown-ups.

The second nugget of wisdom, though, I will happily discuss. The report found that royalties societies in the UK (like PRS for Music) did significantly better than those in the US (like ASCAP) over the 2010 year. Page acknowledges the huge potential for growth in exports, including in emerging markets like Brazil, India, and China. Page writes: “According to the BPI, UK artists’ share of global sales is estimated to be 11.8 percent in 2010, with one-in-ten sales in the US being a UK act and up to one-in-five in markets like Germany and Australia.”

While the report doesn’t talk about folk/new-folk/acoustic music specifically, I’d like to think that some of this growth has to do with the very artists I write about so frequently. While Adele may be queen in terms of sales figures (she was “responsible for almost 10% of all artist albums sold in the first four months of the year”), it shouldn’t be ignored that Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More hit number 2 on the Billboard 200. (And performed at the Grammys. And graced the cover of SPIN.) Their rise to the top is the gift that keeps on giving, through both their exposure-building US tours (bringing along artists like King Charles and Matthew and the Atlas) and the efforts of label/club night Communion. Even buzzy indie rock darlings the Vaccines grew out of the same tiny music establishment in southwest London, Bosun’s Locker (back when Justin Young was Jay Jay Pistolet, and shared a flat with Marcus Mumford).

While other UK folk acts have yet to reach the same status as the waistcoat-wearing Sons, they are certainly on the way. Noah and the Whale grabbed attention for their polished new sound and teaming up with director-photographer Autumn de Wilde on “Life is Life”. Alessi’s Ark made the New York Times at SXSW. Matthew and the Atlas and James Vincent McMorrow recorded for Daytrotter. Emmy the Great’s Virtue got a review in Pitchfork. Slow Club made waves (and Mashable) by debuting new material on Turntable.fm (with Paste magazine).

These are just the things that came to mind, but the fact remains that these artists are much closer to US recognition than they’ve ever been before. I can casually talk about Laura Marling or Johnny Flynn without getting blank stares, and I can buy the Communion compilation in Mojo magazine at an airport. I no longer have to scour Youtube for new-folk material–I can just click on iTunes (or Spotify). Back when I first found this whole ‘scene’, things like the Black Cab Sessions, Bandstand Busking, and even Jeremy Warmsley’s Welcome to Our TV Show (and the later version, Jeremy Warmsley’s New Thing) were about all I had. From my perspective, the rise in popularity since those early days (three-ish years ago) seems massive.

Furthermore, another BPI survey found that 83% of people are proud of the achievements of British music. While I’m sure they were dealing with Brits proper, I’m pretty proud of those achievements, too. For even though these new-folk artists often acknowledge American musical influences, there is something quintessentially and inescapably English (or Scottish, or Irish, depending) about them. So by all means, UK music industry–follow the advice of Mr. Page and ‘get abroad’. I’ll welcome you with open arms.

Matthew and the Atlas on Daytrotter

I just discovered this, but it was posted July 5th. Better late than never, eh? Check out the Daytrotter session for my beloved Matthew and the Atlas, which includes recordings of “To the North”, “I Will Remain”, “Come Out of the Woods”, and “Within the Rose”.

And while you’re at it, listen to the new Mumford & Sons track that’s been floating around, tentatively called “Home”:

One day I’ll get a review up….

School and impending sickness (go away, sniffles!) have taken over my life, so I haven’t gotten my Railroad Revival Tour review done yet. Massive fail, I know. Pictures are on my flickr (see the sidebar), and this video of the three bands singing Woody Guthrie’s “This Train Is Bound for Glory” just came out today. Enjoy!

I Love London

In preparation for the Royal Wedding, I am currently drinking London-imported tea from my Union Jack teapot while wearing a Union Jack t-shirt and a Cambridge sweatshirt. I tried to find crumpets today, but Safeway didn’t seem to have them, so I’m stuck with English muffins. And did you know England’s favorite dish is actually chicken tikka masala? Guess what I had for dinner.

If this all sounds crazy and/or pathetic, you’re entirely right. I haven’t gone far enough into wedding insanity for it to be legit and slightly impressive, but I’ve probably thought about it more than the average Californian. As my Facebook news feed gets filled with other study abroad “I miss London” statuses, though, I feel a bit validated: for this one day, we’re all allowed to feel like pseudo British expats.

As such, I’d like to honor the couple (and my own fond memories) by compiling a short England playlist. These songs may not have an iota of meaning for Will and Kate, but they do for me.


“Goodbye England, Covered In Snow”–Laura Marling
“Eyeless In Holloway”, Johnny Flynn
“Say No!”, The Agitator
“Oh England”, King Charles
“Mistress England”, Emmy the Great (duh)
“I Love London”, Crystal Fighters
“Monsters Under the Bed”, Eugene McGuinness
“A Foggy Day (In London Town)”, Ella Fitzgerald & Joe Pass
“Mornington Crescent”, Belle & Sebastian
“London Town”, Laura Marling
“Memory of a Free Festival”, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros (David Bowie cover)
“A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square”, Vera Lynn
“Bad Things Coming, We Are Safe”, Emmy the Great
“Queen of the 21st Century”, Golden Silvers
“Wayne Rooney”, Johnny Flynn
“London”, Ben Howard
“We Are Free”, Jay Jay Pistolet
“Bonkers”, Dizzee Rascal (this will not make ANY sense unless I studied abroad with you)
“Winter Winds”, Mumford & Sons

And finally…“London Calling”, The Clash

Enjoy the festivities!