Category Archives: St. Vincent

Crazy Week for New-Folk!

As many of you likely know, this is a crazy week for new-folk, English music, and just music in general. It feels like there have been a billion album releases: Laura Marling, St. Vincent, Slow Club, Peggy Sue, Blitzen Trapper, Girls. I’m still working through reviews, but here are a couple I’ve gotten out recently, followed by some news bits and bites.

Slow Club, Paradise (Thank Folk for That)
Slow Club’s debut album, Yeah, So, is indie-pop perfection. It’s just the right mix of sincerity and whimsy; sweet without being cloying, heartfelt without being trite. Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson captured the topsy-turvy spirit of post-adolescence, from bubbly songs about broken hearts to wistful tunes about new relationships. I figured Slow Club’s follow-up would be more of the same: a little older and wiser, perhaps, but full of their signature folk-pop duets. They’d done so well the first time around, I couldn’t think of any reason to tamper with such a charming formula.

I was dead wrong. One spin of Paradise proved that this sophomore effort is not only different, it’s so much better. Rebecca and Charles have moved far beyond adolescence, switching spunky folk for sophisticated pop. Elements of their earlier sound are certainly present, but even those are more mature: think of songs like Hackney Marsh as I Was Unconscious, It Was a Dream, version 2.0. If Yeah, So was the perfect encapsulation of one phase of life, Paradise shows that same lyrical sensibility in this new one. (Read the rest.)

Dawes, Nothing Is Wrong (For Folk’s Sake)
As the only Californian on the For Folk’s Sake writing roster, I felt it was my duty to grab Nothing Is Wrong by Dawes. Not only are they from Malibu, an oceanside haven near Los Angeles, but they sound more Californian than most other bands from the Golden State. The quartet draws inspiration from the Laurel Canyon music scene (which historically includes such musicians as Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, & Nash), and even named their 2009 debut North Hills. Their sophomore effort still gives a nod to their esteemed SoCal heritage, but moves far beyond homage or imitation – Nothing Is Wrong is truly, and magnificently, their own. (Read the rest.)

Catch Laura Marling performing “The Muse” on New York’s KFUV:

Florence and the Machine have also announced details about their sophomore album, Ceremonials. Here’s the track listing:
‘Only If For The Night’
‘Shake It Out’
‘What The Water Gave Me’
‘Never Let Me Go’
‘Breaking Down’
‘Lover To Lover’
‘Seven Devils’
‘Heartlines’
‘Leave My Body’
‘Spectrum’
‘All This And Heaven Too’
‘What The Water Gave Me’

Peggy Sue have released a video for “Song and Dance” off their new album Acrobats. Though out in the UK as of yesterday, Peggy Sue fans in the US have to wait until October 25th for the Yep Roc release.

Peggy Sue – Song & Dance from Wichita Recordings on Vimeo.

And finally… Summer Camp have released an adorable video for “Better Off Without You”. This is the first video where we actually get a glimpse of Jeremy and Elizabeth, and it’s a charming mix of modern and 80’s footage. And it starts with “Welcome to Condale”, a nod to their fanzine of the same name (and the LA suburb where a lot of their songs take place).

Awesome New Things: Bombay Bicycle Club Video, St. Vincent Single

Bombay Bicycle Club releases video for “The Shuffle”
There was a while there where I listened to Bombay Bicycle Club’s “The Shuffle” fairly obsessively. Who can blame me, really–it’s damn catchy, and it’s the only offering so far from their anticipated third album, A Different Kind of Fix (out August 29th). The video shows them in their mega-star touring mode, using footage from various recent festivals. Needless to say that when I saw them in London a couple years ago (at the Old Queen’s Head), it was a wee bit different.

St. Vincent releases “Surgeon”, first single off Strange Mercy
Rest assured, I’ll be writing more about St. Vincent’s social media campaign for Strange Mercy. For now, I’ll just give you the link to stream/download the ethereal track “Surgeon”. Enjoy!
Strange Mercy is due September 12th, along with a billion other albums (Laura Marling, Peggy Sue, Slow Club), which basically guarantees that my headphones will have to be soldered off my head.

Jeepers Creepers

Any holiday that encourages the wearing of crazy costumes is all right by me. That’s probably why Halloween has always been my favorite holiday: the addition of pumpkins, cool decorations, and free candy puts it over the top on the awesomeness scale. And while I’m not currently loving the music from the Halloween party across the street (I don’t want to learn how to “dougie”, thanks), here are some creeptastic alternatives.

Andrew Bird, “Not a Robot, But a Ghost” (Youtube, live in St. Malo, France)
Animal Collective, “Banshee Beat” (Youtube)
Beirut, “In the Mausoleum” (Youtube, from La Blogotheque)
Bombay Bicycle Club, “Ghost” (Youtube)
Bon Iver, “Creature Fear” (Youtube)
Bowerbirds, “Ghost Life” (Youtube)
Department of Eagles, “Phantom Other” (My friend made this video!)
Eugene McGuinness, “Monsters Under the Bed” (Youtube, official video)
Fanfarlo, “Ghosts” (Youtube, live at SXSW)
First Aid Kit, “Ghost Town” (Youtube, official video)
Florence and the Machine, “My Boy Builds Coffins” (I saw this video when it first came out!)
Girls, “Ghost Mouth” (Youtube, live in Dublin)
Laura Marling, “Night Terror” (official videos one one and two)
Matthew and the Atlas, “Deadwood” (Youtube, live in Belfast)
The Middle East, “Blood” (Youtube, beautiful fan video)
Noah and the Whale covering Daniel Johnston, “Devil Town” (Youtube, live in LA)
St. Vincent, “Laughing with a Mouth of Blood” (Youtube, official video)
Summer Camp, “Ghost Train” (Youtube, official video)
Talking Heads, “Psycho Killer” (Youtube)
Timber Timbre, “Demon Host” (Youtube, official video, and worth the repeat from my last playlist)

Also check out Peggy Sue’s very appropriate “Horror Move Marathon”–especially if that’s what you did this weekend.

Horror Movie Marathon by brilliantlydifferent