Saintseneca is a band of lifelong friends from Columbus, Ohio who write songs that move easily from tender to frenetic and back again. With pop-folk songs built on traditional, Appalachian instruments (banjos, fiddles, dulcimers, and “other forms of frontporch percussion”), Saintseneca’s sound is both modern and traditional. And mesmerizing, at times… it wouldn’t do to not mention that their new album – Last – is an impressive blast of hungry, vigorous, even anthemic pop-folk. It’s awesome, and you should definitely follow me for more information…
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The Girls from the North Country are a pair of Parisian singer-songwriters – Paloma Gil and Louise Hayat (also of Black Ivy)- that I came across over at Live at Carlone’s when researching some other entries. Their cover of Ryan Adams’ “Oh My Sweet Carolina” was so awesome, however, that I had to abandon all research and write this post. (And given how scarce I’ve been around here, you know it’s gotta be good…)
The Girls’ cover immediately grabs you with its rich, warm harmonies, as well as its unexpected gravity. Paloma and Louise sing with an earnestness that feels well beyond their young years. Indeed, in Louise’s captivating “Sail Every Sea!” (also below), the pair produce such a depth of atmosphere and feeling that it’s hard to remember that these songs are the work of a young singer-songwriter.
Why not come have a listen and see for yourself?
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Umber is Alex Steward: an English musician who records beautiful, delicate ambient music in a bedroom-studio out in the English countryside. With an approach to craft that reminds me of fellow countrymen – Message to Bears – Umber’s Morning’s Pass conjures the sleep-filled moments of the early morning, the coming of the dawn, and the final slide into waking. Here’s a bit more from the release: “Morning’s Pass resists the cliché of instrumental builds by mirroring the very sensation of the sun rising. Rather than developing in loudness, Alex subtly encourages then winds down the music – just as dawn signals the arrival of day, but also the gentle recession of the night. As a result, the listener is happily suspended in an intoxicating and immersive experience, hovering in mist-covered horizon normally only witnessed by the early-risers.”
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Founded in 2006 by Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky, The Low Anthem are an indie-folk band from Providence, RI who use an amazing collection of traditional instruments (clarinet, saw (my personal favorite), and dulcimer) in combination with a rock setup to achieve a truly stirring sound. The band – which now includes one-time NASA tech Jocie Adams and multi-instrumentalist Mat Davidson – also use multi-part harmonies that attest to their shared interest in gospel, blues, and folk. The result is a sound that is simultaneously engages both our shared sense of Americana and our desire to hear something fresh.
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Mondrian are a band from Paris who sing in English, make surreal videos, and dabble in styles that range from ’60s-’70s California pop to Folk to hints of Synthpop. That’s the nutshell version, but, honestly, these labels fail to capture the varied sounds of Mondrian’s first EP: Pop Shop, or the quirkiness of their visual style.
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