New Music: Fisticuffs – “Would You” (Single)

Fisticuffs is Jordan Kurtz: former drummer for Saskatoon band We Were Lovers, pianist and vocalist of Saskatoon’s Tuxedo Mask, and sometime drummer for his brother Scott Kurtz in Boycott Scott.  He is, as The Sheaf notes, “one busy dude.”  He is also the writer of excellent songs like “Would You,” which is the harbinger of an in-progress EP from the band.

In addition to Kurtz, the single features a number of other musicians on trumpet, bells, drums, mellotron, and a few other sundry instruments.  The effect of all these talented musicians playing together is a single that contains beautiful harmonies, and an atmosphere that moves between quiet introspection and a driving desire to move forward.  It’s quite a span for the six-minute track, but never one that feels contrived or false.

It is, indeed, a refreshing work from a talented singer-songwriter, and one that I think you should hear immediately.  So, just follow me for that…

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Music for a Rainy Day: The Girls from the North Country

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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Mailbag: Elisa Flynn – 19th Century Songs

Before beginning, I have to confess that I have been criminally negligent with Elisa Flynn’s 19th Century Songs.  Elisa e-mailed me a rather long time ago to tell me about the album’s release on Bandcamp, and – despite my thorough enjoyment of the album – I always seemed to forget I had it when I sat down to throw together a post.  And so, for that, I’m sorry!

But I am also sorry to you, reader, for keeping such an exciting recording all to myself!  Here’s the scoop:

Elisa Flynn is a singer-songwriter from Brooklyn who writes songs that walk a fine line between beauty and danger.  They treat on topics like the serial killer Dr. H.H. Holmes, William Tecumseh Sherman, and a ship held fast in the ice.  It’s an impressive collection of concepts and images that all, rather surprisingly, create a wonderfully immersive recording.  Let’s have a look:

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Jason Heath and the Greedy Souls Cover Springsteen

The gang over at Jason Heath and the Greedy Souls sent me over their recent cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy),” and I thought I’d pass it along to you.  The band has some special reason to perform this cover, as it includes Jason Federici, son of E. Street Band member Danny Federici.  It’s a great cover, and one of the songs that my Dad and I would definitely have listened to if he were here today.  Follow me to have a listen, and download the track:

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Music for a Rainy Day: Umber – Morning’s Pass

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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