Mat Gibson - Forest Fire

Mat Gibson

Forest Fire

Released: Oct 3rd 2011

Genre: Folk/Country

Label: Clubhouse Records

Rating: 4.4/5

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By: Dan Titcombe

Mat Gibson’s album; Forest Fire is a 7 track LP which offers a beautiful and
relaxing dose of folk music.

Every track on this album is worth a listen – but if you only had time to listen to a
few here’s in my opinion the top 3 songs from the album.

The first track on the album; ‘Lord Only Knows’ really displays Mat’s passion
for his music and adept skill with his acoustic guitar – as Mat sings about not
worrying about a problem that can’t be changed. ‘Lord Only Knows‘ is a relatable
track which gives you an instant connection to this Mat Gibson.

The self titled track; ‘Forest Fire’ is a highlight as Mat spills his heart and soul into
the vocals which truly evoke some emotion and combined with his guitar and
other various percussion instruments this song is given real character and spirit.

Where Demons Go’ is the last song on the album and what a song to end on. This
track a little more rock-orientated than the other tracks on the album, it has a
real lets-get-up-and-do-something attitude about it. Mat Gibson is obviously
using a semi-acoustic guitar to create this type of atmosphere – starting off soft
and gradually building up until the electric side kicks in and the song just stands
up and flaunts.

If you like Johnny Cash, City and Colour or even White Snake you will love Mat
Gibson, Forest Fire could be the album of his career so far!

Mat Gibson – Yonder Burning Trees

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Flogging Molly // LCR // Norwich

6 November 2011

By Josef Dobraszczyk

Before Flogging Molly hit the stage tonight in a packed LCR, the air is already teeming with a drunken anticipation, pints clutched close to chests as anyone who’s seen this 7 piece folk-punk outfit before know what sort of mayhem to expect.

Dave King // Flogging Molly

And what a beautiful mayhem it is. As they hit the stage blasting straight through Swagger, the floor erupts into waves of leaping, crowdsurfing mentalists, perfectly formed in chaotic ensemble, as the besieged photographers beyond the barricades have to be whisked away by security. The band walk straight into a Pogues cover, paying homage to their genre-fusing spiritual forebears, but from then on stamp out a massive Flogging Molly sized boot to the face.

Frontman Dave King’s unique style comes across every part like a stockbroker having spent twenty years in a soul destroying desk-job, then finally deciding to cut loose, only to release all the repressed emotion in a neverending burst of insanity, whipping up a storm as he goes. In the midst of this he somehow manages to hold down a melodic composure, which unshackles this eclectic band around him, allowing them to freestyle their very own musical hurricane; the accordion rolls, violin sweeps and the banjo bursts and blasts, to devastating effect. The band spin out riff soaked belters like Devil’s Dancefloor and Drunken Lullabies, rebel yell anthems in What’s Left Of The Flag, and of course, a fair few songs from their surprisingly underwhelming new album Speed Of Darkness. Not ones to just coast into middle age, having been at it for the last 14 years, Flogging Molly attack these tunes with a joie de vivre that has defined their career. As such tracks like Don’t Shut ‘Em Down take on a vibrant bounce, otherwise lacking in the recording.

It’s not all full speed ahead for the band though, with their banter they take the time to charm and entertain, bringing the crowd and the band together as one, in the manner of true performers. Make no mistake, Flogging Molly are genuine heavyweights, racking up gold records, touring incessantly and making main-stage festival appearances the world across, throughout it all though, they still manage to carry a warmth of character as if they were playing a friday night down your local.

True to their vibe as a band of the people, Dave King is outside afterwards signing tickets for the assembled cacophony of grinning drunken madmen; ambling, rambling and howling tunes into the wind after a night of folk-punk mastery.

Tyrannosaurus Alan – S.T.B (feat. Jak Brown)

After a hard year of touring, Tyrannosaurus Alan have just unleashed their first new song since their debut album Campaign released last year. S.T.B sounds like the Medway act’s usual aggressive ska punk, debatably their best track yet, filled with some great horn parts, shout along chorus, and some brilliant guest vocals from Claypigeon’s Jak Brown. This is only the first taster from the band’s next album, if more songs as good as this is what we can expect then they are set to release something pretty special. S.T.B is out now via their bandcamp page as pay what you want.

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The Felice Brothers – Fire at the Pageant

Fire at the Pageant is the latest single from New York folk rock band The Felice Brothers. This messy track on first listen makes you slightly question the acts musical ability, the song structure and instrumentation appear to be a bit all over the place, but once the song ends it leaves you wanting more. The addictive chorus makes you want to put the song on repeat. Sometimes a messy sounding track can lead to being a fantastic track.

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The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Like A Shotgun

US ska punk legends The Mighty Mighty Bosstones return once again with a brand new album The Magic of Youth. First single is the enjoyable Like A Shotgun, sounding just like classic Bosstones, the song is just as catchy as The Impression That I Get, get your dancing shoes on and get listening. Like A Shotgun is available to download now, with the new album coming out early December.

The Magic Lantern - A World In A Grain of Sand

The Magic Lantern

A World In A Grain Of Sand

Released: June 6 2011

Genre:  Experimental Folk

Label: Hectic Eclectic Records

Rating: 4.5/5

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By Diether Scholten

The Magic Lantern just released a new album, and as if that wasn´t enough they´ve pretty much decided to release a new style of music with it. The music that accompanies this album has been labeled as “experimental folk”. Probably everyone can agree on the folk- but the experimental part can only be down to the vast comprehensiveness of the album.

The opening track, Somebody Told Me, brings a Noah and the Whale-like atmosphere to the table due to a folky cavaco and handclapping. This is contradicted by the melancholy and dream-like vocals present throughout Cut From Stone and Laura’s Song.

The Ship That Washed Away begins in a similar style as Somebody Told Me – but halfway through shades of jazz are introduced, later followed by an eruption of wild, uncontrolled avant-garde-like jazz – evoking memories of the crescendo to A Day in the Life by The Beatles.

A more calming composition is offered though Guilty Hearts, which opens with some beautiful cello-work which, again at the halfway point, bursts into a bombastic ode to percussion and the cavaco.
The Magic Lantern demonstrate their swinging diversity in Shine a Light, and deliver fast-paced guitar-jazz in Patriots.

A Man & His Dog gives a break from heavy instrumentals – as it focuses on storytelling .The Bridge is a symphonic and harmonious composition featuring the vocals of Jamie Doe, Fred Thomas, Lucy Railton and Phil Stevenson – accompanied by Dave Schulman’s clarinet, a true ode to the band.

After all this diversity the album comes to a closure with some melancholic slow-jazz in Romeo and Juliet

Well, all these different genres and styles mixed into 11 tracks makes for a joyful listening experience, but surely all the craziness will distort your regular listening pleasure? The answer is that no, it won’t. The transitions within each song – and between songs for that matter – are wonderfully composed. Despite the dynamicity of A World In A Grain of Sand it sounds as natural as your day-to-day folk.

A simple conclusion would be that The Magic Lantern really did try to put the entire world in one grain of sand. Whether or not you can handle the entire world in such a small amount of listening time is down to the listener.

The Magic Lantern – The Bridge

Puzzle Muteson - En Garde

Puzzle Muteson

En Garde

Released: June 6 2011

Genre: Folk / Acoustic

Label: Bedroom Community

Rating: 4/5

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By: Alexandra Lyon

En Garde is the debut album of an artist who, until now, has remained relatively unknown.

Puzzle Muteson, hailing from the Isle of Wight, was noticed by his music teacher for his flawless guitar technique and extraordinary voice. Similar to the indie crooner Damien Rice, his songs are ruthless in that they pull the trigger on all possible emotions of the listener.

Guitar patterns similar to those used by Rice are prevalent in I Once Was a Horse, and the title track, En Garde. Though the album is not one to rejoice and dance to, it is without doubt beautiful, bizarre and completely original. In several songs, his voice transforms; and more power emerges. In Water Rising, for example, his voice is reminiscent of Gary Jules’, in his version of Mad World, featured on the soundtrack to the 2003 film, Donnie Darko. This change in tone proves that Puzzle Muteson is dynamic, novel, and a breath of fresh air to the acoustic/folk genre.

The opening track, I Once Was a Horse utilises the sounds of the outdoors throughout, alongside a beautiful finger-picked guitar melody and several twinkly chords played in the higher registers of a piano. Through this, we are really exposed to his rural roots, and how they may have inspired him in his music. Towards the end of the track, haunting choral female vocals are added, though they remain fairly muted. It is a beautiful, understated showcase of vocal ability and instrumental simplicity.

A track to look out for is Medusa, as the opening of the track introduces an electric acoustic guitar, giving a different, almost Biffy Clyro-esque feel to the music. The drums and string instruments used in the track are similar in style to those used by Florence Welch in the majority of her tracks, so we are enlightened as to who could influence Puzzle Muteson and how he does his own take on alternative music.

Alphabet Eyes and Glover are fairly similar in pace and sound, both using not much more than the austere layering of Puzzle Muteson’s admittedly impeccable vocal, an acoustic guitar, and a piano. Glover however, does differ in that it employs the use of a backing vocal in several places; a strong male one at that.

The bonus track appears aptly, a significant end to a significant album. The lyrics are penned sublimely, hard-hitting and still gentle. This track is similar to several written by Manchester Orchestra, mainly in the texture of Puzzle Muteson’s vocal and melancholy guitar riffs. The melody is disjunct in places, giving an odd vibe, and random use of percussion instruments like tambourines give a childish, innocent feel to the track.

Overall, as a debut album, this particular record is stunning. Its simplicity doesn’t detract from any expectations that anyone may have had of the album – in fact its simple tones enhance the crisp, unfaltering vocal throughout. A perfect example of hipster break-up music, this album perfectly captures the emotions of a troubled mind; fans of acoustic music are in for a treat when they come to hear this enchanting selection of tracks by a man from a humble island off the south coast of England.

Puzzle Muteson – En Garde

Sarabeth Tucek - Get Well Soon

Sarabeth Tucek - Get Well Soon

Sarabeth Tucek

Get Well Soon

Released: April 11 2011

Genre: Acoustic / Folk

Label: Sonic Cathedral

Rating: 4.5/5

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By: Alexandra Lyon

Sarabeth Tucek, originally from Miami, never intended to be a singer or songwriter. In fact, it was her dream to follow a career in acting, and it was only after meeting Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre that she decided to learn the guitar and to sing professionally. Not everyone would agree, but I’m glad that she made that choice.

Her latest album is everything you could ask for if you want heartfelt, raw honesty and beautiful folk melodies. At first glance, it could be mistaken for just another album by a woman with a guitar, writing about lakes and grass – this however couldn’t be further from the truth. Tucek’s song-writing abilities are near faultless, and her lyrics are just as imaginative as the ones composed for her early EPs. In some tracks, notably “Things Left Behind”, her voice is reminiscent of the eccentric Canadian singer Joni Mitchell. This tone causes the album to be terribly intriguing from start to finish.

The acoustic nature of this album is very relaxing. Tucek’s voice, her guitar and the slow beat of a drum kit in the background make for perfect easy-listening. The first track is a relatively short one, almost like the prologue of a book. Clever, really, as the album is written in an almost story-like fashion. The last track on the album, and indeed the title track, is almost like a ‘note-to-self’. “Get Well Soon” is vocally stunning; the lyrics are odd, for example she begs “Please, don’t cut my trees..”. In context, however, we can see that she’s more likely talking in general about things being taken away from her. It’s far from upbeat, but the melody and the finger-picking of the ever prominent guitar make for a lovely track.

Others to look out for are “State I Am In”, which sounds in places by Sheryl Crow’s infamous “The First Cut Is The Deepest”, and “Smile For No-One”. All of the songs deserve to be noticed but these are the two that really stand out vocally. The only song that didn’t really catch my attention was “At The Bar”, as it doesn’t really differ from any of the other tracks, and it was fairly slow in it’s progression. However, it is refreshing to be able to picture what someone’s life may look like through words and chords, and this is certainly the case when the all 12 tracks run fluidly through 44 glorious minutes of a broken heart.

Sarabeth has proved “Get Well Soon” that she is an artist to be contended with. Most folk/acoustic fans would agree that “Get Well Soon” is a highly enjoyable album, and will look forward to hearing her next release – although whether she’ll manage to compose something equally as good in the future is questionable.

Listen to ‘Get Well Soon’ by Sarabeth Tucek:

 

 

I don’t think attendance is marked cos mine went from 80 to 100
Timber Timbre - Creep On Creepin' On

Timber Timbre - Creep On Creepin' On

Timber Timbre

Creep On Creepin’ On

Released: Apr 05 2011

Genre: Folk / Country

Label: Arts & Crafts

Rating: 3.8/5

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Creep On Creepin’ On, as the record title suggests, tries it’s very best to sound as bizarre and outlandish as possible. Imagine The Horrors combined with a downbeat folk outfit, it’s not easy to envisage, and it’s equally peculiar to comprehend when giving the album a listen. Timber Timbre have created an inventive record; chilling and distinctively unusual.

Vocalist, Taylor Kirk uses his unique vocals to add to the atmosphere that the record tries so hard to evoke; and in combination with unmelodic strings Creep On Creepin’ On succeeds. The predominantly string centred instrumentals are the most powerful element of the record – a collection of songs that wouldn’t sound out of place as the soundtrack for a film based on a piece of gothic literature.

Although the band is generally classed as folk or country, there are definitely suggestions of a post-rock influence. Instrumental interludes separated by gloomy vocals emit vibes similar to those of Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

The ensemble of stringed orchestral instruments is without a doubt the vital component in the successful outcome of Creep On Creepin’ On.  Opening track and lead single “Bad Ritual” is the only track on the record that puts a clear priority on vocals; it’s also the only track to exhibit any dynamicity in Kirk’s vocals. The morbid and monotone nature of the vocals throughout the record may serve their purpose in evoking atmosphere, but vocal diversity would be the key in making Timber Timbre that little bit more enjoyable.

Unlike the majority of tracks on the LP, the album titled track takes a more experimental approach; including keyboards and a variety of percussion. Quite often Creep On Creepin’ On takes a minimal approach, relying solely on stringed instruments and on occasions relying on no instruments whatsoever. Other than the lack of drums and acoustic approach to each song, there’s little else to suggest that Timber Timbre are a folk collective. Unlike the majority of folk artists, the lyrics aren’t the iconic component – without the instrumentals Creep On Creepin’ On would have little appeal.

Perhaps Timber Timbre should consider working as part of a film project in the future – as fascinating as their style is, it would sound much more imposing on the big screen.

Timber Timbre – Black Water