Skyler Cocco - Callum Pickard - The Karpinka Brothers

Skyler Cocco - Parasite.

Background - On her debut album Reverie, Skyler Cocco blends her distinctive sound of effortless and soaring melodies with fuzzy and hook laden guitars in her own unique style of grunge pop. 

Documenting her formative years of loss, grief, and maturation, Reverie became Skyler's journal and process of growth and healing. 

In writing and recording her debut album Reverie, Skyler found her own voice as it became a portrait of her struggles with the loss of her father, depression and anxiety, and developed the maturity and skills to cope and share her experiences. 

The early released singles, "Some Nerve" and "Ordinary Life", solidified her sound with a hybrid of alt-rock, grunge, pop, and electronic elements and dream-like soundscapes and soaring melodies that Pop Matters described as "a unique pop sensibility to heavy, guitar-based rock". Website here, Facebook herePhoto - Joe Carrotta.

Grunge pop is something of a juxtaposition, as on paper they are seemingly diametrically opposed (keep up this is a science lesson) however 'Parasite' confirms the two can be mixed together without concern. Or in other words, it's a fine and dandy rock meets pop song that delights.


Callum Pickard - June.

Background - ‘Callum Pickard & The Third Look’ is the creation of 21 year old singer-songwriter Callum Pickard - a self-taught multi-instrumentalist and profound son of Coventry who is flourishing in the embers of a once integral music scene. After acquiring a band of very close friends, luminous shows including support slots for Kurt Vile's guitarist Steve Gunn,‘Boogarins’,'Ryley Walker', Devon Sproule’,‘Eliza and The Bear’,‘Sun Club’,’Love Revisited’, ’Andy Shauf’ and‘Quilt’ have seen the young group rise to their peers with confidence and impress crowds around the UK.

The band’s enviable fluidity and natural progressions between subtle mood shifts are all a matter of time and inevitability, not overexertion; their tight playing and cohesion a matter of chemistry and obscure maturity, evident whilst watching them play in a live capacity. That unassuming nature, that unhurried essence of intuition is what hails this band a breath of fresh air - relevant, and even subversive, in today’s blanketing musical spheres.

The Third Look, Callum’s backing band now consists of six excellent multi instrumentalists: Daniel Murtagh (Lead Guitar), Laurence Pettite (Synths, Acoustic Guitar, Backing vocals), Daniel Duveen (Keyboards, Drums), Mike Webb (Bass), Christopher Lings (Drums) and Jonathan Pudge (Brass).

CJ Camerieri played the French Horns and Trumpets for ‘June’. CJ played in Bon Iver’s band in 2011 and has collaborated with the likes of The Staves/Sufjan Stevens/Paul Simon.  He’ll be playing with Paul Simon at this years Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner Eaux Claire’s Festival. 

Brian Joseph record and engineer the drums for ‘June’. He has worked with Sufjan Stevens and The Staves as well as S.Carey, The Fray and mixed and engineered Bon Iver’s second record which won the best Alternative album back at the Grammys in 2011. Facebook here.

A good while ago The Specials put Coventry on the map for the UK's ska music fans. Perhaps it's time for Callum Pickard and band to do the same again, albeit for a very different musical genre. 'June' is a likable indie pop song, with talented musicians, and fabulous vocals, that together remind me in part of Simon & Garfunkel, whatever this is one very catchy song, that I hope will travel well beyond it's home city.


The Karpinka Brothers - You're Worth It.

Background - Meet Saskatoon's finest -- The Karpinka Brothers.  If you're not familiar, The Karpinka Brothers are Canada's prolific folk-rock duo known for their extensive catalog of nostalgic and pastiche songwriting.  They are making their return with the first single, "You're Worth It", from their upcoming fourth LP, Talk is Cheap.

New LP, Talk Is Cheap, feels like a call to arms. It finds a seemingly impossible balance of sincerity and positivity. When they sing lines like “Where would I be without music in my heart?” You not only believe them, you relate without a trace of irony. The brothers have a longstanding reputation of putting their money where their mouth is, finding a delicate balance between professional musicians and community volunteers. In addition to sharing the stage with influential artists like John K. Samson and Gordon Lightfoot, they’ve played dozens of concerts for residents of a local long-term care residence.

Produced and recorded by Grammy nominee Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen, Vic Chestnutt) at his legendary Hotel2Tango in Montréal, Talk Is Cheap is the most realized and expansive Karpinka Brothers album to date. Their eloquent blend of timeless folk and 60s pop songs are complimented by an impressive list of contributing musicians including Mathieu Charbonneau (Timber Timbre) on piano and keys, Jamie Thompson (Unicorns/Islands) on drums and percussion, Sophie Trudeau (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) on violin, Joel Kerr (Sara Slean) on bass, and backing vocals by Krista Muir. Website here, Facebook here.

'You're Worth It' is a feisty folk rocker, that helps explain to a newcomer to The Karpinka Brothers like me, why they get such a positive write up, as in the promo piece above. It would appear that I have a massive back catalogue to work through, not that I am complaining...