Sunday Gems: The Big Bend - Robbie Miller - Naropa

The Big Bend - Celebrate.

Background promo - “Celebrate” is the title track to The Big Bend’s new album that the always-reliable label Misra Records (Phosphorescent, Melaena Cadiz, Destroyer, etc) is putting out on July 22nd. Celebrate is the band's fourth release and has all the hallmarks of a career milestone, calling to mind early-‘70s Neil Young in its songwriting, with vocals reminiscent of The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle.

The Big Bend is led by Chet Vincent, who's been kicking around Pittsburgh playing in bands since he was a teenager. A regular fixture of the city’s quietly thriving music scene, he's established a reputation as one of the city’s most dedicated figures. Celebrate shows the band’s dynamic range - from the first discordant, psychedelic notes of album opener “The Spins,” through the closing bars of the stripped-down, folky “Su La Ley.”

In between, Vincent’s vocals show range stylistically, from shouts on the rowdier tunes, to lilting crooning reminiscent of The Weakerthans’ John K. Samson on the softer songs. He’s always been a storyteller, weaving characters and situations into songs, but here he takes on social issues, both obliquely and directly, on songs like “Cut Us Down” and Fingertrap.”

A few artist references in the promo above, however I reckon it's fair to say that The Big Bend have enough good attributes of their own as the song 'Celebrate' clearly demonstrates. I have not had a chance to check out any other material by the band yet, however on listening to this again today, that's down to happen pretty soon now.


Robbie Miller - Road.

Background promo - Robbie Miller continues to forge his own path with new single 'Road', and whispers of a new EP to come later this year.

Keeping busy following the release of triple j favourite, 'The Pain' and 2015 EP The Faster the Blood Slows, the Brisbane based Indigenous artist went straight back into the studio to create a wealth of new tracks. Devised as a collaboration with friend and band mate Nathan Morrison, 'Road' brings more electronic elements to Robbie's folk sound than ever before. Pulsating synths swirl around his signature brooding vocals to create an emotionally powered three and a half minutes. Connecting with listeners already, the track is off to a flying start, added to triple j rotation this week just a day after its debut on Good Nights with Linda Marigliano.

Road-testing the new material with a number of coveted support spots, Robbie recently toured alongside Josh Pyke and will support Dustin Tebbutt on his upcoming First Light album tour in August. He then releases his much anticipated second EP later this year with a few more surprises still to come.

'Road' really does showcase Robbie Miller's wonderful vocals. What's equally fine is the song, melodic, and sensitively layered, it's one of those instant likes for me.


Naropa - If Only While I'm Sleeping.

Background from the band - We're a band from London called "Naropa". We're University students and have been really busy gigging around London for six months, as well as constantly writing and rehearsing, working on developing our sound and live set.

These demos got us a load of great reviews which you can check out on our website and we ended up getting completely booked up by London promoters four months in advance, as well as getting us some attention and airplay from BBC Introducing and further radio play worldwide in places like Holland, South America and USA. To keep building momentum, we got back into the studio as soon as possible and recorded our new single. The track is called "If Only While I'm Sleeping", and was officially released on all major streaming platforms yesterday, 25th June.

There's bags of passion and energy within the new song 'If Only While I'm Sleeping' from Naropa. It's clear the band have developed their sound through live gigging and plenty of graft, and by the sounds of this I'm not surprised they have been getting attention and performances. Ones to watch out for, I would say.