Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire - Ian Randall Thornton - Paperhaus - Ninth Of May - Brass Phantoms - Jaws of Love - Sleepy Limbs

Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire - Sliding.

Background - Scottish 7-piece Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire's new single ’Sliding’ evokes the epic, driving americana you’d associate with such noteworthy artists. If the Scots slang – which gives Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire’s “Swithering” its name – suggests any sort of indecisiveness at play, then it’s one that the band whole-heartedly embraced to help push the boundaries of what it felt capable of creating.  From the very beginning, this was a group of players eager to change how they approached making a record.  Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, the band (Scott Clark, Roddy Hart, Andy Lucas, Scott Mackay, John Martin, Geoff Martyn, and Gordon Turner) formed naturally over a number of years as Hart’s own evolution as an artist and songwriter progressed.  

Their first studio album-proper, 2013’s “Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire”, was critically hailed for its distinctively dark and atmospheric sound and led to a nomination on the fiercely contested long list for the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award.  Notably, the record also caught the attention of prime time US TV host Craig Ferguson who invited the band to perform on The Late Late Show for CBS that same year, leading to a 5-night residency that played out to a combined audience of over 12 million viewers.  A Scottish Variety Award for International Breakthrough Artist of The Year followed, as did a nomination for Best Band at the Spirit of Scotland Awards, and performances at the opening party for the Commonwealth Games and a celebrated show with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra only served to bolster their reputation as a formidable live band; cemented by the huge popularity of their self-curated and much loved “Roaming Roots Revue” for Celtic Connections each year.

The new album “Swithering” is due for release on all formats – including limited edition 180g vinyl – on Middle of Nowhere Recordings, with tour dates to follow. Website here, Facebook here.

'Sliding' is a slick, vibrant and massively likable alt rocker. There is a sense of urgency that eases with the refrain before the energy kicks back in. The music video catches the feeling of the song beautifully.


Ian Randall Thornton - Do You Rise.

Background - Virginia songwriter Ian Randall Thornton, released his lush, atmospheric second single “Do You Rise” a couple of days ago. "Do You Rise” is about the search for spirituality, and the elusive nature of such a mystical relationship. It helps balance out the listening experience on Lineage by creating a brief moment of rest and contemplation, in the midst of a dense concept album about family and heritage. 

Sparks of world influence and folk traditions light up different tracks throughout the album, such as the African influences heard in the fretless banjo dancing through “Philadelphia,” and distinctly Appalachian influences mixed with sounds of hope and history in “Dance Upon the Tables.” With “See You Through,” an ode written from a father to his daughter, the album comes to a crescendo of three part harmonies and a unique combination of Asian and Appalachian melodic influences.

Ian Randall Thornton’s sound resides in a delicate balance between Americana, timeless folk, and progressive post-rock. His sound provides a unique tension: the balance of remembering the past and hoping unabashedly for the future. One could see Lineage as a soundtrack to the film of Thornton’s life experiences, carrying secrets of friendship, made from family and for family. Its concept carries a definitive story of the golden threads of family history. In this Thornton finds purpose, writing odes to generations past, with songs such as “See You Through” serving as a guidepost for generations to come. Website here, Facebook here.

The fifth of eleven tracks on the superb 'Linage' album is 'Do You Rise'. We featured the first single 'Who Are We' at the end of June and stated then "I have to say they are all at least as good as the featured song, with a few real gems along the way." Upon reflection, that is something of an understatement, give both featured songs a listen, the rest are all equally superb!


Paperhaus - Go Cozy.

Background - Washington, DC-based, psychedelic rock band, Paperhaus, announce their new LP, Are These The Questions That We Need To Ask?, due out October 6th via Misra Records. Their first single from the new record is "Go Cozy". The forthcoming album was recorded at co-producer and mixer Peter Larkin's studio, The Lighthouse, in Alexandria, VA. The record was mastered by Sarah Register. 

Following up on their debut self-titled LP, Are These The Questions That We Need To Ask?  marks a turning point for Paperhaus. The album is very deliberately titled, urging listeners to ask questions about the surrounding world, rather than offering listeners the answers. It explores many thematic elements relevant to our modern life, including our reliance on technology, a craving for nature, the increasing rise of more authoritarian ideas along with the division it creates among people around the world, and most importantly what all this means for our relationships with each other. Lead single, "Go Cozy," is a song about friendship and community, specifically built off their experience in the DC DIY music community. Go Cozy, another active band in the DC scene and housemates of Paperhaus, inspired the track through their open-mindedness and collaborative process in the tight knit music community. 

The band previously released 5 EPs, with their 2011 self-titled EP representing the band's new lineup, consisting of founding member Alex Tebeleff (vocals/synth/guitar), and current members Matt Dowling (vocals/bass), Rick Irby (guitar) and Danny Bentley (drums). The band is inspired by a wide variety of artists, ranging from tastemakers and legends like Bowie and  Kraftwerk, to D' Angelo and LCD Soundsystem. In 2013, the band went on a 2 month national tour in support of LoHiLo EP, which received traction from NPR and Washington Post. In 2015, the band debuted their first full length release on NPR First Listen, headlined 9:30 Club for their album release and performed in official SXSW showcases. Website here, Facebook here.

Fifty years on from the "summer of love" and there are plenty of bands currently building on some of those distant original psychedelic days. Paperhaus are one of the best I have heard so far with 'Go Cozy' a dreamy, atmospheric song that is imaginative and refined.


Ninth Of May - Bend.

Background - Ninth Of May the completely independent, powerhouse Brisbane 5-piece are back doing what they do best with the release of their new single, and corresponding film clip, ‘Bend’. Whilst it is a slight deviation from their previous endeavours, the super heavy guitars, pounding drums, hooky vocals and synth bass of ‘Bend’ are all undeniably “Ninth Of May”. One listen through will reinforce the fact that ‘Bend’ really is a dichotomy, beautiful yet heavy as F! Recorded and produced 100% in-house, ‘Bend’ is an example of a band truly defining their sound and doing things purely on their own terms. Playing to their strengths and relying solely on their own instincts and experience, ‘Bend’ is possibly the strongest release from Ninth Of May to date. As guitarist Ian Jones explains, “We’re pretty good, ay”. 

The accompanying clip for ‘Bend’ sees the band reunite with Blueroom Productions, the producer of their previous clip ‘Ramen’, to create a visually spectacular performance clip the likes of which have never been seen before. Some have described it as the perfect blend of predator, a kick ass rock show and hell itself. Other guitarist Matt Wardle agreed adding, “I agree”. 

Perfect for (but not limited to) running, riding, skating, walking, sitting, standing and especially lovemaking, ‘Bend’ is the ideal addition to your playlist. So make room and hold on, coz you’re about to be rocked! Facebook here.

If you are up for a blast of raw rock'n'roll then 'Bend' has all of that. Powerful and emotive, the musicianship is polished the vocals expressive. I've jumped the gun with this song & hopefully can swap from the audio track to the music video in a day or so.


Brass Phantoms - City Of Wolves.

Background - Irish fourpiece Brass Phantoms have announced the release of new single City Of Wolves released last Friday. Following on from recent single Waiting Up, which received Irish radio airplay and secured features on Spotify Discover Weekly and BBC 6 Music, City Of Wolves is the latest offering from the Dublin band.

It is a track that further cements Brass Phantoms as one of the most exciting new bands in Ireland and is an indie anthem in the making with its intriguing drum intro, captivating guitar riff, distinct gravelly vocal and soaring pop chorus. The band say;

"City Of Wolves is the track that has enabled us to pinpoint a sound we want to move forward with. It possesses what we strive towards bringing out in our music, and there is a lot of power when we play it live. We hope it's a track that can help us to grow, because we have a lot to come".

Having played headline shows in their home city along with performing at festivals such as Other Voices, Brass Phantoms will be announcing their debut UK headline tour soon. The band will also be performing at Indiependence festival this August. Twitter here.

The quality of musicianship is notable from the opening chord onwards. 'City Of Wolves' is very catchy the vocals & harmonies add some additional edge, I have a feeling we will be hearing more from this band.


Jaws of Love - Jaws of Love.

Background - Local Natives’ songwriter, vocalist and pianist Kelcey Ayer announces his solo debut as Jaws of Love., ‘Tasha Sits Close to the Piano’, set for release via House Arrest digitally on September 22nd, with its gatefold coloured vinyl release available in the UK on 3rd November. The first single and opening track on the album ‘Jaws of Love.’ is available now.

The first solo project born out of the acclaimed Los Angeles band, sees Ayer hone in on his master craft: the emotive piano ballad as highlighted on the five-piece critically acclaimed second album ‘Hummingbird’. Kelcey Ayer, the creative force behind Jaws of Love., has always been an ace at writing a good love song - he just didn’t always know it. “I used to think that to write about love, something had to be wrong”, he says. “I often got my material from pain, or insecurity, or problems - I thought I couldn’t write a good love song because I am in love and it’s going so well. But I’ve grown to realise that even in the most amazing relationships there are turbulent times and misunderstandings that are unavoidable. And that doesn’t mean that anything is doomed, but love is such a complicated thing. The idea of ‘jaws of love’ felt so perfect for this project because it’s all about love’s trials and tribulations.”

Recorded as Local Natives geared up to release their third album last summer, when Ayer booked time in the same LA studio, Electro-Vox, where the band had recorded ‘Sunlit Youth’, and in a three-day burst he recorded a handful of his own songs with the help of engineer Michael Harris and mixer Cian Riordan. Without any intention of releasing the tracks initially, Ayer allowed his emotional intuition to lead the way in the process. This ultimately yielded powerful results and was an exhilarating experience that led Ayer to decide to continue writing. He returned to the studio later in the year, and - aided by the studio’s myriad synthesizers, antique equipment, preamps, and outboard gear, in addition to drums recorded by Local Natives’ drummer Matt Frazier - Ayer completed his gorgeous solo debut. Website here, Facebook here.

Kelcey Ayer (aka Jaws of Love) first single also entitled 'Jaws of Love' is a majestic piano lead song that clearly has been a labour of love in it's making. The vocals are wonderful, the musical arrangement pristine and the passion and heart conveyed throughout.


Sleepy Limbs - Sweet And Sour.

Background - Know Hope Records is thrilled to announce the debut EP from Sleepy Limbs. The self-titled EP will be released on September 22, 2017. Sleepy Limbs, hailing from Lancaster, PA, is Ben Roth, Kory Gable, and Joe Fuscia. All three were previously members of You, Me, and Everyone We Know (South By Sea Records). Sleepy Limbs was formed following the demise of YMAEWK.

“This project was started as You, Me, and Everyone We Know came to an end. Around that same time, Kory and Joe were learning/relearning some of my old songs to play a full band show and we started working on new song ideas I had floating around” Roth said. “The more we worked on new material we started to notice a chemistry between us as a three piece and just kind of went with it and started playing shows and writing more songs, and Sleepy Limbs was born.”

The band will be embarking on an East Coast tour to celebrate the release in September. Dates will be announced shortly. Finally, a message from Ben, Kory and Joe: “Love, time, attention and intention were put into these songs. We hope you feel it, enjoy it and listen loudly.” Facebook here.

'Sweet And Sour' is a fine rocker of a song, with bags of passion, and vocals that seemingly swirl around immersed in the music, yet coherent enough to convey their desire to be heard.