Alana Henderson - The Trongone Band - FXRRVST - herMajesty

Alana Henderson - Let This Remain.

Background - Alana Henderson is a cellist and singer-songwriter from Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland.  Her self-released Wax and Wane EP (2014) drew solid comparisons to Joanna Newsome and Fiona Apple. Shortly thereafter she stepped up to accompany Hozier on cello and supporting vocals. Between 2014-2015 she played over 300 headline shows with Hozier’s band, including notable performances at Glastonbury, Saturday Night Live, Jools Holland and the Grammy’s with Annie Lennox. Her new single, “Let This Remain,” is an icy and unforgiving anti-ballad, fusing an electronic undercurrent to her darkly organic indie-folk.

Alana’s mastery of the cello is a highlight of the track, showcasing her dynamic techniques that are looped and overlapped to create a dramatic atmosphere; expertly balancing an arrangement that is both haunting and beautiful.  Written in L.A. near the end of that massive tour, the lyrics reflect on the transient nature of relationships on the road and the emotional detachment that ensues.  When no relationship is expected to last, she jabs, “you could be the one I don’t regret…yet.”

“After a period of post-tour decompression it was recorded at a friend’s isolated Irish cottage with the help of Belfast-based musician/producer Alan Haslam and using only the most rudimentary equipment; my cello, a Roland Juno-106 synthesiser and a TR-808 drum machine, along with some improvised acoustic percussion (we snapped a pair of shoe trees together for the snare sound).” FACEBOOK.

Alana Henderson's vocals are both melodic & a little menacing on 'Let This Remain'. The music adds to the atmosphere, it's stripped back enough for the cello to work it's magic, and the synthesiser is used sensitively. More please!


The Trongone Band - Blind.

Background - Fresh off of their critically acclaimed debut release, Keys to the House, Richmond, Virginia's The Trongone Band shares their video for "Blind." Speaking on the video, Andrew Trongone tells The Bluegrass Situation, "we wanted the video to have a piece of our home, so we shot it in downtown RVA, right on the canal, surrounded by various murals done by local artists (one including Wolfe’s cousin, Chris Milk). The song suggests classic themes of love and peace of mind, so we went with a classic music video style. Simple, live, outdoors. Was a lot of fun for us to shoot."

Hailing from Richmond, VA and formed by brothers Andrew and Johnny, The Trongone Band draws from americana and Southern rock. The quartet is rounded out by keyboardist Ben "Wolfe" White and award-winning bassist Todd Herrington.

Primed for the festival circuit, the band has graced the stages of Virginia’s Roosterwalk, Tennessee’s Riverbend Music Festival, Florida’s Slide Into Spring Festival, The Allman Brothers’ Peach Festival in Pennsylvania, and West Virginia’s Deep Mountain Roots Revival.

This family affair recording process helped the band grow "so much on a personal and musical level, and listening back and dissecting these tracks helped us learn so much about each other’s playing.” WEBSITE, FACEBOOK. 

With all the swagger and cool of The Black Crowes in their heyday, The Trongone Band serve up a superb piece of natural rock & roll with 'Blind'. Southern rock to the core with all the panache that goes with a classy rocker.


FXRRVST - Tidal Wave.

Background - If mixing business with pleasure is a recipe for trouble, someone forgot to tell FXRRVST (pronounced forest), the fast-emerging Toronto-based duo of Holly Forrest and Matthew Fuentes, whose devotion to each other is seconded only by their shared commitment to crafting ridiculously catchy, super-emotive alt-rock. Also to saving the planet. But more on that later.

Like the music of their wildly divergent heroes — Tegan and Sara for Forrest, who digs the lyrics and unconventional song structures, Fleetwood Mac for Funetes, who digs the guitar and vibes — FXRRVST songs are at once instantly accessible yet utterly unique.

Witness May XXVI, their dazzling debut and as confident a step towards world domination as can be expected from two people who have only been playing together (literally and figuratively) since 2015 following a momentous meeting slyly denoted by the Roman Numerals X and V in FXRRVST, which also echoes Forrest’s surname, and serves as an SEO dream. Sonically and emotionally, May XXVI has it all.

First single “Tidal Wave” pitches Forrest’s iridescent voice against a strummy guitar line that builds into a massive, cascading run (think of the final bars of U2’s iconic “Where The Streets Have No Name”) backed by ethereal “oohs” and “ahhs.”

Elsewhere, the shimmering, slow-burning, and aptly named “Lovely” raises gooseflesh while offering a scorching guitar solo at the bridge. Forrest’s richly evocative lyrics are present throughout, perhaps most notably in “Safe House,” an acoustic sort-of ballad with palpable regret seared into each verse and chorus. It’s no wonder that FXRRVST snagged a 2017 Toronto Independent Music Award nomination for Best Indie act. The wider pop/rock world is already on high alert. WEBSITE, FACEBOOK.

Taken from the 'May XXVI' album 'Tidal Wave' is one of nine songs in the collection and gives a good feel of what to expect. Melodic and full of catchy indie pop/rock tracks, this is a gorgeous collection of uncomplicated and very pleasing music. 


herMajesty - I Saw The Dog.

Background - Current chaotic geopolitical events combined with Bowie's passing and the release of  Lazarus  in 2016 continue to impact generations of artists and musicians. NYC's art rock project herMajesty continue to feel that impact too, except they have an even more direct connection to the Thin White Duke.

Their new single "I Saw The Dog," releases on 7" vinyl November 2, 2017 through Northeast label Midday Records and features Henry Hey and Chris McQueen who were involved with the development and execution of  Lazarus, Bowie's immortalized musical.

Pre-production for "I Saw The Dog" began in the fall of 2016. Grammy-winner Nic Hard, who has been working with herMajesty since 2010, suggested herMajesty work with Henry Hey (keyboard player The Next Day, Lazarus ) and Chris McQueen (guitarist for Lazarus and Snarky Puppy) on the song.    

The idea turned into a wonderful, collaborative experience in the studio. McQueen's dystopian reverb and guitar howls blaze an infernal backdrop to Henry Hey's lush keyboards and JP's intimate, and at times, poignant political observations.

New Wave, Glam, Post-Punk, Indie, Art ... herMajesty's rock music scales thematic preoccupations of love, loss, surrender, chaos, and hope, over a brooding wall of sound. Their proclivities are well-captured on record and pack a wallop in their live performances. WEBSITE, FACEBOOK.

'I Saw The Dog' is not a Bowie copycat affair, for me it's more a creative piece that in part shows respect for the afore mentioned and then builds with herMajesty's imagination and desire to produce a fabulous song. If that is the case, then it's job done, & done to a very high standard.