Great Lakes - Glen Hansard - Heligoland

Great Lakes - End Of An Error.

Backgroud - Great Lakes emerged from Athens, GA roughly two decades ago, but the band led by singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ben Crum has been based in Brooklyn since 2002. Formed in 1996, Great Lakes was initially part of the Elephant 6 Collective. The band's 2000 debut, mixed by Apples in Stereo honcho Robert Schneider, owed much to the psychedelic pop of the '60s, as did the band's second album, The Distance Between. 2006’s Diamond Times for Empyrean Records, however, offered a significant stylistic progression. Drifting away from the psychedelic milieu, the band's sound took on country and folk leanings, with “Farther” reminiscent of both Wilco’s and Teenage Fanclub's more straight-ahead moments.

By 2008 Crum had become the sole original member of Great Lakes, and the band's fourth album, Ways of Escape, reflected a further shift into singer-songwriter-oriented country and folk. It also brought with it a change in personnel, as Crum was joined by drummer Kevin Shea, vocalist Suzanne Nienaber, keyboardist Joe McGinty, guitarist Kenny Wachtel, bassist David Lerner, multi-instrumentalist David Gould, and pedal steel player Phil Sterk. This same lineup returned for the band's 5th album, 2016's Wild Vision, which delivered what many reviewers called a creative peak for Crum and Great Lakes.

With the band's 6th album, Dreaming Too Close to the Edge, Crum, Shea, Nienaber, McGinty, Sterk, Gould and Wachtel return with a record that feels both like a natural progression from Ways of Escape and Wild Vision and hearkens back a bit to the band's earlier work. Of the album Crum says, "Somehow it feels like the third, and probably last, album in a three album run of thematically-related records, though I didn't consciously plan it like that." Of the album's sound, Crum notes, "I wanted Dreaming to sound like I'd imagine it would have sounded if Television, Big Star or the Velvet Underground had made a record that sorta leaned in a country-rock direction." Opener "End of an Error" starts the record with brash rock and roll, with its cold, reverb-y mood evoking The Jesus and Mary Chain and its wailing guitar calling to mind Nuggets-era '60s garage bands and the extended soloing of J Mascis and Neil Young. Next is "Mixed Blood," which finds Crum and company channeling The Faces and Brinsley Schwarz. "Minor Blues" will appeal to fans of Galaxie 500 and Luna and the '70s solo records of Ian Matthews and Dion.

The album's prettiest track,"Bury the Hatchet," is a finger-picked folk number; a darkly comic song in which Crum sings, "I'd like to bury the hatchet… in your back." It's followed by "To Live Is to Lose," featuring a guest vocal by Elf Power's Andrew Rieger and some Dire Straits-inspired guitar work from Kenny Wachtel. Side Two begins with the All Things Must Pass-influenced "Kingdom Came," with its steel guitar, and continues with the Heartbreakers-meets-country-rock sound of "Time Served." After the gentle, folk-y "Gold" and the angular pop/rock of "Awaking Up Together" comes the album's closer, "You Could Have Had Me For a Song." It's a fitting end to an album that, despite its varied styles, is a consistent expression of Crum's ever-evolving songwriting voice, and offers a hint as to the singer's worldview: "seek no one's blessing… there is no lesson." Great Lakes' Dreaming Too Close to the Edge is available April 6 2018, on Loose Trucks. FACEBOOK.

The first of ten tracks on Great Lakes 'Dreaming Too Close to the Edge' due in April is 'End Of An Error' a solid alt rocker from the opening moments. The vocals add character and lower the energy with the harmonies giving just a hint of Americana. The band can and do mix up the genres and with a fine core sound, make the whole thing something really good to listen and get into.


Glen Hansard - Roll On Slow.

Background - Glen Hansard  celebrates his new release Between Two Shores via Anti-. Glen Hansard has also revealed the official music video for the album’s opening track, “Roll On Slow”

Glen Hansard described his inspiration to NPR revealing, “‘Roll On Slow’ was written while I was living in a former women’s refuge called the Florence Mission on Bleeker Street in NYC. My girlfriend was away in Europe and I was drinking too much. I was walking home from the Jonathan Swift bar at dawn, which was happening a few too many mornings in a row. The song is simply about missing your girl and being unable to take care of yourself.”

Directed by Piotr Kabat, “The video attempts to bridge the gap between animation and film. While it’s entirely hand-drawn, the organic and grainy look is inspired by classical movies shot on film.” Kabat added, “In terms of story we wanted to convey the vibe of a solo night out in New York. Getting kicked out of bars and hanging out in front of liquor stores ‘til sunrise just to escape from your own demons.”

Next month, Hansard embarks on a European tour in support of Between Two Shores, beginning at the Royal Festival Hall in London on February 9th. See below for the full list of shows; tickets available via WEBSITE. - FACEBOOK.

February 9th – London, UK @ Royal Festival Hall
February 10th – Utrecht, NL @ TivoliVredenburg (Ronda) SOLD OUT
February 11th – Utrecht, NL @ TivoliVredenburg (Ronda) SOLD OUT
February 13th – Brussels, BE @ Ancienne Belgique
February 14th – Paris, FR @ Le Trianon
February 16th – Zurich, CH @ Volkshaus
February 18th – Vienna, AT @ Gasometer
February 20th – Berlin, DE @ Admiralpalast SOLD OUT
February 21st – Berlin, DE @ Admiralpalast
February 23rd – Prague, CZ @ Divaldi Theatre SOLD OUT
February 25th – Brno, CZ @ Sono Centrum SOLD OUT

Flowing and with a groove that just draws the listener in 'Roll On Slow' mixes an excellent musical arrangement, that builds into something quite splendid, along with Glen Hansard's compelling vocals, that give the song so much more feeling and character.


Heligoland - Coriallo (EP).

Background - Over the course of three albums, a series of EPs and singles, and nearly two decades of existence split between Melbourne, Australia and Paris, France, Heligoland have established and refined a distinctive sound and style awash with texture and emotion. Working at the margins of dreampop, slowcore, shoegaze, folk, and ambient pop, Heligoland’s music is characterised by expansive, layered arrangements and the soaring vocals of Karen Vogt.

In one sense, Coriallo marks the end of a journey for Heligoland. This new release is the final instalment in a series of EPs, each of which was written and recorded at different locations in the French countryside. The series began, almost by accident, when a week-long trip to a tiny village at the foothills of the Pyrénées turned into a writing and recording session. Heligoland’s most introspective, minimal, and atmospheric release, Bethmale (2012), was the result. The band subsequently traveled to another small town, this time amidst the rolling hills and farmland of central France. Recorded during the early days of spring, Sainte Anne (2013) is vibrant, vivid, and multi-layered.

Coriallo brings the journey to a close. Written and recorded at a former semaphore station on the windswept north-western coast of Normandy, this new EP is the most expansive release in the series. The immersive opening track “Ełk” and “Three” embody the fusion of “post-rock soundscapes with ambient textures and drone laced melodies”, as Drowned in Sound's Dom Gourlay has put it, that characterise the band’s best work. The shimmering “Orion” is dream pop at its most alluring.

Vocalist Karen Vogt scales new heights on Coriallo, contributing her most assured and captivating performances to date. EP highlight “Trust” and the delicate, hushed late-night atmospherics of “Anavo” provide the perfect platform for Vogt’s soulful ruminations and affirmations. The recordings from Pointe de Jardeheu in Normandy were produced and mixed by Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins/Violet Indiana), with whom the band are currently recording a new album scheduled for release in the second half of 2018. WEBSITE, FACEBOOK.

Comprising of five majestic tracks 'Coriallo' is a gorgeous EP. Musically the bands lush and textured sounds are somewhere between dream pop and gentler shoegaze, vocally they are perfect for these genres adding emotion and beauty.