Juliet Quick - Lou - Second Still - Umbrella Bed

Juliet Quick - Changeling (EP).

Background - Brooklyn-based, alt-folk artist Juliet Quick shares her new release Changeling EP, out now on DSPs.

Changeling is a 3-part song series, using the folkloric trope of the changeling, in which a child is stolen by fairies and replaced with an imposter, to explore feelings of alienation from the self and the familiar that characterize early adulthood. They don’t follow a strict narrative, so much as trace different points in the evolution of that psychic experience.

The imagery is heavily grounded in the landscape of the Hudson Valley, where the artist was raised. It was recorded in Carmel, NY, where it was engineered and co-produced by Rees Shad in his own studio. The orchestral strings were arranged in a collaboration with Juliet Quick, Rees Shad, and Nathan Kamal. WEBSITE.

We featured 'Changeling Part 1' back in February and I am very pleased to be able to now share the whole EP. Regarding our last feature we commented "Part I' is a gorgeous and quite unique indie folk song, where Juliet Quick's vocals are quite beguiling and the musical arrangement adds a chamber folk dimension to this sumptuous and almost epic piece". Having now listened to the three tracks together, it's worth noting how each is a distinct piece, they share the same name but the differing attributes of each tune is notable, this is a fabulous EP.


Lou - Beaten.

Background - Singer-songwriter Lou shares her poignantly arresting first single "Beaten." With this first release, Lou’s powerful voice and emotional delivery stand out and offer a glimpse into the first page of her story; that suffering and aloneness can be turned into a force. 

The song is a raw and unfiltered journey into her world. A definite talent to watch, Lou performs around LA and can often be heard at No Name on Fairfax.

Lou says of "Beaten" - "I originally wrote “Beaten” as a poem about being betrayed by love. The pain and the rage that band together to abandon you at the bottom of a dark hole. With nothing around, the only way out is to create light from within and hope that it saves you.”

Growing up in a musical household, Lou started singing at a very young age. As an only child, when her parents separated, Lou found a sanctuary by escaping into herself. She wrote a lot through her teens and, after a life changing moment, decided to share her voice with the world. Lou's debut EP is slated for release later this year. WEBSITE.

Lou's vocals are beautifully passionate and soulful on 'Beaten' a song that exudes feeling and emotion throughout. The slow paced rock orientated musical backing adds even more to this striking song.


Second Still - Echelons.

Background - Second Still announce their second EP due this month and share the single "Echelons".  This EP is due April 20th on Sentimental Records.  The band is also set to release their sophomore EP Equals that same day.

After their first full-length record was named “best post-punk debut LP of 2017” by Post-Punk.com, While the songs from this newest release retain the sheer power and intensity of the band’s previous two releases, Equals sees Second Still evolving their sound and progressing forward into sonically uncharted territory.

The four main components of the band’s signature sound are still there –chorus and delay-heavy guitar, hypnotic bass grooves, heavyweight drum machine beats, and hauntingly beautiful vocal melodies– but they have added a couple analog synthesizers into the arsenal for Equals, mixing a whole new element into their already uniquely realized style of post-punk. Commanding synth bass, subtle ambient soundscapes, and forceful lead synth hooks now supplement and enhance the distinctive sound that Second Still had already crafted on their first two releases. BANDCAMP, FACEBOOK.

Our third feature for Second Still this time with the new single 'Echelons'. Previously we have said "the band create unique material, that challenges referencing including some classic punk vibes, alongside a hint of shoegaze and a swathe of catchy hooks." The new song is a darker, brooding track, with a hypnotic rhythm and a musical arrangement that builds into a powerful crescendo.


Umbrella Bed - Rotate.

Background - Picking up on a 2-Tone ska sound might have seemed like a strange choice in the summer of 1995 when Umbrella Bed first assembled itself into existence; after all, the 2-Tone ska sound was a very short-lived period 15-years earlier and, without a doubt, in '95 the newly reborn ska genre "third wave" was creating a much harder-edged ska sound.

Third-wave ska was very much guided by the rise of the alternative music scene and infused ska with a more punk/grunge bent. It moved the "ska sound" pretty far away from 2-Tone's inherent pop roots. But, 2-Tone's shorter life had also left a lot of room to explore. Six full-length releases, hundreds of wildly energetic shows and two European tours later, doing anything but build on 2-Tone's legacy would have been a tragic loss.

As a live act, Umbrella Bed have also played a support role to a who's who in the ska/reggae world including The Skatalities, The Specials, English Beat, The Toasters, Mustard Plug, King Chango, MU330, Mad Sin, The Selector, and many others.

The band's primary line up has rotated some over the years but has remained largely intact. Lead vocalist Hellrocket, drummer Mitch Thompson, trombonist Al Teagarden and ska's (if not rock and roll's) premier French Horn player Eva Washburn have been around from day one. Trombonist Joy Judge and saxophonist Scott Wilcox have been with the band nearly a decade completing the "Horns of Mass Destruction". Although hardly new to the band anymore, Umbrella Bed's most recent addition Francisco Guerra on bass and Kabel Lefto on guitar bring a youthful element to a band just wrapping up its second decade -  proof that there a lot more fuel in the energy tanks. WEBSITE.

The new full-length album from American ska band Umbrella Bed is entitled 'Rotate' of which we feature the title track. The bands take on Ska & 2 Tone is vibrant and upbeat, with hints of rock and roll along the way. The band have a fine live performance pedigree, that said they certainly can and do record some fabulous tunes in the studio, as this latest collection of music ably demonstrates.