Guise - The Shipbuilders - Vök - Lynne Hanson - Becca Stevens & Attacca Quartet - Rosanne Baker Thornley
|Photo - Ben Morse|
‘Don’t Come Back’ is the first instalment of what will be their debut studio album and it sees frontwoman Jess Guise tackling a complicated love affair with uptempo chord progressions, and emotive lyricism to stop you in your tracks.
Talking about the single, Jess says: “This isn’t a song about one particular person so much as a string of disastrous decisions. It’s about the brutal transience and sheer depressing turnover of romantic entanglements I found myself in living in London during my 20s, and about crashing headlong into people who just bounce off and bounce along like dodgems. It’s also about sometimes being the dodgem myself, and not giving myself too much of a hard time about it.”
‘Don’t Come Back’ sees GUISE hone down their staple acoustic sounds, with a touch of nonchalance. Having initially had plans to leave ‘Don’t Come Back’ out of the album, Jess teases that collaborator and husband Frank Turner, “told me I was an idiot,” for not considering it in the album. “And into the record it went” she says. With a country/pop hybrid in mind, Jess enlisted a cast of friends to bring her vision to life, with Callum Green thrashing out the drums in just two-takes, Lukas Drinkwater bringing his upright bass to the party (plus its stunning acoustic guitar solo), enlivening guitar licks courtesy of Titas Halder, and all underpinned with the deliriously catchy “bababa” backing vocals from Laura Hanna.
Praised for their 2020 EP ‘The Fun Part’ which saw the group do a UK tour with Frank Turner, this year GUISE will enter a new chapter with a debut studio album two years after their last project and all the mania that has passed in the interim. Released on 29 April, 'Youngest Daughter' is a record filled with affecting singer-songwriter tunes written from the heart, during a particularly poignant passage of personal reflection, self-love and more. As Jess says: “Youngest Daughter is a (mostly) autobiographical, story-so-far record. It’s home to memories and moments spanning decades of my life; it includes some songs I’ve been carrying around safely in my back pocket for years, and others that I’ve recently finished and am throwing straight out into the world. It’s an honest, personal, and self-deprecating wander through the various ways I’ve tried to follow my heart over the years.”
Across its 13 tracks, Youngest Daughter takes the listener on a voyage of love, loss, hope and personal growth; offering tender reflections on music, friends, family and all the twists and turns life can throw at you.
==========================================================================The Shipbuilders - The Moon.
The Shipbuilders exist as a melting pot where the surreal meets the sublime. Since releasing their first EP, 'Something in the Water' in 2016, the band have continuously expanded their sound and scope of influences to create a world where sparkling pop wonders are nestled between Spanish Civil War laments, gypsy arias, and chaotic, shambolic odes to drinking, death and everything in between. All of this is done with added lashings of melody and the writings of Garcia Lorca and James Joyce, dictating that the wonder of the beauty of the world - and beyond - is never overlooked.
The Shipbuilders' universe is one all are welcome to explore, as the band have also established their own 'Shipwrecked' club nights which over the past four years have played host to some of Merseyside's finest bands and spoken word artists, while raising funds and food for local food banks and charities. Such is the success of Shipwrecked, Summer 2021 saw the inaugural Shipwrecked Festival, a sold out all-day multi-stage event in Birkenhead's Future Yard, before the band took the event to Newport and Bristol in the autumn.
Naturally, all rivers have led to the ocean - that being the groups upcoming debut album, 'Spring Tide’ (out 6 May 2022). But ahead of the full length release, The Shipbuilders will be unveiling their next single, 'The Moon', released digitally on Mai 68 Records on 25th February 2022. Recorded by Danny Whitewood (BC Camplight, Ladytron), the song is an urgent, fiercely passionate, chest-thumping song with a flamenco flavour that soars as it builds into a chaotic, all-conquering crescendo. It’s a prime example of the band’s frenzied, irresistible sound, the song is a staple of the band's live shows, and has been cemented as a firm fan favourite.
Speaking of the track, singer Matty Loughlin-Day explains: "I've long been fascinated and drawn towards the concept of 'Cante Jondo', the folk music of Andalusia that literally translates to 'deep song'. Moon' came from a contemplation of all of this. It's a song written from the perspective of a soldier in the Spanish Civil War who, while standing underneath a haloed moon, can hear "the wailing of this life and the next collide" while lamenting his love's death and pondering if the same fate will fall on him..."
With ‘The Moon’ appearing, ‘Spring Tide’ starting to rise, and a UK wide tour in the works, The Shipbuilders are diving headfirst into new year, and making mighty waves. Come on in, the water's lovely...
==========================================================================Vök - Lose Control.
Icelandic trio Vök have shared their bold, candid and euphoric new single and video Lose Control, which follows their recent release Stadium and is out now via Nettwerk Records.
Lose Control is a forward-thinking alt-pop song that incongruously blends a buoyant melody with profound lyrics. The track continues the personal story of lead singer Margrét, as told across the whole of the band’s recent EP, with the short film style video portraying a character losing her grip on life and allowing the distraction of partying to give a false sense of security. Margrét says;
“Lose Control'' was one of those songs that just came to me in an instant. It was so much fun writing it because I was stuck in a total fantasy world while creating it. This song is originally just me fantasizing about my girlfriend. Being with a woman is an extraordinary thing. But diving deeper into the story with Einar we found a bit of a darker road so we took it. It’s my ultimate lesbian appreciation song and may all of you sexual beings find it enjoyable.”
New track Lose Control and recent single Stadium follow recent singles Running Wild, No Coffee at the Funeral, Skin and Lost in the Weekend, all of which made up the band’s unique and lushly layered EP Feeding on a Tragedy. Recorded in their Reykjavík studios, the EP was the follow-up to their acclaimed 2019 album In the Dark, which was written and recorded by the band in collaboration with producer James Earp (Bipolar Sunshine, Fickle Friends, Lewis Capaldi).
Vök continue to cement their position as one of the most exciting and forward-thinking alternative bands right now. Following two critically acclaimed albums, Feeding on a Tragedy marked the first new musical moment in an exciting new era for Vök with lots more still to come.
==========================================================================Lynne Hanson - Hip Like Cohen.
Too tough for folk and too blues-influenced for country, Lynne Hanson’s brand of porch music with a little red dirt can turn on a dime from a sunshine, blue sky ballad to a full-on thunderstorm of gritty Americana swamp from one song to the next. Her hard-living music has garnered her the nickname “Canada’s Queen of Americana.” And while her deep, bluesy croon has drawn comparisons to Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch, it’s the poetry of her lyrics that reallysets her apart.
Hanson is known for her high energy, roots guitar driven live performances, whether playing solo or with her band the Good Intentions. She has an uncanny way of connecting with her audience with an authenticity that is as entertaining as it is disarming bringing her sense of humour and spontaneity as a storyteller to the fore.
The prolific songwriter has released eight studio albums along with two books of poetry over her 16-year solo career, toured extensively across North America, Europe and the UK appearing at leading international festivals including Take Root (Netherlands), Glasgow Americana (Scotland), Maverick Festival (UK), Kerrville Folk Festival (US) and Winnipeg Folk Festival (Canada). She has also toured as support for Grammy-nominated artists like Gretchen Peters, Steve Forbert and Albert Lee.
==========================================================================Becca Stevens & Attacca Quartet - 45 Bucks (Live Performance Video).
GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Becca Stevens and GRAMMY Award-winning Attacca Quartet have announced their collaborative album Becca Stevens | Attacca Quartet, out April 22nd via GroundUP Music. Nearly a decade ago, Stevens was approached to reimagine a selection of her songs with string arrangements for a performance at San Diego’s Mainly Mozart Festival.
It would end up being a life-changing opportunity—introducing Stevens to her future husband, the acclaimed violist, composer, and Attacca Quartet member Nathan Schram. The concert would also inspire a career-spanning passion project—one which blossomed alongside her relationship with Nathan and resulted in what will be the couple’s first collaborative full-length, Becca Stevens | Attacca Quartet. The album announcement comes with the first single “45 Bucks” and an accompanying live performance video shot at Skillman Studios in Brooklyn, NY.
In 2013, pianist, composer, and conductor Steven Prutsman proposed the initial string arrangement appearance to Becca. In collaboration with her father, composer William Stevens, they arranged material from her first two albums: 2008’s Tea Bye Sea and 2011’s Weightless. The following summer, as the festival approached, they enlisted string players from the heralded Decoda ensemble, including Nathan. There was an immediate connection between the two musicians, but it would be another year before they met again in a serendipitous twist of fate.
In 2015, Becca traveled to her hometown of Winston-Salem, NC, where her brother—producer, engineer, and composer Bill Stevens—was set to record string arrangements at his studio, Ovation Sound. This time, the stars were aligned for Becca and Nathan. While those early recordings were never released, they set the stage for Becca Stevens | Attacca Quartet and ignited a romance between the two musicians, who married in 2017.
The couple would then return to Bill’s studio in December 2018, but this time, they were joined by Nathan’s Attacca bandmates: cellist Andrew Yee and violinists Amy Schroeder and Keiko Tokunaga (whose seat is now filled by Domenic Salerni). Hailed for their stylistic versatility, the quartet was the perfect foil for Becca, who had long explored a wide range of genres—from folk and jazz to funk and pop. With more than a decade’s worth of music to choose from, the breadth of Becca’s capabilities was more palpable than ever, and the members of Attacca were ready for the challenge.
==========================================================================Rosanne Baker Thornley - In Paris.
“The narrative that runs through this album is – life and the pieces of that journey. The insights. The moments of awe. The losses. The lessons. The determination to continue on” says Rosanne Baker Thornley. ”My inspiration comes from everywhere. From experiences and of people both good and bad. From the simplicities that live between the complexities, I have an inherent want to capture those moments and describe them.” So began a new creative journey for Thornley, and in this journey, a quiet and extraordinary shift occurred; fuelled by the magnetic musical pull that she has fed for years.
Based in Toronto, Thornley has been evolving and expanding her relationship with music (and writing) for quite some time. With her new album, Sorry I’m Late, she further delves into her craft, cultivating songs from an intensely personal space. “As my songwriting years have evolved, my writing is more grounded in writing what I know. In searching my heart and writing that. To be honest. To be vulnerable. To be brave.“ She has worked to distill those emotions that are experienced across generations, and she sheds light on the experiences and stories that have the ability to be profoundly moving. “There’s prescience in what I do. I’ve written many songs on the premise of what I thought I was writing about only to find days, months, sometimes years later that I wrote the song from the future. And though I don’t yet fully grasp the how of that, I simply let myself go with where it takes me and write it all down.” It is precisely those joys, discomforts, and authenticities that accompany vulnerability – and she has channeled those feelings into an expansive and intimate collection of songs.
Emerging on the Canadian music scene years ago, Thornley established herself as the lead vocalist and principal songwriter for ‘Daystar’, ‘Niteskool’ and ‘Bakersmith’, a critically acclaimed album “Courage” via Sony Music – as well as through repeat tours of North America and Europe – garnering both national and international media attention. From her base in Toronto, she established her reputation one show at a time, and had audiences connecting to her stories. Over the past few years, Thornley has continued to hone in on her exceptionally gifted writing talents by working with (and co-writing on) a myriad of artists albums, EPs and standalone singles. With brand new music on the horizon, Thornley has her sights on reconnecting with fans and igniting a renewed interest in her music.
The lush new songs are an ode to self-discovery and to the subtle-yet-profound moments of life. The result is an unpredictable, vulnerable, strident and sincere album, built upon strong lyricism and dynamic musicianship. As she says about the album “My hope is that my music and I will reach and fit into people’s lives, everywhere. That my songs will resonate with people who are struggling with, to or from something. That my songs will tell their stories and pull them into a space that is healing, hopeful, familiar, inspirational, safe. That people will feel seen, comforted, moved, heard.”