Austin-based artist Molly Burch may be unknown at this point, but with a debut as strong as this, it’s hard to believe that that will be the case for long. After moving from Asheville to Austin, Burch found herself reflecting on past loves and past lives. The result was a 7″ single released this month on Captured Tracks, available for purchase via Omnian Music Group. The first of the two-track release, “Downhearted” clearly demonstrates Burch’s musical influences–which are grounded in old school country and blue-eyed soul. It’s a nod to stylistic predecessors such as Dusty Springfield, Patsy Cline and The Shirelles, as well as a heartwarming introduction to the young singer and purveyor of vintage, romantic pop. Hear the dreamy tune below.
Arthur Beatrice – Every Cell
Another band out of the UK making wonderfully bucolic, indie folk is Arthur Beatrice, who celebrate the release of new album Keeping The Peace via Open Assembly Recordings/Polydor Records today. The quartet collaborated with the London Contemporary Orchestra on their sophomore effort to make an inspired work of contemporary pop that manages to feel grand and yet still intimate.
Regarding the raw honesty of the record, vocalist Ella Girardot writes: “Putting yourself and your emotions out there for people to hear can be a terrifying thing, so at times we tended to hide behind words and pristine production. That had to change, because music, for us, above everything, is a release; an escape from an internal battle. A kind of therapy. But it’s impossible to find without brutal honesty. And real honesty is hard, it’s uncomfortable, it’s raw and at times it’s pretty painful, but it’s necessary and at the end of it all you feel that release, that calm.”
Well said. Get a taste of the radiant effort with “Every Cell” below. If you dig it you can purchase Keeping The Peace directly through the band’s website: http://www.online-presence.info.
Billie Marten – Milk & Honey
At the tender age of eight, Billie Marten was given her first guitar and wrote her first ‘proper’ song after having learned four chords from her father. Eight years later — upon being bred on influences such as Laura Marling, David Bowie, Portishead and Loudon Wainwright — the young singer-songwriter from Yorkshire has already made her debut appearance at SXSW and been lauded for her musical abilities. Her new single “Milk & Honey,” released on Chess Club Records is a beatific ballad about greed — specifically, “the thoughts that we’re all sort of stuck in this consumerist frame of mind” explains Marten. Stream via Spotify below.
Mimicking Birds – Memorabilia
Portland’s Mimicking Birds released their sophomore album Eons last year, which was produced by Modest Mouse‘s Isaac Brock on his label Glacial Pace. Although their spectral sound has often been compared to the former, lead singer Nate Lacy’s voice sounds uncannily like that of Bombay Bicycle Club‘s Jack Steadman. Listen to the ethereal track — and highlight of the LP — “Memorabilia” with its esoteric lyrics below.
Mimicking Birds are on tour this month, playing at DC’s Black Cat this very evening. Find the remainder of their tour dates on their website here.
Sufjan Stevens – Should Have Known Better
Sufjan Stevens, the musical genius from Michigan released his new album Carrie & Lowell March 31, and by this point you’ve likely already heard a few tracks if you consider yourself a fan. Named after his mother and stepfather, the elegiac album is essentially a cathartic meditation on death in musical form — after losing his mother to cancer in 2012.
Regarding the record’s subject matter, in a compelling interview with Pitchfork Stevens said: It’s something that was necessary for me to do in the wake of my mother’s death—to pursue a sense of peace and serenity in spite of suffering. It’s not really trying to say anything new, or prove anything, or innovate. It feels artless, which is a good thing. This is not my art project; this is my life.
Without question Stevens’ most profound and personal album should be listened to as a whole, but you can hear a couple of our favorite dirges — “Should Have Known Better” and “All Of Me Wants All Of You” below.
Stevens is going on tour in support of the album next week, and will be bringing his majestic sounds to DC’s DAR Constitution Hall May 5.
Devendra Banhart – Mi Negrita (Daniele Di Martino Edit)
The divine Devendra Banhart is a Venezualan-American folk singer whose fourth album, Mala released in March. His enticing blend of Latin American romantic folk is infused with “flamenco-tinged guitars, ranchera-influenced group vocals, strutting mariachi percussion and quietly-enunciated, reverb-coated Spanish vocals,” as described by All Things Go.
It doesn’t get much better than that – but when you add a beach house backing by the skilled London-based producer Daniele di Martino, the result is an exquisite rework that’s perfect for a Friday afternoon (or rooftop rendezvous).
Make sure to pick up a free download below and check out the tour dates. He’ll be playing at DC’s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue June 8th.
Upcoming Tour Dates:
5/31 Park West – Chicago, IL Buy Tickets
6/1 Saint Andrew’s Hall – Detroit, MI Buy Tickets
6/3 Danforth Music Hall – Toronto. ON Buy Tickets
6/5 Théâtre Corona – Montreal, QC Buy Tickets
6/7 Wilbur Theatre – Boston, MA Buy Tickets
6/8 Sixth & I Historic Synagogue – Washington, DC Buy Tickets
6/10 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA Buy Tickets
6/12 The Town Hall – New York, NY Buy Tickets
6/26 Button Factory – Dublin, Ireland Buy Tickets
6/28 The Old Market – Brighton, UK Buy Tickets
6/29 Glastonbury Festival – Pilton, UK Buy Tickets
7/2 Kulturkirch – Köln, Germany Buy Tickets
7/3 Gruenspan – Hamburg, Germany Buy Tickets
7/4 Muffathalle – Munich, Germany Buy Tickets
7/6 Heineken Open’er Festival – Gdynia, Poland Buy Tickets
7/8 Heimathafen Neukölln – Berlin, Germany Buy Tickets
7/9 Mousonturm – Frankfurt, Germany Buy Tickets
7/11 Paradiso – Amsterdam, Netherlands Buy Tickets
7/12 Le Splendid – Lille, France Buy Tickets
7/13 Le Trianon – Paris, FR Buy Tickets
7/14 Montreux Jazz Festival – Montreux, Switzerland Buy Tickets
7/17 The Ritz – Manchester, UK Buy Tickets
7/18 Barbican Hall – London, UK Buy Tickets
7/20 Plaine de la machine à feu, Dour Festival – Dour, Belgium Buy Tickets
7/21 Colours of Ostrava festival – Ostrava, Czech Republic Buy Tickets
7/22 KKL Luzerner Saal – Lucerne Switzerland Blue Balls Festival Buy Tickets
7/25 Piazza Napoleone – Lucca, Italy With Neil Young Buy Tickets
7/26 Rock in Rome – Rome, Italy With Neil Young Buy Tickets
7/27 CarroPonte – Milan, Italy Buy Tickets
7/30 Sala Apolo – Barcelona, Spain Buy Tickets
7/31 Teatro Circo Price – Madrid, Spain Buy Tickets
8/2 Casa da Musica – Porto, Portugal Buy Tickets
8/3 CCB, Lisbon – Portugal Buy Tickets
8/24 FYF Fest – Los Angeles, CA Buy Tickets
Ben Howard – Only Love
Ben Howard is the adorable Brit and singer-songwriter, whom I first discovered via this Moonlight Matters Rework of his 2010 single “The Fear.” His debut album, Every Kingdom, released October 2011, and has been steadily climbing the charts ever since — peaking at #4 on the UK Albums Chart in February this year after landing two BRIT Awards.
While it’s hard to stand out in the vast singer-songwriter genre, Ben Howard manages to do so with his unique vocal stylings and haunting musical sensibilities. His sound reminds me of José González, which frankly, the world could use more of.
Upcoming US tour dates include Coachella next weekend, The Fillmore in SF directly thereafter, and then finally at Central Park Summer Stage in NY July 29 after a number of stops abroad (including Glastonbury in June!). Check out “Only Love” below, along with a mellowed out and remarkable rendering of “Call Me Maybe.”