Albatross | Burden To Bear

A month ago I was emailed about this track and have been waiting for it to be taken off private so I could premiere it here as soon as possible. I won’t lie, I was a little perturbed when the email subject had the words “Mumford and Sons protege” in the title as I really don’t think they need any more exposure. An opinion that is unpopular but unnecessary to share here as this track is absolutely excellent. Having worked with the blindingly popular UK band for numerous years, Albatross has now struck out as a solo artists ahead of his debut LP Desperate Times Best Forgotten. The single is out now on iTunes and is worth listening to if Americana tinged slow-dance efforts are your thing. This is beer music, pure and simple.

Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell | This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)

Sometimes a real beauty is waiting for you in your email inbox at the end of a long day and today is one of those such days. After posting about numerous small bands sometimes it’s nice to see a track drop from artists you’ve been listening to since the days of shoulder length hair and kissing girls behind the bike shed at school (not even joking I did actually spend my time doing that). This track taken from the new album Sing Into My Mouth has been recorded by Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell and the name behind Iron & Wine, Sam Beam.

The album is a loving homage to songs that the two longtime friends, first time collaborators, see as intrinsic influential aspects of their careers. I always kinda love this stuff, many see it as a cash grab or simply not real albums by artists they like but look at it this way. These guys both have incredibly successful careers and have no need to record these tracks but instead produce an easter egg to their independent bodies of work. It reminds me fondly of Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar’s Kerouac tribute One Fast Move Or I’m Gone.

The album is available on iTunes preorder ahead of it’s July 17th release.

CHI | Tender [Cover]

I’ve always loved a good cover. I know it sounds ridiculous but there’s something in seeing a new take on a classic or a development of an obscure tune. Right off the top of my head I remember Hendrix making “All Along the Watchtower” his proverbial bitch and to this day Dylan plays it in the way Hendrix did as an homage to the quality musicians can exude into each other’s songs. With that in mind here is Bristol/Spanish raised CHI and her cover of Blur’s Tender. I remember seeing Blur at Glastonbury in 2009 and Tender was the undoubtable highlight of the set. To the point that when everyone was stumbling through the mud to their tents you could hear drunken renditions across Worthy Farm for the rest of the night. CHI retains all the emotive structure of the original but uses her masterfully trained voice to stamp her own wonderful homage on an already excellent track.

Rationale | Fast Lane

I’m definitely jumping on the bandwagon for this one. I was conflicted about whether or not to post this up but it’s just too good not to share and seeing as this blog also functions as my own long winded playlist it would be shameful not to feature Rationale’s latest track “Fast Lane.” Fuck me, this is hot shit. So many artists are refuting the self-image instead focusing on the production of their music and this is another shining example in Rationale. What with the advent of technological abilities to make work and the ease of collaboration and self-learning, artists are now increasingly able to produce full bodied tracks whilst maintaining privacy and anonymity. Rationale manage to pick us up with a soulful baritone over wonderfully crafted musical landscapes and for that we are entirely lucky. It’s a track for a contemplative evening which, seeing as Scotland has now clouded over until George RR Martin finishes “A Song of Ice and Fire,” is perfect for me. Watch out for the debut EP coming on an indeterminate date which, judging by this track, is too far away already.

Wildfront | Cruel Tides

This is what I’m talking about. Nashville based band Wildfront have released their latest single via the wonderful website that is The 405. Sunset-tinged, according to the review, this is the perfect for a road trip (not in the UK, somewhere with sun) and makes me hanker for those 80s singer calypso rhythyms. Nothing makes one more excited for the Summer than building the soundtrack from groups such as these guys. Keep an eye out for future releases because any music that makes you feel this good is worth keeping around.

Black Surf | Lights Out

I’ve been posting a lot of the summer plinky plonky (not as derogatory as it sounds) tunes lately as the sun has made it’s bi-decade appearance over this little island so you’ll all be glad to know I’ve returned to my original grunge influence roots. Note I said grunge-influenced. This is not grunge, but it carries the shades of the Weezer records I played endlessly back in my adolescence days of chasing girls too pretty, worrying about my life ending problems of homework and hidden weekly cigarettes where I desperately tried to convince everyone I was grown up. Still a work in progress.

Black Surf, from Leeds (a horribly under-appreciated hub for live music) are set to release their debut EP and to build the hype released the fuzzy best-of-the-90s single Lights Out to wet our appetite. This could be good this.

Holy ’57 | Island Kids

The sun in Scotland is so rare that as soon as it hits the sky and bathes my pasty white skin with overdue heat I gravitate towards the sound of summer quicker than I can drink a pint in a beer garden. Holy ’57 is a new London based project by Alex Mankoo and Island Kids is the first release under this moniker. A hint of Motown saturated with summer single coil guitars makes for the perfect accompaniment to Summer cigarettes and good chat. Don’t go to work, listen to this instead.

Tiny Rhymes | Arrows

When I’m walking to the studio to make life changing pieces of art I often stare at my reflection in the car windows and laugh at what the badge covered denim jacket, the tatty tight jeans, the unkempt hair and week long stubble. When did I become a wannabe rock star punk? My taste in music has gravitated towards the more angst driven, hurt bound, loud and aggressive guitar led songs. Despite this, there’s a part in all of us that loves the soundtrack of Juno and secretly love a few hundred Belle & Sebastian tracks. Twee is getting trendy these days and no matte how cool we think we are, a song that reminds you of innocence and girls you used to fancy will always get stuck in your head.

Although a bit cute compared to my normal taste, Tiny Rhymes from Canada and Buffalo have managed to tap into that summer mind which curiously enjoys a glass of Pimms on the grass. Even if I’m gonna smoke a cigarette and look moody doing it. Their debut album hits on June 23rd and Arrows is the lead single. Lucky us eh?

• Seoul • | Real June

As soon as summer hits I become a blubbering alcoholic mess who can’t seem to wash his own clothes but can consume more beer than Homer Simpson on a bender. Not something to be proud of but as I’m attempting to settle back into a degree of normality I thought blogging may be just the ticket. • Seoul’s • debut I Became A Shade came out two days ago on Grand Jury and Real June is the perfect tune for the upcoming beleaguered summer days. As I live in Scotland I often need to be reminded that yes, it is in fact June and not November which this song does brilliantly. Upbeat synth and single coil guitars keep this indie pop delight pushing through the ennui of summer boredom.

Highly recommended, gold star.

Sharon Van Etten | I Don’t Want To Let You Down

I want to go for a pint with Sharon Van Etten. Not only is her hauntingly soulful voice totally hypnotic but I imagine she’s got a class anecdote or two for me to be jealous of in my woefully inexperienced life. “I Don’t Want To Let You Down” is the title track off her upcoming EP slated for release June 9th on Jagwaguwar. Typically driven through nuanced guitars Van Etten’s voice manages to lull you into the sense of security that no matter how bad your life is, she understands and will probably share whatever misery you share with an equally poignant one of her own. It’s out for pre-order on iTunes now so get on with it mate.