Led by singer-songwriter Tina Karkinen, Finnish band Swaying Wires put a distinct Nordic spin on traditional Americana. Subtle elements of psychedelia creep into the music adding richness and mystery—not unlike the Sadies, come to think of it—which you can hear on the new track “Nowhere”, from their new album I Left a House Burning, which will be released on 15 January.
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Hailing from the Isle of Man, between Ireland and Great Britain, Barrule explore the deep, obscure Manx Gaelic culture on their new album Manannan’s Cloak. As you can hear on the track “Fir-Hammag Yioogh (High Net Worth Individuals)”, it sounds both rousing, alien, and ancient at the same time, as fascinating a Celtic track to come out in 2015.
Led by visionary composer/multi-instrumentalist Kris Force, Amber Asylum have been artfully blending neoclassical and dark ambient music for nearly 20 years now, and have just released their latest album Sin Eater this past Friday 4 December. As usual the pairing of ornate string instrumentation and dark, gothic themes casts an intoxicating spell, but nowhere does it work better than on the wonderful cover of Candlemass’s 1999 song “TOT”. By stripping the composition of its doom metal bombast and instead focusing more on minimalism and contemplation, it packs a powerful emotional punch.
Best known for helping define American new wave music with the band Scandal, Patty Smyth has returned with her first new album since 1999, in the form of the Christmas record Come on December, made with fellow longtime Scandal bandmate Keith Mack. Not only is it a timely release for the holiday season, but it benefits the Headstrong Project, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide cost-free, stigma-free, and bureaucracy-free mental healthcare to post-9/11, and Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans.
Veteran New Jersey band Speed the Plough are set to release their diverse and spellbinding eighth album Now this month, and in advance of its release it can be heard in its entirety below. Joining founding members John and Toni Baumgartner on this album are their son Mike on guitar, Cindi Merklee on bass and vocals, Ed Seifert on guitar and vocals, and John Demeski, son of Feelies drummer and Speed the Plough alumnus Stan Demeski.
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