Indie folk artist Rocky Votolato follows his 2015 album, Hospital Handshakes, with a new EP, Sawdust and Shavings, as he heads out on tour in Europe. Sawdust and Shavings features several new versions tunes from the recent album that have been reimagined in sparer fashion. “Shortcuts” and “Kids As Kids” are two previously unreleased tracks and Votolato re-records “Hospital Handshakes” with Emily Kokal of Warpaint. Votolato says that “the new EP deals with overcoming and casting out demons, but there is a light at the end of tunnel in these songs. It’s really about recovery, healing, and the renewed sense of purpose we can find after hard experiences.”
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Nathan Lawr (a.k.a. Minotaurs) is an experimental soul, respecting no boundaries as he explores his musical adventures. Lawr previously worked with King Cobb Steelie, a band that blended electronic, dub and punk back in the ‘90s. He then moved on to Royal City, as well as having worked with the Constantines, Jim Guthrie and FemBots. This restless musician is now focused on his new project Minotaurs and his third album under that moniker, Weird Waves releasing March 11th. Lawr describes the record as being an “apocalyptic-psychedelic afro-folk epic”, something you can hear straight away on his new single “Stayed Too Long”, which begins rather like an indie pop tune before picking up some funk beats and moving into an all-on jazzy, soul section. Lawr’s music is forward looking and his tunes always go someplace, often in unexpected ways, which makes this thoroughly exciting music.
We like soul musician Nigel Hall so much at PopMatters that we placed his recent album at #3 on our Best R&B of 2015 list late last year. Colin McGuire wrote that “‘Gimme a Sign’ takes R&B music back to a time when wasn’t just a genre, it was a lifestyle, its guitar recalling that of Steve Cropper and his work on pretty much every Stax Records single between 1962 and 1965.
Irish American roots music band Solas has been around for 20 years thrilling audiences with their forward-looking Irish music. Many amazing musicians have played in Solas over the years, including fiddler Winifred Horan, accordionist Mick McAuley, and founding member Seamus Egan. For their brand new record, All These Years, releasing today, Solas has brought back all of the musicians and singers who have passed through the group over the years and they also introduce a brand-new vocalist, Moira Smiley, who previously worked with tUnE-yArDs.
“We thought it was a way for us to celebrate the past with all of the people who had been important to us over the years,” says Egan. “But we didn’t want use this as an exercise in nostalgia, because we weren’t interested in that at all. Even though we’ve been at it 20 years, I think creatively we’re still as excited about the possibilities as we were back then.”
San Francisco rockers Happy Fangs recently released their debut album, Capricorn, and they have a brand new video directed by Jim Mitchell, who has worked on films such as Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, and two Harry Potter movies. So, “Controlled Burn” possesses highly cinematic qualities, as well as showing off the band’s heavy rocking sounds that are equally influenced by punk and metal.