There’s a well-worn adage which states that great art can be born from pain. That’s certainly the case with Solas, the latest from the Answer. Coming off a 2015 tour, the band returned to Northern Ireland to face dire circumstances. The members faced dire emotional and financial circumstances that drove the collective to the precipice, wondering if there would ever be new Answer music again. Eventually, the collective returned to what it had done for the previous 15 years, making music. Determined to come back with a stronger effort than ever before the quartet set about making Solas. Taking its name from the Gaelic word for light, the LP shows a markedly improved and mature band examining both the light and the darkness that light has to offer.
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Tim Easton said of Texas singer-songwriter Adam Carroll, “Adam Carroll is East Texas’ own Shakespeare of song…. His songs belong in Texan and Bayou anthropology courses, but mostly they should belong to your car stereo speakers.” We couldn’t agree more as Carroll’s songs are genuine, poetic, literary and relatable tales of life in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
This coming Friday, October 28th Austin-based Eight 30 Records is releasing a tribute to the influential Carroll entitled Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll, which includes takes on Carroll’s music by leading Americana luminaries like the Band of Heathens, Hayes Carll, Tim Easton, James McMurtry, and Slaid Cleaves.
Honey-voiced singer Lizz Wright is equally at home in jazz and soul and she brings those two traditions together in her video tribute to jazz vocal legend Ella Fitzgerald as her centennial birthday arrives in April 2017. Wright has chosen Hoagy Carmichael’s 1938 classic “Nearness of You”, which found it’s biggest success with the Glenn Miller Band’s rendition in 1940. Wright‘s phrasing on the tune is phenomenal as she digs into the song’s meanings to deliver a new version of the well-known tune for modern times.
Brooklyn’s Dinowalrus recently released their fourth album, Fairweather, which extends the psychedelic rock band’s palette into the mesmerizing, trippy, dancey vibes of late ‘80s/early ‘90s Manchester and the more dreamy side of Britpop. The band’s latest single is “Tides”, a song that wraps you up inside its swirling textures. The video honors the music beautifully with its inventive use of color and shifting tones. This is some seriously great psych music that proves Dinowalrus are very much masters of their psychedelic domain.
London’s Crystal Fighters are one of the more interesting contemporary bands as they mash up musical styles to create the most memorable of catchy earworms. Melodies and instruments from Basque folk music are intertwined with electronic music beats. Acoustic, electric, and electronic elements coalesce utterly naturally in their music. This Friday the band is due to release their third album, Everything Is My Family, and we’ve got the premiere of Crystal Fighters’ brand new anthemic single “Lay Low”, which rises to rousing crescendos and wall of sound vocal choruses. It’s a stellar, joyous, glorious tune, with killer melodies and it promises that the band’s new record may be the very best yet.