Sure, it doesn’t hurt to have an uncle as supremely talented like Steve Earle, but like her cousin Justin Townes Earle, Emily Earle is perfectly happy earning her stripes on her own, graduating from the Berklee School of Music and busking in the New York subway. Less rugged-sounding as her male relatives, Emily’s approach is a warm blend of mainstream country and Americana, which comes out beautifully on “Red Rose” (CONNECT).
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Rock music might be at an all-time low ebb these days, but that hasn’t stopped earnest young bands like We Hunt Buffalo from trying like hell to bring some new energy to the stagnant genre. A strong balance of stoner rock heaviness and hard rock hookiness, the trio excelled on their 2013 EP Blood From a Stone, and sound even better on their new album living Ghosts, which comes out 25 September.
The brainchild of Vancouver singer-songwriter Christopher Smith, four-piece band Dralms follows Smith’s first two solo releases by offering more depth, richness, and in a nice little twist, considerably more darkness. Case in point, the brooding track “Shook”, which has been given a brilliant remix by indie duo Peaking Lights, who give it a strong dub sound, whose Blur-like groove is irresistible.
Formed in Edinburgh and now based in Manchester, Midas Fall focus on the more contemplative side of progressive rock, continuing where the Gathering and Anathema have gone recently, but veering off in their own direction. The key difference is singer Elizabeth Heaton, whose tender voice brings sensitivity to the music, often echoing the likes of Loreena McKennitt and Elizabeth Fraser.
Evan Sawdey: I’ve been listening to Joe McBride’s (aka Synkro) album for some time now, and it truly is a “lay in bed with the lights off and your headphones on” kind of trip. There’s a lot of great mood, ambient texture, and walking-the-streets-at-night vibes going on, making it a pretty fascinating little item to drop in 2015. Unfortunately, “Shoreline” is definitely one of its lesser moments, a bit of flaccid post-Squarepusher beatmongering dressed up in ambient clothing. It’s dark and atmospheric but also drab and uninviting. There are numerous great tunes on the full-length, but “Shoreline”, sadly earmarked as a single, just ain’t one of ‘em. [4/10]