On the surface, the tune “Lion Tattoo”, the closing number off of David Strange’s forthcoming self-titled EP, sounds nothing more like a graceful lullaby on fingerpicked guitar. If one listens closely, however, to both the subtle production technique and the lyrics (there’s talk of a boy with tentacles at one point), it’s easy to tell that Strange is, well, an artist that more than lives up to his name. Then again, one was probably already clued into that fact by one gander at the EP cover art—thank the heavens for strategically placed fish. Below you can stream this weird and delightful little song, which encapsulates an epigram of Strange’s: “Reality is inherently psychedelic.”
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In his 7 out of 10 review of David Gray’s Mutineers for PopMatters, Colin McGuire writes, “It’s easy to say that David Gray’s latest set… is the kind of follow-up to 1998’s smash White Ladder for which longtime fans have been waiting some 16 years.”
To kick off the new year, Gray released a new version of the Mutineers number “Snow in Vegas”, where he is joined by LeAnn Rimes in a lovely duet.
The best religious music doesn’t proselytize. Rather, it enraptures you in its beauty, showing the strength of its convictions without forcing you into its grasp—it invites you into communion with it, no matter your walk of life. The talented songwriter Manika Kaur knows this, a fact that can be heard on full display on her latest LP, Bow to You Waheguru.
The record’s press release gives some context for the LP’s lyrical explorations: “Kaur’s musical output is inseparable from her spiritual heritage. All her songs flow from her devout Sikh faith, from the songs and sacred stories her family shared as she was growing up in Australia.” As evinced by tracks such as opener “Aukhee Gharhee”, which is laced with gorgeous violin, Kaur’s ability to make her unique religious experiences feel universal in their magnanimity of feeling is a powerful one.
Stream “Aukhee Gharhee” below.
Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Oklahoma singer/songwriter Beau Jennings took on a quest for inspiration from one of the greats: fellow Oklahoman Will Rogers. The film that resulted from his project, The Verdigris: In Search of Will Rogers, will be making its way around the festival circuit in the winter of 2015. In a few weeks, the album Jennings wrote in tandem with the filming of the documentary, The Verdigris, will be released. The LP features brand new material by Jennings inspired by his understanding of Rogers’ music. Below you can stream one of those tunes, “Scattered Lights”, which finds Sufjan Stevens (background vocals) joining Jennings for a reflective piano ballad.
Time Out New York once said about the singer/songwriter Jesse Harris, “[His] gift lies in his deft rendering of fleeting moods and passing moments.” This holds particularly true for “Catch the Ash”, a track off of Harris’ new album with Star Rover, No Wrong No Right. The spartan tune uses delicately played minor chords to slow down time as Harris reminds us to “catch the ash before it falls”. Harris rose to fame after writing Norah Jones’ Grammy-winning song “Don’t Know Why”, but since then he’s remained a prolific and unique recording artist, a streak continued by No Wrong No Right.