Dec 28, 2011
Inspired by an idea from my fellow AMP members, I really wanted to put out a show of tracks from artists who I think are worth keeping an eye on in 2012. When I sat down to compile the show, I found that I had at least two shows worth of talent, so this week and next will feature a total of 20 artists to watch.
Photo: Sunset tonight here in Suffolk. The nights should be getting shorter by a few seconds every day now. In a few months the sun will be passing way higher than the weak showing above the horizon that it managed today. I, for one, am looking forward to that.
Hope and Ruin - The Trews (Toronto, Canada)
The Hope and Ruin album was recorded in the wilds of Bath, Ontario.
“We were just looking to run away a little,” guitarist John-Angus MacDonald admits. “And we wanted to do something fun, organic, be a band again, all that stuff.”
“It was like anything was up for grabs,” continues John-Angus, “And we just needed to get a hold of where we were at, which is why we retreated to Bath. We went there to try and figure out what kind of record was in us.”
And so bassist Jack Syperek, drummer Sean Dalton, and the two MacDonald brothers faded into the bucolic splendor of Bath, Ontario, where they had so much fun and got so organic that a couple months later, the Trews had a new album – Hope and Ruin. Or maybe it should be called Order Out of Chaos.
I just heard that they have a series of US dates between January 11 and 21, when you can catch them in Madison WI, Milwaukee WI, Toledo OH, Cleveland OH, Philadelphia, PA, New York NY, Boston MA, Providence RO and Watertown NY.
Creepy Little Story - Charlotte Eriksson (London via Gothenburg, Sweden)
Charlotte Eriksson, also called the GlassChild, is from Sweden, Gothenburg, but has always gone her own way, leaving people amazed by her determination and independence. Only 19 years old, she moved all on her own to London to pursue her music and prove what she can do. After only 3 months she has already played with a full band at famous venues around London like the Water Rats, the Bull & Gate, the Enterprise etc. and she’s steady and carefully building a name for herself.
“I moved and left everything I had built for 19 years. I learned how to build my home in my music. When I sing, I'm not scared anymore. I want this to mean something. I believe in writing your own story, and that's what I'm doing here. I'm just a glass child. I'm still creepy little me.”
She's switching between lyrics like poetry with a fragile broken voice, to strong and edgy songs with a crystal clear punk/rock-voice that cuts right through. Being compared as a ”punk version of Bjork and Lykke Li”, to songwriters and vocalists such as Hayley Williams (Paramore) and Juliet Simms (Automatic Loveletters), she’s got a lot of power in her many ways of using her voice. Her music is naked and honest, and leaves you with feelings you never thought you had. ”I want to make a mess inside of people. I want to make them think.” the 20-year old says.
Where the wild Ones Go - Trevor Sewell (Sunderland, UK)
Trevor was first featured back on show 242. He later joined me on show from his home studio in Sunderland, UK for a chat and to hear a few more tracks from his new album Calling your Name
Very much in the tradition of early Eric Clapton and Freddie King, Sewell has his own inimitable style that coasts easily between traditional values and the confident and almost nonchalant style that he has recently become known for.
Trevor has played and recorded with various entourages including The Revillos, The Monroes and the legendary PJ Proby.
His songwriting has to date somehow managed to evade the attention of the masses but maybe … just maybe that might be set to change.
Trevor has out together a special package of three tracks from the new album, especially for Suffolk ’n’ Cool listeners. You can download a zip file containing the tracks Where the Wild Ones Go, Hate Me for a Reason and Condemned.
Pick up your copy, quite free and legal from:
No One's There - Anika (Berlin and Bristol)
Living between Berlin and Bristol while working as a political journalist and music promoter, Anika met Portishead's Geoff Barrow through a mutual friend. Raised by music loving parents, Anika spent an early, brief part of her childhood in Germany. By the time she was 16 she had already bought shares in her family’s music festival in Haldern, met Patti Smith and was dreaming of a life making music.
Still only 23, Anika's sophisticated music is likely to draw comparisons to Marianne Faithfull during her post-punk/dub Broken English period and Nico during her halcyon days, Anika is sure to make an indelible impression on the music world. Not a bad start for a new talent whose album was no more than an idea just a year ago.
Fade - Hudson K (Knoxville, TN, USA)
We heard from Hudson K in 279.
Hudson K is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Christina Horn. Combining influences that span decades, Christina’s work dwells in the abstract, emerging in timeless forms. Drawing her inspiration from other such artists as Tori Amos and Tom Waits, Hudson K has crafted their own unique sound of avant-garde and pop fusion. Incredibly photogenic and fashion-minded, Horn is a glamorous figure for the alternative music realm; a seeming star-in-waiting, successor to that mystical/sexual rock-heroine crown.
The New York-born Horn pulls from her music school education and her experience producing scores when it comes to writing songs. Her songs are literary, evocative, and complicated; their dramatic ebb and flow is wildly varied, but a smooth and cohesive ride through and through. All told, you could listen to this one for years and never get sick of it; like your favorite book or movie, you'll always find something new whenever you come back.
Red Tag Nation - May McDonough & Co. (LA, USA)
Dark hints of Tom Waits?
A remarkable voice, startling instrumentation and worrying lyrics create a perfect storm of slightly unsettling music which, like any art form, is exactly what it is supposed to do.
May McDonough and Co.'s story sounds a little like that abstract French film you saw once in college. You know there is a theme buried somewhere just out of grasp, and yet the bizarre imagery and odd characters leave you feeling a bit confused, a bit cultured, perhaps a bit enlightened, but mostly just exhausted. May McDonough is the first born child of a couple of private investigators who met on the job in the late seventies. May's father started his own private investigations bureau, and May's mother (who was known as Digger around the office) had just left her job taming lions, tigers, and elephants for Hollywood for a more cerebral job in the p.i. field.
Stemming from such unique individuals as these, May was born to be a wild card. And her life is supposedly as intriguingly unique as her parents, if not more so. In her own words 'I seem to be a magnet for strange happenings that no one would ever believe to be true'.
Now May plays with her ragtag band of junkyard dogs. Her band wails away at lead pipes, trashcans, and overturned bicycles, as she sludges through chords and eases through chest-searing vocals that open even the most tightly crossed arms.”
You can download May’s music free from the Facebook page at
Tanktop - Caroline Smith & The Good Night Sleeps (Minneapolis, USA)
Since her arrival in Minneapolis during the fall of 2006 as an 18-year-old, singer/songwriter, Caroline Smith has become a celebrated part of the Midwest artist community.
Her career began as a solo artist with a residency at Minneapolis' 400 Bar, a once reputable venue pivotal in shaping the careers of Elliott Smith, Conor Oberst, and local hero, Mason Jennings who less than a decade before began his own career with the same residency. Here she developed an independent sound which continues to be characterized by simple chord structures supporting sweet pop vocal melodies. Most recognizable in her music and the defining quality to her success is her alto singing voice quivering through vibrato, classic and controlled with the presence of Billie Holiday, Leslie Feist, and Joanna Newsom.
In 2007, Smith befriended drummer Arlen Peiffer (Cloud Cult), bassist Jesse Schuster, and multi-instrumentalist David Earl and the boys joined forces to support Caroline's folk tunes as the Good Night Sleeps. In August of 2008, Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps released their debut full length, Backyard Tent Set.
Most recently, Caroline Smith and company have completed tracking a new full length at the Terrarium in Minneapolis with Jason Orris (Polara, Happy Apple, Haley Bonar) and the songs are currently being mixed with Tom Herbers (Low, Dark Dark Dark, Andrew Bird). Little Wind expands upon Backyard Tent Set's story-telling whimsy, but shifts its foundation from the simplicities of folk to greater nuances of musical arrangement and soundscape rooted in modern indie rock. Loyal to the heart of Smith's sound, Caroline's unforgettable and endearing pop melodies remain the proudest strength of the record. Release is set for September 20th. I’ve had a listen to the album and it really is rather good. A little like SnC favourites Shayna Zaid and the Catch.
A Woman Scorned - Jordan Reyne (New Zealand / London)
A special airing of a track from Jordan Reyne’s new album Children of a Factory Nation. I’ve had a preview of the album and it is, quite frankly, stunning.
The new album from Jordan Reyne is a tour de force, not just to be impressed by, but also an album in which to get totally and gloriously lost. Every track is pure Jordan Reyne and yet there is masses of variety from "traditional" ballads to the essence of pure rock.
Her signature use of industrial and found sounds could be dismissed as just a gimmick - until you hear the intelligent and measured ways in which she uses them to enhance her songs. Her fabulously expressive voice and playing is fortunately complemented by the hallmark of a real musician - finely-tuned ears.
The overall effect is of a musician of serious intent and driven passion for her craft and for the people she sings about. The recording / mastering gives the impression that her voice is just inches from your ear - deliciously disturbing.
Jordan Reyne is carving a her own niche in the sometimes monotonous world of contemporary music. This is truly independent music that will surely (if there is any justice in this world) reach its audience.
If this album is Jordan’s once in a lifetime “masterpeice”, she should always feel very proud of it. Something tells me that she has the appetite and talent to climb to even greater heights.
Secret Window - Dusty Wright (NYC, USA)
Suffice it to say that Dusty Wright has been around the block a few times over the past 30 years since moving to NYC.
Dusty described one episode that captures the essence:
I first fronted The Trolls, an acoustic duo that specialized in kid songs for adults. After several thousand gigs with my partner Didi, it was time to move on. Soon after, I cofounded the punk garage quartet Bastards of Execution (aka BöE). An East Village staple that pre-dated the Seattle grunge movement by several years, our legendary shows at such storied venues like the Limelight and Downtown Beirut soon afforded us an international cult following. Our twisted originals and obscure cover tunes provided the perfect antidote for the pedestrian synth pop then coveted by the jaded rock press and pushed by the predictable FM radio playlists.
Needless to say, it was all too much and after two years we imploded.
A poignant, award winning for Secret Window is at http://culturecatch.com/vidcast/dusty-wright-secret-window-music-video
Try very hard to watch it full screen and HD with headphones or decent speakers.
Better with Butter - Charles Pasi (Paris, France)
Charles Pasi's album Uncaged is available digitally and he is playing shows all over France during the summer.