folk . americana . blues . rock&roll


Genre pick of the week Cover of False Lankum by Lankum.


False Lankum

    False Lankum follows their 2019 breakthrough album The Livelong Day, which paved the way for critical and commercial success, earning them that year’s RTE Choice Music Prize (the Irish equivalent of the Album of the Year Grammy) and the #8 spot on NPR Music’s Best Albums of the Year list. Drawing on traditional folk songs, Lankum put their own dark, distinctive mark onto each, leaning into heavy drones and sonic distortion that imparts new intensity and beauty into each track. This record sees the band cement their breakout from the folk genre, creating bold, contemporary music that may be fashioned from traditional elements but is firmly new, sitting comfortably alongside Rough Trade labelmates like black midi and Gilla Band. False Lankum also features two original tracks, ‘Netta Perseus’ and ‘The Turn’, both penned by the group’s Daragh Lynch.

    ‘Go Dig My Grave’ was discovered by Lankum’s Radie Peat who learned the particular version on the album from the singing of Jean Ritchie, who recorded it in 1963 on the album Jean Ritchie and Doc Watson at Folk City. It is a member of a family of songs which seem to be largely made up of what are known as ‘floating verses’, originally composed as stanzas of various different ballads, some of which date back as far as the 17th century.

    “'Our interpretation of the traditional song Go Dig My Grave is one that centres around the emotion of grief – all-consuming, unbearable and absolute” explain Lankum, “A visceral physical reaction to something that the body and mind are almost incapable of processing. The second part of the song is inspired by the Irish tradition of keening (from the Irish caoineadh) – a traditional form of lament for the deceased. Regarded by some as opening up ‘perilous channels of communication with the dead’, the practice came under severe censure from the catholic church in Ireland from the 17th century on.”

    From the start, Dublin’s Lankum planned for False Lankum, their fourth record and third for Rough Trade, to feel like a complete piece – a progression and a journey for the listener. “We wanted to create more contrast on the record so the light parts would be almost spiritual and the dark parts would be incredibly dark, even horror inducing,” they explain. The album’s 12 tracks, composed of 10 traditional songs and two originals, show the four-piece using a new palate to colour their sound in an increasingly experimental way, alongside longtime producer John ‘Spud’ Murphy.


    1. Go Dig My Grave
    2. Clear Away In The Morning
    3. Fugue I
    4. Master Crowley’s
    5. Newcastle
    6. Fugue II
    7. Netta Perseus
    8. The New York Trader
    9. Lord Abore And Mary Flynn
    10. Fugue III
    11. On A Monday Morning
    12. The Turn

    Lauren Barth


      “Driving up the coast highway from LA, once you hit Santa Barbara you are struck with a noticeable change in landscape. It is the gateway to the Central Coast, where the contours of the land begin to take on more dramatic inclines and feelings burn like wildfires. This was the childhood home of Lauren Barth, ranch-living and horseriding amongst the golden and dusty open ranges that still expand through parts of California. It is at these gates of change that Lauren Barth explores on Stormwaiting, her second solo effort and first on the Spiritual Pajamas label.

      “Behind the musical landscape of Stormwaiting, Lauren drew from a backstory she created as inspiration. A young woman and spiritual leader of a commune, blind yet finds her way by a heightened sense of awareness, is caught between the physical world of ‘Rialto’ and the spiritual—‘Morian.’ ‘Stormwaiting’ is slang for living in Rialto and the storm is the tempest within Morian. The cult’s most important message is one of Awareness. Like her protagonist, Lauren steps through these contemplations of change coming, treading one step at a time between the physical and spiritual realms, in a bittersweet anticipation of something upon us. Each song is like a deep breath in, an exhale, a pondering of the past and a wonder about the future with an acute awareness of each passing moment.

      “Barth is a true seasoned folk music player, evoking the California folk movement of the late 1960s like David Crosby (who also hailed from the Santa Barbara area), while also calling upon British influences such as Bert Jansch, Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, and Pentangle, and the later American progressive folk music of Jeff Buckley, Joni Mitchell, and early Bonnie Raitt. In the time since her last solo record in 2017, she picked up the bass with Farmer Dave and the Wizards Of The West, and with her own music gained experience with the process of composing, recording, arranging, and ultimately the confidence to allow her creative instincts to flourish. She found the perfect partner with producer Lewis Pesacof, recording in his Echo Park home studio and has worked with artists such as Pearl Charles, Best Coast, Fidlar, and also works in the world of classical and world music. Tellingly, Stormwaiting has an expansive spirit, a document of a woman and creative spirit finding and embracing her voice beyond folk music and into her own spiritual universe.” —Scary Flowers


      1. Casita
      2. Durango
      3. Stormwaiting
      4. Family Chant II
      5. Paisley
      6. Leave Behind
      7. Highway Sleeping
      8. Lord Of The Lake
      9. Family Chant I

      Blank Gloss


        Sacramento, CA duo Blank Gloss’s third album, Cornered, is an exquisite statement of pop ambient starkness, an album that oscillates between lush beauty and spare melancholy. It follows from their 2021 debut for Kompakt, Melt, an album that saw Morgan Fox (piano, synths) and Patrick Hills (guitar) aligned, loosely, with the cosmic pastorale of the ‘ambient Americana’ movement. Cornered feels like a significant step forward, though – by peeling back the layers of their music, they’ve revealed both its restful core and its solemn gravitas. It is unendingly lovely, but with something disquieting at its centre.

        Cornered was recorded quickly, over two days in December 2020. There’s nothing rushed or haphazard about the album, though; everything has its place, with each sonic element contributing profoundly to these nine miniature dioramas. It signals change, quietly but perceptibly, through the way the duo sculpts their material, building out of loose improvisations that morphed into songs. While there was no plan in mind when Blank Gloss settled into the studio, Fox recalls that “right away we realised that things were sounding and feeling a bit different than any of the sessions we had previously.”

        That difference can be heard in the increased amount of space Blank Gloss gift to their sound sources. Some of the most moving moments on Cornered come when Fox and Hills strip everything back – see, for example, “Crossing”, which sets pensive piano across a shyly humming drone and quiet arcs of guitar, recalling the driftworks of Roger Eno. Curiously, the album’s distinctive shape and mood develops, at least in part, from a change in instrumentation, with Hills using a MIDI pick-up on his guitar. “This resulted in making things happen a lot quicker,” Fox says. “It also helped create what I think is a bit more sombre, dark feeling to some of the songs.”

        Elsewhere, on songs like “Salt”, the piano tussles with flecks of guitar, single tones sent out to mingle with the stars, like Morricone at 16 RPM, while Cornered’s centrepiece, the eleven-minute “No Appetite”, lets long arcs of electronic texture breathe and sigh, tangling together in a cat’s cradle of bliss. Throughout, it feels as though the music is blossoming as you hear it, like watching time-lapse footage of flora in bloom. But perhaps the most seductive thing about Cornered is the sense you get, listening, that the music was something unexpected, a visitation. “It almost felt like we weren’t dictating where the music went and how it sounded,” Fox agrees. “We were just there in a room together in December and these sounds were happening, and we were lucky enough to be recording the process.”


        1. Sender 00:03:44
        2. Dusted 00:03:40
        3. Get Well Soon 00:03:22
        4. No Appetite 00:10:42
        5. Soda Lake 00:04:59
        6. Crossing 00:02:48
        7. On The Ground 00:04:06
        8. Salt 00:06:07
        9. Dressed Alike 00:04:08

        Fontaines D.C. / Let's Eat Grandma

        The Endless Coloured Ways: The Songs Of Nick Drake

          The Endless Coloured Ways is a collection of songs by legendary singer / songwriter, Nick Drake, performed and recorded by over 30 incredible artists from a range of different backgrounds, genres, age groups and audiences. From Fontaines D.C to Guy Garvey, and Aurora to Feist, each artist has offered their own incredible take on a timeless classic.


          Cello Song - Fontaines D.C
          From The Morning - Let's Eat Grandma

          Grant Lee Buffalo

          Fuzzy - 2023 Reissue

            Originally released in 1993, Fuzzy is the debut release from Grant Lee Buffalo. Rising from the ashes of the recently defunct Shiva Burlesque, the trio of Grant Lee Philips, Paul Kimble and Joey Peters went on to record four studio albums. This premiere created a mellow and political charged album that beautifully fuses many genres into a mellow Americana release, showcasing Grant Lee Phillips evocative voice and paved the way for what was to come. Warm yet angsty, it wields melancholy like a double-barreled shotgun whose bullet rockets through the soul.

            TRACK LISTING

            The Shining Hour
            Jupiter And Teardrop
            Wish You Well
            The Hook
            Soft Wolf Tread
            Stars N’ Stripes
            Dixie Drug Store
            America  Snoring
            You Just Have To Be Crazy

            Grant Lee Buffalo

            Mighty Joe Moon - 2023 Reissue

              Originally released in 1994, Mighty Joe Moon is the second release from Grant Lee Buffalo Appearing in the midst of the grunge movement, the trio took raw emotion and embraced it with just as much abrasion but toned it down into a more singer/ songwriter tone, thanks to Grant Lee Phillips' mix of glaring guitars and hushed vocals, that was unlike anything else at the time. With a nod to its predecessor, it is a more complex affair drawing in the listener on a more personal level. The fre burning in him, Phillips blazes through the themes of politics, love, the human spirit, and ends the album with a very chilling take on his own version of the old hymn Rock of Ages.

              TRACK LISTING

              Lone Star Song
              It's The Life
              Sing Along
              Mighty Joe Moon
              Demon Called Deception
              Lady Godiva And Me
              Last Days Of Tecumseh
              Honey Don't Think
              Side By Side
              Rock Of Ages

              Elvis Presley

              Elvis Live 1972

                Elvis Live 1972 compiles the best of the rehearsal recordings around Elvis’ April 1972 US tour, all taken from the new Elvis On Tour collection. The 2LP set features rare and previously unreleased versions of “Burning Love”, “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Jailhouse Rock,” along with some of Elvis’ favourite cover songs, gospel songs and more.

                TRACK LISTING

                SIDE A
                1. Burning Love Take 3 *
                2. For The Good Times Take 5 *
                3. Always On My Mind Take 3
                4. Separate Ways Take 2
                5. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
                SIDE B
                1. See See Rider Take 2
                2. Proud Mary Take 2
                3. Never Been To Spain Take 2
                4. Until It’s Time For Me To Go
                5. Polk Salad Annie
                6. All Shook Up
                7. Heartbreak Hotel
                SIDE C
                1. Help Me Make It Through The Night
                2. Young And Beautiful
                3. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
                4. Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)
                5. A Big Hunk O’Love Take 2
                6. Funny How Time Slips Away
                7. Can’t Help Falling In Love
                SIDE D
                1. I, John
                2. Bosom Of Abraham
                3. You Better Run
                4. Lead Me, Guide Me
                5. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus/Nearer My God To Thee
                6. How Great Thou Art *

                * Previously Unreleased

                David Tattersall

                On The Sunny Side Of The Ocean

                  David Tattersall, the Wave Pictures guitarist and frontman releases a solo album of interpretations of John Fahey tunes, recorded live in the studio. "I have been a fan of John Fahey's music since I was very young; it has always been with me and I can't remember a time when I wasn't affected by it. It is weird music, and very good. Of course, Fahey is an important cult figure in the history of music: as the first man to find a language for steel string guitar that can stand proudly alongside the established tradition of nylon string classical guitar; as one of many men who rediscovered obscure old blues musicians and recorded them for a new generation in the 1960s; as one uniquely able to reconcile 20th century avant-garde music with folk tradition; as an early indie-label DIY pioneer. For me personally, Fahey went beyond technique, and to some extent beyond historical or intellectual justifications for his work. He explored his emotions through his instrument of choice, and in so doing made the case for the guitar as the ultimate conduit for emotional expression. While there are many imitators who try to play ''like Fahey'', I avoided using his fingerpicking style or sense of rhythm, and tried instead to use his music to explore my own emotions, my own dreams and memories. I was more interested in the lyrical and expressive aspects of Fahey's music than in the techniques of it. I tried to find myself within his compositions and without composing anything I feel that I have managed to make a David Tattersall record that says as much about me as any of the many albums that I have written. John Fahey's beautiful discography shows that the guitar can carry as much mystery and soul as the human voice, and simply put, I wanted in on a little of this action. This is my second all-instrumental solo acoustic album, and where this differs from my first attempt, Little Martha, is that here I improvised freely. I used Fahey's originals only as guides. I'm not sure what I was looking for, perhaps something beyond explanation, but I tried to be as free as possible, and I am delighted by the spontaneous results. Hopefully, they will make the listener feel happy and dreamy, just like the effect that Fahey's many albums have on me. One of the most important things that Fahey ever said was his advice to guitarists to try to feel the emotions that each chord they play on a guitar brings forth. He is telling guitarists to not only play the guitar, but to let the guitar play them. I did my best to follow this advice.

                  I think Fahey was a genius of the kind that creates a whole genre single-handedly. There could be thousands, millions, of reinterpretations of his compositions. In fact, there probably already are. And long may this continue. All tracks were recorded live with no tampering." David Tattersall. 

                  TRACK LISTING

                  01. On The Sunny Side Of The Ocean
                  02. Special Rider Blues
                  03. St Louis Blues
                  04. How Green Was My Valley
                  05. (Poor Boy) Long Way From Home
                  06. The Death Of The Claptop Peacock
                  07. Spanish Two Step
                  08. In Christ There Is No East Or West
                  09. Steam Boat Gwine Round The Bend
                  10. Sligo River Blues
                  11. Poor Boy
                  12. When The Springtime Comes Again
                  13. On The Sunny Side Of The Ocean 

                  Billy Valentine

                  Billy Valentine And The Universal Truth

                    Acid Jazz presents a very special collaboration with Flying Dutchman – the first new music from the iconic US label since the ’70s. Billy Valentine is one of the great soul voices working in America (‘the secret weapon of almost every songwriter in L.A.’) – with a history as deep and varied as the Young-Hold Trio, the original touring company of ‘The Wiz’, in collaboration with his brother as ‘The Valentine Brothers’, right up to credits that include Swedish House Mafia.

                    Collaborator Bob Thiele Jr. is the son of legendary producer and Flying Dutchman founder Bob Thiele (John Coltrane, Gil Scott-Heron and many others), and an acclaimed producer and songwriter in his own right. Having worked together for over three decades, his vision was to produce a Billy Valentine record to reflect our times.

                    Conceived in the summer of 2020, it is a response to the throes of a global pandemic and the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. More than a covers album, this record uncovers the works of the likes of Curtis Mayfield, Gil Scott-Heron, and Pharaoh Sanders in a new setting. Recorded at EastWest Studios (formally the historic United Western Recorders), produced and mixed by Dave Way, and featuring a stella cast of session musicians, the album is as sonically stunning as it is moving.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    1. We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue
                    2. Home Is Where The Hatred Is
                    3. My People… Hold On
                    4. You Haven’t Done Nothin’
                    5. The Creator Has A Master Plan
                    6. Sign Of The Times
                    7. Wade In The Water
                    8. The World Is A Ghetto 

                    Various Artists

                    Child Of Nature

                      A further exercise in musical curation, "Child Of Nature" is the latest sonic confluence of self-released tracks from the loners, hippies and outsiders of the 70s and early 80s, sought out by the intrepid Foragers. A collection of privately pressed music, able to breathe and be created free from the constraints of heavy handed commercialism, yielding a pure vision of artistic expression. "Child Of Nature" features ten songs of brooding soft rock and psychedelic folk steeped in melancholia. Some ache for better times or past lovers, while others seek spiritual fulfilment or social progress.

                      A compilation to evoke the raw and unobstructed, to summon the occult, to fundamentally conjure a vivid portrait of our untamed natural environment. Recorded on the north coast of California, Luellen Reese’s ethereal “Silvery Waterfalls” drifts and swirls with electric guitar as her unearthly vocals transcend across a seven minute opus, fit for the golden age of labels like 4AD or Dedicated. 'The flowers are dancing just for you …', Reggie Russell croons over glistening Key Of Creek’s title track “Child Of Nature”, evoking a utopian world of natural harmony free from the present day realities of industrial decay.

                      Tap into your inner primal being, to embrace wholeheartedly, with frivolity and without reserve, your own child of nature.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      Is This What You Like - Terra
                      The Tribe - The Fred Bloggs Band
                      Morning Light - Smythe And Rucker
                      Zig Zag - David Chalmers
                      High Again - Shades Of Rayne
                      Animal Talk - Dana Alberts
                      Child Of Nature - The Key Of Creek
                      Child Of Earth - Chuck Robinson
                      Silvery Waterfalls - Luellen Reese
                      The Lost Road - Doria

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