Tag Archives: EP

Liela Moss : A Little Bit Of Rain, EP released March 2019

Following on from her debut solo album ‘My Name Is Safe In your Mouth’ in November last year Liela Moss releases an excellent new EP of cover versions, with each song sharing the theme of rain and its various connections to the emotions.

1. Here Comes The Rain Again The most well-known track on the EP, a major hit for Eurythmics in 1984 and was always one of their more enigmatic mainstream works.
This new version explores the darker side with sparse distant keyboards surging into lush strings and dense instrumental textures as the vocal turns the emotions inside out. At times the multi-tracked voices echo through the track like a stormy wind that accompanies the rain.

2. I Can’t Stand The Rain
Soul classic written and recorded by Ann Peebles in 1973 and then made a bigger hit in an electro-disco version by Eruption in 1978, Liela has focussed on the power of the simple lyric of reminders of loss and regret, while the music has a percussive urgency as a strange repeating note fades in and out.

3. It’s Raining Today With the death this week of Scott Walker this track (from his 1969 LP ‘Scott 3’) has additional poignancy and prominence but it was always going to be the standout cover on this collection.
Starting with a gentle, thoughtful vocal it is at times a sweeping big ballad but still retaining an emotional intimacy, helped by lyrics such as ‘….it’s raining today, but once there was summer and you….those moments descend on my windowpane…’. A full orchestral sound is unleashed in the second half of the song, with a show-stopping performance from Liela.

4. Prayers For Rain
The original 1989 Cure song was described as ‘an evocative, wounding portrayal of emotional desolation. Water serves as a metaphor for the feeling of hope and enthusiasm toward life’.
A bold choice to include on the EP, and with lines like ‘…infectious sense of hopelessness and prayers for rain, I suffocate, I breathe in dirt and nowhere shines but desolate and drab…’ this could be quite a challenge.
The resulting cover is bleakly powerful and satisfying, maintaining a pace and relentless stately energy through the song, with the band allowing plenty of space for the vocal to cut through.

https://www.lielamoss.com/

Advertisements

Benz : Erazor, EP released February 2019

A new EP from Benz, the performing name of Swedish composer and singer Ebba Salomonsson. Moving easily between dense, layered instrumentation and a sparser sound these three tracks represent some of the diversity and range of her ideas.

1. Swing My Soul A distant undulating keyboard, echoing drum beat and the song begins with the cryptic lyric ‘….I guess the light blew up in my face…..I couldn’t turn away…’. The loose tempo and beguiling vocal is a heady concoction, before we reach the big title hookline. A languid trumpet sound interweaves with an avalanche of guitar noise for the climatic last third of the song, as the words turn to regret ‘…we used to live like moments would come back….now I got no more to give…’

2. Erazor The deceptively loud introduction gives way to a lighter than air vocal on a joyous pop song with a tune that sounds so perfect and natural you wonder why nobody has thought of it before.
There is some tension in the lyrical sentiment though; the doubts of ‘….I fear your heart is going numb…..love me until your heart breaks…love me until it don’t…’ soon give way to the frustrations of ‘…keep on falling apart, keep on heading the wall…’. The guitar keeps bursting back into the mix and the whole thing motors along like a War On Drugs A-side. This gem of a song is released simultaneously as a single.

3. The Smile The dissonant mellotron heralds a lush, sensuous soundscape of synthesisers and a smooth, rich voice over a stately pace set by an insistent but muted drum. Another classy melody and words revolving around the ‘smile’ of the title. ‘…keep her head in the breeze…in hope she’ll feel alive and see what’s left of me… oh, that smile she gave to me…’. The extended instrumental coda features the smoky trumpet sound again.

This is a lovingly-crafted set of songs, brought to life by top quality musicians. Excellent!

https://www.facebook.com/BBENZMUSIC

Hydra Lerna, EP released December 2018

A new self-produced EP from Norwich based singer/songwriter/instrumentalist Hydra Lerna, building musical textures around her harp-playing and electronic treatments.

1. Reckless A distant tone introduces a recurring loop figure on the harp, other sounds drift in and out but the gorgeous vocal really lifts the song; understated but intense ‘…it’s clear that I know what I want and it’s becoming an addiction, you’re becoming my addiction….‘ The soaring chorus melody carries all before it and electronic percussion patterns and bass pedals help to build up the drama. This a stunning start to the EP.

2. Angel v. Psycho This is a bit more sparse and spiky with a processed voice, creating a darker atmosphere and never quite revealing where it is going.

3. Distraction This short analogue-toned electronic interlude floats dreamily in some alternative space, gradually adding the layers and the repeated title to enhance the mystery.

4. Hydra – Remix Back to a more conventional song structure here for this description of a relationship intertwined with a lyrical identification with the ‘Hydra of Lerna’ of Greek and Roman mythology. The staccato musical core of the track flows into a busy percussive chorus ‘…you’ve got power but I’ve got poison, I can take you down…’.

5. Birdcage – Remastered A waterfall of lovely harp triplets roll through the start and are never far away in this anthemic piece. A lyric of escape gives way to an instrumental coda; this is another track that shows the creativity, imagination and potential of this talented performer.

https://hydralerna.com/
https://ton.twitter.com/1.1/ton/data/dm/1118531026920275972/1118531019408326659/M899D3jg.jpg:large

Diving Station : Feather Mouth, EP released December 2018

A new EP from Manchester four-piece Diving Station, an engrossing collection of acoustic and electric soundscapes.

1. You’re Not Listening As a guitar sound arrives from a distance singer Anna McLuckie immediately pins down the sense of the track with her jazzy vocal stylings. The distinctive harp appears after a minute or so, adding an unearthly texture to the constantly changing instrumentation. The other band members drift in and out with vocal and musical contributions to a song that never follows a predictable path.

2. Taking Tongues A beautiful combination of harp and acoustic guitar sets this gorgeous track on its way. Deceptively sailing along on a smooth tide of restrained acoustic folk the rest of the band suddenly crash in with an electric guitar and percussion outburst; even the harp gets aggressive. The calm after the storm is a glorious vocal coda.

3. When I Arrived It Was Raining With a title like the opening line of an inviting novel, this is another track to lose yourself in its many sections and moods. A lyrical evocation of homecoming and longing is at times accompanied by a sparse but always carefully judged instrumentation; impressively towards the end the harp and guitar harmonics create the sound of raindrops…

4. Tour Guide A dream-like and anthemic end to the EP, driven by a sustained and emotional vocal as the band create layers of sound patterns underneath, gradually leading to a gentle play-out as the finale to this fine collection of songs.

https://www.facebook.com/divingstationmusic/

Flaming June : The Firework Maker’s Daughter, EP released December 2018

The long-awaited new EP from acoustic indie-folk band Flaming June; driven by the compositions of singer/guitarist Louise Eatock. In the spirit of traditional folk themes of protest and comment these four excellent songs champion ‘…female spirits that break the mould…’

1. Firework Maker’s Daughter A mid-tempo rousing track, with the violin interweaving its magic through the acoustic guitar and restrained percussion. Based on a short story by Philip Pullman, Louise delivers an adventurous lyric that on the surface describes the title character aspiring to follow an unconventional career path but spreads into broader imagery of justice and ambition.

2. Oblivion Instantly conjuring up images from Hogarth’s ‘Gin Lane’ and edgier parts of historic novels this brisk music takes the listener into the midst of communities where the downtrodden escape from a difficult real life in the 19th Century. Short instrumental punctuations, an excellent double-tracked vocal, the dense texture of the violin again and especially a chorus of ‘…laudanum lovers love like no other…but they can’t remember how it feels…’ lift the three minutes into something special.

3. Drunken Assassin A lighter and more upbeat atmosphere musically but the words move into dark territory of introspection on loneliness and addiction within a relationship. The lyric pulls no punches ‘…if only you weren’t drinking yourself half to death we could live happily ever after…’

4. Women’s Battalion The pivotal track on the EP, a commemoration of the centenary of the 1918 general election, the first election following the enfranchisement of middle-class women over the age of 30. It was also the first time that working class men, although not working class women, were allowed to vote, so the song includes the continuation of the struggle for equality, extending it as far as the present day. The relentless marching pace of the song and spirited vocal performance push all before it, with fine contributions from cajón and violin.

https://www.facebook.com/flamingjuneuk

Luke James Williams : Drove, EP released November 2018

A new EP from Cambridge singer/songwriter/guitarist Luke James Williams.

1. From The Drove A short, multi-textured introduction to the EP, an array of acoustic instruments resolve into a welcoming chord.

2. Snares & Traps This is an intense, poignant ballad of relationship ending, delivered with characteristic emotion and commitment over a sparse, steadily repeating guitar figure. There is a neat waltz time middle eight as lyrical resignation takes over ‘…what have I got to show for it but a box of my broken pride…’

3. Speak To Me A mid-tempo uplifting celebration of affection; catchy chorus too, with a double tracked vocal. Ambiguous imagery pervades the lyric to reflect the positive feelings ‘… I want to hear the rush of life through every melody.. from your thoughts in the hills out through your mouth to me…’

4. Rabbit Hole The previously released single from the EP, this track has more of a band instrumentation. It features an impassioned vocal with a lyric of pleading and desperation always leading to the key line ‘…No I can’t watch you fall down that rabbit hole again and again and again….’

5. Still In Bed Beginning with the haunting lines ‘… I lay trapped in amber.. and you say that I don’t care…’ this very impressive song is the finale to his current live set. Sung with passion it is a standout track; a simple but stunningly effective ascending and descending guitar line is the only accompaniment to the emotionally raw lyric, coupled with a very attractive melody. Towards the end of the song suddenly a distant echoing piano drifts in and then subtly plays along.

6.You Are The Captain A slowed down folk ballad, this wistful, dreamlike piece uses timeless imagery of the sea as the narrator drifts away on the tide. Over the strummed chords and marching drumbeat the resignation and yearning is poetically described ‘…You are the bloodline, I am just bleeding…..all that I wanted was to be there… ‘

This debut EP is an excellent introduction to his music, as evocatively described on his website….‘Light and dark, ugly and beautiful, happy and sad, fearful and brave, the music of singer songwriter Luke James Williams reflects the opposing forces and wonderful chaos of the world around us’

http://www.lukejameswilliams.co.uk/#about

Anna Hester : Towards Today, EP released November 2018

A long awaited second EP of original songs from Milton Keynes guitarist/singer Anna Hester, following up her four track release ‘In The Meantime’ from 2014. An entrancing live performer with just vocals and acoustic guitar; on these tracks her empathetic backing ensemble enhance her pure folk voice.

1. We Can Get Lost A mellow opener, the relaxed backing of the band is a foundation for a lyric celebrating the uplifting optimism of a promising new relationship. Anna’s vocal soars and floats along with some neat self-harmonies.

2. Have We Met A slow ballad, starting with the elegant line ‘…I found your tapestries there in my eyes…’ the listener is invited into a world of abstract melancholy, (creating a similar mood to ‘The Byrds’ on her previous EP, a song that when I first heard it I wrongly assumed it to be a folk standard, such was its timeless resonance). The lyric drifts towards disappointment and betrayal, with some clever musical nuances along the way. A sublime track, my favourite on the EP.

3. Watch The Clock The lead single from this collection, a highlight of her live set. On here Anna embraces an easy jazz/folk styling for a late night middle tempo song of questioning and hope. Combining the seventies instrumentation of ‘Solid Air’ era John Martyn and the lyrical yearning of Nick Drake this standout song is propelled by a loping, sensual double bass and echoing piano hauntingly moving in and out.

4. Towards Today A more conventional song structure with a catchy chorus line. The gentle vocal interweaves with sparkling acoustic guitar arpeggios and a cello counter melody. A subtle end to an EP of quality and richness.

http://annahester.com/