Brand new Irish band Billow Wood (formerly known as Flat Out) are a male/female four-piece who fuse their unique brand of instrumentation with multi-vocals and harmonies. Billow Wood are influenced by Irish and mainstream music and are now moving in a new direction often accompanied by a bass and drums, creating their own unique brand of folk, indie, pop and rock.The band have had a whirlwind of success with outstanding performances across the globe including Ireland, Europe and Africa as well as residency in Raglan Road, Orlando. They have also already performed in Indianapolis and the Irish Heritage Centre in Cincinnati as well as the ” Sláinte Asso” festival in France. The band consisting of Mark O’Donnell on fiddle and guitar, Harry Lawlor on Harp and guitar, Ciara O’Donnell on Bodhrán, flute and whistles and Bríd O’Donnell on accordion recently released their debut EP ‘Can You See Me’ to a sold out EP launch in Whelan’s Dublin.
‘Can You See Me’ is a five track collection brimming with warm, hearty melodies and glorious harmonies wrapped in a tight bow of rich vibrant instrumentation. From the magical twinkling harp opening of ‘Turn out the Light’ it fast becomes apparent this four piece know exactly where to place each instrument to fill out and lushly layer their tracks. The songs flood and surge with affluent textures and heart warming glows while maintaining a folky bounce and energy. The elegant ‘Two Doves’ uses tender harp glitters between cosy fiddle injections while the shift between female and male vocals adds a refreshing contrast throughout.The sweet harmonies blend flawlessly and so perfectly creating a sublime melodious quality that makes their tracks easy to listen to. ‘Hello Hello’ once again buoyantly springs with pure heartfelt passion and joy while filling you with homely vibes.The tracks are filled with that proud to be Irish charisma that is home baked, wholesome and authentic without becoming too cliche. Their tender songs such as ‘The Game’ are sweet, delicate and graceful as strings swoon and glide while guitar sways and the gentle drum taps create a sturdy backdrop for the immaculate vocals to float above. It’s twinkling starlit beauty and waltz ready which showcases a more fragile and sweet side to Billow Wood. ‘Dreamland’ closes the EP with an upbeat rhythmic hop while a pop drizzled melody sprinkles a bright infectiousness onto the folky traditional backdrop.
Billow Wood have created a collection of tracks that warm the cockles of your heart. They surge richly diverse soundscapes into each aspect of their songs to create a wholly satisfying listen. Admittedly folky, traditional flavoured tunes are not my usual cup of tea but this EP was so richly flavoured it was a delightful listen.
Stream ‘Can You See Me’ below
Singer/ songwriter and guitarist Brendan McMahon has released his newest album ‘On This Fine Occasion’. His incisive and insightful song writing combined with his eclectic vibe blends a variety of genres. Ranging from rock, pop, country, celtic, folk and blues he says he is not trying to fit to one particular genre; his new album is a fusion of them all. Hailing from Melbourne, Brendan McMahon discovered his love for music at the early age of ten. With the intentions of starting a band, he released his first album ‘Falling To Earth’ under the moniker ‘Satellite Gods’. Discovering his creative nature and natural flare for recording, a second release immediately followed before completing his recent third album ‘On This Fine Occasion’. With influences like Harry Manx, Richard Thompson, Queensryche and John Mellencamp, his style offers an uplifting blend of rock through to folk. The lyricism of the tracks portray a narrative with inspirations taken from simple objects through to his extensive travel experiences. So far in his career, the Aussie musician has worked with artists such as Bob Spencer (Angels), Peter Maslen (Boom Crash Opera), Wilbur Wilde (Ol’55), Dave Leslie (Baby Animals), Danny Spencer (Jimmy Barnes), Brett Kingman (James Reyne) and more.
‘On This Fine Occasion’ is a collection of tracks which blends a variety of multi genres seamlessly to create a sublime absorbing listen. From the anthemic folky tinged tracks like ‘Alive’ with its soaring powerful arena ready choruses and the whistle friendly cheery ‘Hotel Hemmingway’ with its warm vibrant instrumentation to the rock and roll doused darkly hued ‘Doctor’ McMahon keeps each track fresh and enjoyable.The jingly tunes bounce along with a good wholesome feel and a purity which the folk elements provide. ‘Marker 7-58’ is an utterly beautiful track packing oodles of emotion while guitar twangs lament over a sweet delicate melody and subtle percussion.It’s stripped back and tender. The story telling and lyrical development in the album is superb and thought provoking. The tender moments in tracks such as ‘Mother’ are passionate and embracing and the vibrant peppy moments in tracks like ‘Esmeralda’s Eyes‘ are warm motivating and mighty. ‘Gentleman Joe’ is another tender little gem. It’s raw and intimate with spaced out components that make each fragment an emotional moment you feel and experience as the track progresses into a powerful anthem. However it’s ‘Beat’ that really stands out for me. This track marks a shift in the album with a steamy guitar whine and funky groove. It’s ready for the strutters with its dance floor swag. The guitar solos shred with a glossy sleekness while funky keys add a jazzy element to this panache soaked track. ‘Home’ is a glorious way to finish the album. Lush backing vocals introduce this elegant number with a choir like soothing quality. When the main vocals kick in this track just calms and soothes the soul with its comforting wholesome melody and light bright instrumentation. A soft beat taps behind zesty sprinkles of guitar and velvety vocals creating the perfect summers evening backdrop. The sharp guitar injections add a sun speckled positivity through the sweet lamenting of the melody. It’s a beautiful cosy end to an album which takes you on a journey of genres in the most charming heartwarming way.
Stream ‘On This Fine Occasion’ below
Luna Tides have released their new single ‘Young Laws’. Established in early 2016, Luna Tides is the creation of lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist Thomas James, and drummer and backing vocalist Sion Walsh. With the flip of a coin, the band’s name was decided whilst demoing their first EP, Open Woods, taking influence from the bewitching Welsh coastline. Later in the year, the trio was completed by electric guitarist and bassist, Rhys Plaister. Celebrating the release of the Open Woods EP in November 2016, the band held a packed out release show at the renown Clwb Ifor Bach in their home city, Cardiff. Encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response from national media, the band set out onto the road in January 2017, supporting the likes of Toploader & Hunter and the Bear as well as playing a multitude of festivals across the country.
‘Young Laws’ is a highly passionate emotive track, this trio are ready to paralyze listeners with their dramatic and intense folk-rock/ pop. It’s one for the chanting crowd as they pound their chests with the blood pumping beat and adrenaline rushing rhythm. With warm guitar jingles throughout, dynamic vocals, lush harmonies and a meticulously layered sound Luna Tides have created a track that is rich, snappy, earthy and wholesome. With a chorus that is powerful and anthemic they pack oodles of energy and might into a short spirited few minutes, its impressive. It’s an invigorating wholly satisfying listen.
Stream ‘Young Laws’ below
PAPER CRANES are an Indie Folk duo hailing from the South of the Lake District. Consisting of Jon Dawes providing vocals, guitar as well as percussion alongside Beckah Lloyd lending her melodies and harmonies and acoustic bass. Their delicate, yet powerfully formed vocals are accompanied with a percussively played guitar which is dynamically reinforced by Kieran Day’s layering electric guitar, percussion and an array of sympathetically crafted sounds. Paper Cranes have released their long awaited second single ‘Lights’ to coincide with their next EP due for release early 2018.
‘Lights’ is a soft flurry of nourishing indie folk. Delicate and gentle this track is rich unadulterated purity oozing warmth and honesty from its very core. With soft guitar weaving gracefully between Dawes and Lloyd’s immaculate wholesome harmonies it’s a sincere beautiful display. With a playful rhythm adding a rich texture and danceable beat this track is a flickering thought -provoking charmer. It is so sweet and gently soothing yet lavishly layered creating a sophisticated refined sound that is luscious and delicious to the ears. The track glides with fine elegance and a feathery lightness. It’s a beautiful tender treasure.
Stream ‘Lights’ below
Indie Folk singer songwriter Mike Paterson has released his new single ‘Loose Change’. Originally the frontman of the rock group Travis Oaks. Paterson toured Ireland and abroad, playing venues such as The Olympia in Dublin, to the prestigious Dublin Castle in London. Travis Oaks developed a solid reputation for energetic shows, but focusing on solid songwriting, along with performance. Since departing from the band in the Summer of 2016, Paterson has been hiding out in his native county of Cavan, contemplating his role in the music scene. He has taken a stripped back approach to live shows, with live recordings and videos taking priority over studio recordings. His new single is also a live recording from Displace Studios.
‘Loose Change’ is a warm melodic sweet toned passionate track. Peeled back to a bare simple arrangement with just acoustic guitar accompaniment, its organic and wholesome. Paterson’s vocal display is rich with depth and sharp lush highs, there is no need for fuss. Laid back and soothing it’s perfect for summers evenings with a glass of wine, sunset and relaxation. It’s peppy with a nice bounce keeping the mellow tone without becoming sluggish. Patterson has a knack for creating songs that evoke every emotion in the listener and this mellow little ditty doesn’t stray from that emotional connection. Instantly balmy and calm his simplicity is just heaven. With a honey glazed melody ‘Loose Change’ gives a sense of blissful peace and modest purity. It’s honest, nourishing goodness and quite the breath of fresh air.
Mike Paterson has a few shows coming up the first is in Spirit Store, Dundalk tonight then Whelan’s Dublin on the 25th and Workman’s Club Dublin on the 14th of September, make sure to head down and check him out. I had the pleasure of catching him live a little while ago and he’s one not to be missed.
When asked about the track Paterson told us “Loose Change is dedicated to my friends, with the track focusing on the importance of friendship and knowing we have someone there when times are tough.”
Watch his live performance of ‘Loose Change’ at Displace Studios below
Americana, folk singer-songwriter Miyuki Furtado has announced the release of his debut EP with his newest band Divining Rod, a new direction for the previous member of popular post punk band The Roger Sisters. The double A side single was released yesterday and it illustrates the earliest and the most recent paths Miyuki’s songwriting has taken. Released under Killipaki Records, Divining Rod take inspiration from the likes of Bert Jansch, Stephen Stills and Fairport Convention to present a soul tinged, country sound and a taste of what is to come from their full album, ‘Return to Crystal Cove’ which is set to be released later this year. During his upbringing in Kauai, Hawaii, Miyuki was surrounded by live music and the inspiration from that environment carries through to the tracks in this EP. Recorded by grammy-nominated Brian Forbes (Emily King, Bilal), both tracks on the EP have an interesting story behind the lyrics, with Hemlock Blues being a story of the sensationalism of news in the modern day and the repercussions it can have and Love Come Tumbling inspired by a dream of Miyuki’s which lead him to put pen to paper.
‘Hemlock Blues’ is bouncy soul infused Americana that rushes through you like blood in your veins, it’s wholesome and honest with dark sinister tones lying beneath its rooted sound. Rich country twangs fill the track with sharp bursts of refreshing zest while smooth vocals and soft beat add warmth and comfort. Dramatic stops and vibrant guitar twinkles create a delicate yet striking track that is foot tappingly good.
‘Love Come Tumbling’ is a melodic gripping track with a kick drum acting as the heartbeat of the song. Once again sharp bright guitar melodies flicker in and out adding bright little speckles of luminosity. With a sweet instrumental feature Divining Rod display their slick refined musicianship as lush guitar lines and mellow harmonica twangs blend seamlessly with sweet tones creating a well layered lavish experience. Its vocal melody is simple but with a hearty wholesome sound backing this track it is sublime and warming.
These intricate well layered tracks act as the perfect appetiser for the album ‘Return to Crystal Cove’.
Stream ‘Hemlock Blues / Love Come Tumbling’ below
Ben Bateman is a singer/songwriter from the northeast of UK. He began playing guitar at the age of ten and writing songs at thirteen. He travelled to New Zealand at the age of 17 to perform music and develop his live performance skills, which he brought back to the UK shortly after and began performing at all the folk clubs in the north east.He is releasing his new single ‘Don’t Breathe A Word’ on July 31st. Its a warm dreamy folk pop track. Swoony and light doused in gentle romantic tones with a sweet melty melody it’s a tender delicate delight. Reverb laced guitar adds a mellow comforting tone as Bateman’s smooth slightly rasped vocals coo and soothe you into a gentle swaying lull. The subtle bass adds depth to the feathery light fluttering heart track. It’s simply composed and as sweet as pie.
‘Don’t Breathe A Word’ is the first of six songs Bateman will be releasing monthly over the next half-year so keep an eye out for those.
You can hear ‘Don’t Breathe A Word’ on YouTube below
Folk-Rock / Americana duo Delta Howl have released their second single ‘Mary’. Grant Ashman and Mark Neat both grew up in the small town of Dudley, in the heart of The Black Country, England. Both experienced musicians they first met during a live music showcase in the West Midlands over 8 years ago and since then worked diligently on various music projects including various shows in the States and tours with the likes of Simple Minds & Blackberry Smoke. During late 2016 the duo re-united and spent the rest of that year writing and recording the material that has become Delta Howl. ‘Mary’ was recorded, mixed and mastered by the duo in their own studio. It’s the second single off a four track EP which is due to be released in late August of 2017.
‘Mary’ is a toasty track that sounds like summer. Drenched in youthful free vibes with slide guitars adding a wind in your hair carelessness and bongo drums giving a bounce and dance quality it’s instantly likeable. Sweet elegant piano introduces the song until it erupts into a breezy warm heartland county rock track. The big chorus featuring “hey” lyrics on backing vocals gives life and comradeship to the track filling you with oodles of daydreaming emotion.
When asked about the track vocalist Grant said:
“It’s a song that sounds like the summer, it describes a crazy relationship but the best kind of crazy, we hope it transports the listener to a past, present & future time. One that looks happy and fun and that’s what the song is all about, making people have a good time”
Irish Singer Songwriter Lisa Loughrey has released her debut single, ‘Coming Up’ today. Loughrey has previously written songs that have featured in documentaries (RTE Radio1), radio, music blogs (Folk Radio UK, Tradconnect) and local and national press.Up until now, she has been primarily known for her work with Dublin based Alt Folk outfit, The Mariannes. She also won the inaugural Clancy Brothers Award for Songwriting in 2014.The track was recorded in The Nutshed Studios, and was mixed and produced by Nathan Maher and Joe Egan. Performing on the track with Loughrey is multi-instrumentalist Nathan Maher (Buffalo Sunn, Slackers’ Symphony), veteran bassist Damian McMahon (formerly of Tupelo), percussionist/drummer Jacob Fry (BIMM graduate) and Eoghan Keane on trumpet.
‘Coming Up’ is a track that holds the weight of the world on its shoulders but withstands its brutal force. Buoyant light guitar twangs and lush soft lull on backing vocals set the track afloat creating a weightless warm feel while throbbing bass and steady drums add a heavy pulse and thud. Coated in dark tones this track gives a sense of endurance however the elasticity and spring adds hope and strength. Loughrey’s hazy raspy vocals simmer with moving emotion. Simple and smooth the track is foot tapping friendly with an authentic country tone however with striking lyrical depths that hit you hard and cast an eerie shadow. ‘Coming Up’ is richly textured and sophisticated displaying a compelling vocal expression from Loughrey .
When asked about the track Loughrey said “‘Coming Up’ plays like a confessional and deals with the universal themes of disillusionment and remorse, it acknowledges a person’s constant struggle to get ahead in life despite facing withstand from both outside and within. The song itself is also a hat-tip of sorts to the 1970’s folk song ‘Sonny’s Dream’, written by Ron Hynes”
‘Coming Up’ is the first release from Lisa Loughrey’s forthcoming solo album. The single release will be followed by a launch on 8th June at Arthur’s Music Venue, Dublin 8 so make sure to check that out.
Stream ‘Coming Up’ below
Grant Ashman and Mark Neat who are collectively known as Delta Howl are set to release their debut single ‘Reach The Shore’ this Friday. The duo who both grew up in Dudley recorded, mixed and mastered the track in their own studio. It’s the first single off a five track EP which is due to be released in the summer. ‘Reach The Shore’ is a foot tapping clap along friendly track wrapped in warm nostalgic tones. This track bops along with a chirpy spring in its step. Simple yet effective with mellow acoustic guitar jingles and hand clapping feature it glows with bright qualities and a honeyed melty melody. Sweet county twangs create a cosy camp fire atmosphere while soothing passionate vocals give a snug toasty comforting quality. Bursting with raw emotion this catchy track leaves an imprint in your mind and will have you swaying and singling along in no time.
Watch the video for ‘Reach The Shore’ below