SINGLES BAR 16

A round-up of recent EPs and singles

Singles Bar 16We’re a bit late with this one but we can’t let the year turn without a mention of ANGE HARDY’s Christmas single. There are two tracks, both original compositions and both sung acapella. ‘The Quantock Carol’ should immediately go into every seasonal repertoire – it’s a plea for peace now and in the future, a simple and beautiful song. ‘Mary’s Robin’ is based on the Gaelic legend about how the robin got its red breast and should be snapped up by unaccompanied groups and community choirs everywhere.
http://www.angehardy.com/

CRAIG FINN has a new album, We All Want the Same Things, out in March preceded by a single ‘Preludes’. Finn grew up in Edina, Minneapolis and describes ‘Preludes’ as “this was what I remember 1994 being like, coming back to the Twin Cities after being away for college.” ‘Preludes’ gives us snapshot of this time in life: “I came back to St Paul’s and things had progressed and got strange”; images of his friends who have moved away to Seattle while he is back in the hometown hitting the bars; of a guy who jumped out at him with a pistol (“I considered my options and decided to do what he said”); and, above all, “I got stuck in a snowbank, I was too drunk to drive to a diner/ Right there was proof of my faith that God watches us”, leading to the refrain which permeates and ends the song “God watches us”. It sounds heavy, but it’s not. The musical feel is reminiscent of the driving energy of the Counting Crows and it’s a fun song capturing that time of life in your early twenties when you return home after time away and re-evaluate your relationship with your home town and family.
http://www.craigfinn.net/

Don’t look for JAKE ISLAND on a map – you won’t find it. Jake is a he: a singer/songwriter/ producer from County Meath. He’s rather modest about what he does on his EP Kindest Of Our Days, listing musicians including featured vocalists Rowan and Driver 66. The four songs here are a sort of Irish-Americana with banjo, fiddle, flute and whistles as well as the standard guitar-bass-drums trinity. There’s an odd melancholy about the music. ‘Last Drunk In Town’ and ‘Lose The Love’ should be sung in a late-night bar and ‘Horizon Blues’ is the story of an old musician reminiscing and perhaps thinking about a comeback tour. The title track, which opens the set, is the most upbeat of the collection but even here there is nostalgia in the strictest sense: a pain and regret for what is past. There are four great songs here.
www.jakeisland.co.uk

‘Alive’ is a download only single from Scottish band SKIPINNISH. It opens as a gentle piano-based meditation on the blessing of being alive complete with angelic backing vocals, something of a reaction to 2016 you might think. At the minute mark it takes off with drums, fiddle and electric guitar before almost settling into a meditative mood – fooled you, they were just gearing up for a big finish. “You’re alive, you’re alive and the stars are on your side” is a good thought to begin the year with.
http://www.skipinnish.com/

Craig Finn – new album

Craig Finn - new album

Craig Finn’s new solo album Faith in the Future is out now on Partisan Records and he will be coming to the UK this week to perform a solo acoustic show at London’s Slaughtered Lamb on 15th September as well as a string of in-stores around the country in support of the album release.

Craig Finn has also just shared the video for the first single ‘Maggie, I’ve Been Searching For Our Son’. Directed by Caroline Jaecks and premiered by Rolling Stone, the video is a collection of nearly 300 video clips and photos supplied by close to sixty Craig Finn fans. Finn reached out to the fanbase in July asking the fans for assistance in creating the music video. As he said in the announcement, making videos is never as much fun as it might seem, lip-syching is never enjoyable and coming up with ideas for clips can be a bit daunting.  Finn then sent the lyrics of the song to fans a week before ‘Maggie, I’ve Been Searching For Our Son’ was released to radio and they started sending in videos. Jaecks then crafted a narrative around the clips and re-projected them into different backgrounds.

Josh Kaufman produced the record in the cosy, rustic confines of Woodstock’s The Isokon recording studio and helped Finn stretch the boundaries of his songwriting with confidence, invention and ambition to realise what will be a defining moment in his career.

At times stark and spare, at other times vibrant and dynamic, ‘Faith in the Future’ is Finn’s most compelling collection thus far, each song a powerfully alluring and subtly nuanced composition wedded to his distinctive short story narratives. Much of the material on ‘Faith in the Future’ was written after the passing of Finn’s mother, and while none of the songs directly address that loss, the themes of perseverance and finding redemption can be found throughout the album.

“I had both the music and lyrics to these songs, though they changed a great deal in the studio,” Finn explains. “There’s a grandness to The Hold Steady that tends to make me write about bigger, more dramatic themes. Some of these songs are more mundane, with minor slices of life that wouldn’t best be supported by the hugeness of a rock group. It wasn’t always about what we wanted to put in, but what should we leave out? We didn’t want to sermonise or moralise. Just let these songs, and characters, be.”

Artist’s website: http://steadycraig.tumblr.com/

Watch the video:

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