Paper Aeroplanes set to release Little Letters on Navigator Records

paper aeroplanes 2013Little Letters’, released on May 13th, is the third album by Paper Aeroplanes. The Welsh duo – Sarah Howells and Richard Llewellyn – have been making serious waves around the UK, touring constantly since getting together in 2009.

Last year alone they played over one hundred dates, selling out venues across the UK and performing at a host of prominent music festivals. The long-awaited new album is their first release on the Navigator label.

Their emotionally charged music and heartbreaking vocals have already gained Paper Aeroplanes some impressive fans in the media world. “Intimate, jaunty and confident low-key pop with great melody” is how The Guardian describes their music, while radio support has come from 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, Cerys Matthews, Chris Hawkins and Lauren Laverne and Radio 2’s Bob Harris. Radio Wales are also big supporters of the duo, helping cement their burgeoning reputation in the principality.

Musically, Sarah and Richard are inspired by the likes of Laura Veirs, Bjork, Jeff Buckley, Gillian Welch, Everything but the Girl and Lucinda Williams. ‘Little Letters’ is a step away from their previous two albums, with more of a full band feel that nevertheless maintains the duo’s talent for catchy, atmospheric, folk-tinged songs. Their compositions are picturesque stories, inspired by their rural upbringing and the emotional extremes of past loves and friendships.

“We’re constantly inspired by our home towns and the stark, coastal imagery of the wild west” says Howells. “This album is about personal experiences in relationships and the inner, mostly hidden lives of people, as opposed to what you see on the surface. My main aim when writing is to express something that I would normally find hard to put into words. It’s definitely a cathartic process.”

“Whether it’s a good or bad memory, I think it’s an important process to capture those thoughts and keep them in a song-like bubble, making room for new experiences,” she remarks. “The title ‘Little Letters’ has a few different meanings for us, but I think it generally reflects the way we communicate these days – life and love in 140 characters: Texts, status updates, tweets, post-it notes, I love yous…”

The beautiful song ‘Sleeper Train’ for instance, was written while Sarah was travelling from Xi’an to Bejiing in China. “It’s about falling for a friend in the UK via text message while travelling around China” she says. “It didn’t work out once back home, but it was a very intense and memorable time”.

‘Multiple Love’ and ‘Circus’ are the most honest songs on the album, according to Howells. ‘Circus’ is about playing and making music for a living and the frustration that comes with it. ‘Multiple Love’ is about waiting for the right person and not just ‘making do’. It’s supposed to be an anthem for single people but”, she confesses, “I think it’s maybe tinged with a little too much sadness.”

‘When The Windows Shook’ is a song that was stirred by the tragedies experienced in and around Sarah’s industrial hometown of Milford Haven, the kind of small community where everyone knows each other’s names and business. In 1994 there was an explosion at one of the local oil refineries, which caused the windows in Sarah’s family home to crack, a terrifying experience for a young child. In 1996 there was the Sea Empress oil spill disaster, which made national news, killing much of the local wildlife and ruining many local beaches. Lastly, in 2011, four people died, including a neighbor, in another explosion at the Chevron Refinery in Pembroke, across the estuary from Sarah’s family home.

Aside from the musical talents of Sarah and Richard, ‘Little Letters’ features a host of top players, such as John Parker on double bass (from Nizlopi who had a UK No.1 with “The JCB Song”) and percussionist Martin Ditcham (Everything But The Girl, Talk Talk, Sade). The album was partly produced by Phill Brown (Bob Marley, Bombay Bicycle Club, Talk Talk) at Yellow Fish studio in Lewes, with much of the additional tracking taking place at Richard’s flat in Cardiff. Brown’s ‘old school’ influence is there for all to hear – the warmth of the analogue tape and the relaxed, atmospheric rhythm section recordings giving a great backbone to these 11 stunning songs.

Paper Aeroplanes’ brilliant album provides an intimate yet far reaching soundtrack to the duo’s lives; each song a ‘little letter’ full of meaningful recollections and poignant personal moments. The result is a set of songs that are honest and raw, yet crammed with melodies that resonate in your head long after the record’s finished. 

“Little Letters” is released on May 13 on Navigator Records.

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Artist’s website: https://paperaeroplanes.bandcamp.com/

Maz Totterdell – Counting My Fingers from the album Sweep

Maz Totterdell’s remarkable debut Sweep depicts youthful talent at its most striking. Her sound, characterised by memorable melodies, folk musicianship and insightful poetic lyricism, has been likened to Vashti Bunyan, Thea Gilmore and Feist.

The teenage singer/songwriter’s debut single Counting My Fingers won 6 Music’s Rebel Playlist public vote following national radio plays on BBC Radio 2 (Sir Terry Wogan and Steve Lamacq) and 6 Music itself (Radcliffe & Maconie, Chris Hawkins, Shaun Keaveney and Steve Lamacq). It then went on to receive the highest score on Steve’s new releases review show, Roundtable.

Maz has been singing at open mic nights in her home county of Devon since she was 9, performed at London’s Hackney Empire in the final of UK Unsigned when she was 10, started teaching herself guitar and writing songs at the age of 11, and had played 8 of her own compositions at local venues and festivals by the time she turned 13 on Christmas Eve 2009.

2011 saw Maz play her first London shows, her ever changing set being selected from her catalogue of 40+ original songs, plus a different, one-performance-only cover version at each gig. Her solo girl-with-a guitar live performance is a thing of fragile, embryonic beauty. At her dates last year Maz managed to charm and entrance, silencing the usual in-gig chatter with her sensitive, intensely engaging performances.

Sweep combines confessional tales of complicated teen romance with cunning pop hooks and a confident sparkle. Maz’s songwriting and her pure, unaffected voice are not her only talents, as she ably arranged all of Sweep’s musical and vocal parts herself. This superior debut suggests a very bright future.

“Very bright and very promising…we’re looking forward to the album a LOT” – Steve Lamacq – BBC Radio 2

‘Charming’ – Sir Terry Wogan – BBC Radio 2

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Changing Horses – The Nashville Sessions

Changing Horses are British Indie-Folk duo Richard Birtill (vocals and guitar) and Francesca Cullen (vocals, violin, mandolin and melodeon). Stylistically taking influence from the psychedelic likes of The Incredible String Band, and the experimental art-punk of The Fall, theirs is a patchwork of off-kilter folk that has drawn in the plaudits from numerous sources. After holing up in a Nashville studio with session musician / producer Chris Donohue (Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris) the track ‘Cut All Strings’ featured on an HBO documentary and went on to pick up multiple plays on both the Steve Lamacq and Bob Harris BBC radio shows. Last year’s festival season also saw the band grace stages at Kendal Calling, Solfest, Brampton, Crawley Folk Festival and SO festival.

It’s on the live circuit the Changing Horses’ reputation has been built. The last few months have seen them perform as main support to the likes of Jeffrey Lewis, Pat Sansone (Wilco), Ade Edmondson and Adam Green. Captured here on The Nashville Sessions however, is a band vying for the unconventional, yet still maintaining core melodies. Flitting between the wistful (Cut All Strings), the fragile (One Million Screaming Angels) and the macabre (‘Till Death), when things do take a more popular twist, Birtill’s wrought vocals still punctuate Cullen’s neat string play. In turn, I Don’t Need It’s discordant opening phrasing soon makes way for a wave of anthemic guitars.

“Truly original and delightful” – Robin Williamson, The Incredible String Band

Deeply personal songwriting, tongue-in-cheek moments, macabre themes and innovative string playing make up Changing Horses’ The Nashville Sessions; a strong debut from a band that lives to draw the listener into their own lovesick universe.

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PAPER AEROPLANES – Multiple Love – New single released 7th May 2012

Paper Aeroplanes are Richard Llewellyn and Sarah Howells – a highflying folk/pop duo who are inspired by their small West Walian town origins.

With their emotionally charged, captivating and heart breaking melodies, Paper Aeroplanes have already gained some impressive fans with prior releases. Previous radio support has come from Steve Lamacq (BBC 6 Music), Huw Stephens (Radio 1) and BBC Wales, where Adam Walton described their music as “brilliantly crafted and stoked from a bruised heart’s embers”.

The duo are now taking a step towards a much darker, more ‘grown up’ sound and are releasing their beautiful new single ‘Multiple Love’, which aches with truth and depth. The stripped back sound with its stunning vocals is a haunting yet honest introspection on love. It has such naked lyrics that are reflected in the production and accompanying music video.

Paper Aeroplanes fly in and out of many places this year. See below for their extensive list of touring dates including their headline tour and support tour for Ellen and the Escapades. The duo is also gearing up to release their new album later in 2012.

For more info please visit: https://paperaeroplanes.bandcamp.com/