Back to our regularly scheduled programming! Today I take a look at a phenomenal folk artist, Gregory Alan Isakov, a great folk group from England, Bear’s Den and a new EP from a Welsh two-piece called Lights That Change.
I also want to let you all know that the Nicole Atkins fundraiser I posted about a couple of weeks ago has reached its goal, and Slow Phaser is fully funded, if you supported it, thank you!
GREGORY ALAN ISAKOV
I first heard of Gregory Alan Isakov when a friend of mine asked me to go see him earlier this year. I checked out his website and really enjoyed what I heard. But what I saw that evening at the Bowery Ballroom was one of the most memorable shows I’ve seen this year. The packed audience was silent during his set, captivated by Isakov and his band of a banjoist, guitarist cellist, and violinist, and the stories his music told.
Isakov is a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, he grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and now calls Colorado home. A piece of each of these places is in his songwriting and music, as well as the places traveled in between. His latest record, 2013’s The Weatherman is a beautiful portrait of Americana. It’s an album with beautiful harmonies, acoustic guitars, banjo, strings, pianos and very sparse sprinklings percussion. Give the tracks below a listen.
Here’s a live performance of “Amsterdam”, the first track on The Weatherman
Here’s a stream of “Saint Valentine”
I am impressed by the amount of great folk bands coming from England in the last few years. Mumford and Sons paved the way for fellow English band Bear’s Den. Bear’s Den released their first EP, Agape earlier this year and their latest EP, Without/Within on October 28th. Agape is a very folky record, but on Without/Within, there’s a huge shift towards a more rocking feel. The new EP has heavy pounding drums, and distorted electric guitar that builds and builds, and on “Writing On The Wall” almost goes into U2 territory. If you’re a fan of Mumford and Sons, give Bear’s Den a try. Check out the two tracks below and hear the shift between the two EPs.
Here is “Agape” off of Agape
Here is “Sahara” off of Without/Within
Lights That Change are a two-piece band from Wales, consisting of vocalist Lisa Von H and multi-instrumentalist Marc Joy. Lights That Change released their latest EP, Rainbow On Your Shoulder on October 28. The five track EP is as gorgeous as it is raw, it’s a genuine throwback to some of the great 80’s and 90’s dreampop and shoegaze records put out by bands like Cocteau Twins, Lush or My Bloody Valentine. While all five tracks are really good, I really love the tracks “Toxic” and “Flying” as well as the ambient wall of sound track “Cherokee Blessing”. Joy lays down a wall of sound, he plays guitar, bass, and programmed the drums on the EP, Von H complements that perfectly as her hypnotic voice floats over the wall. Rainbow On Your Shoulder is definitely worth checking out if you dig any of those bands I listed before, and you can buy it on their Bandcamp here!
Here’s “Toxic” off of Rainbow On Your Shoulder
Top image of Gregory Alan Isakov from gregoryalanisakov.com
Cover of Rainbow On Your Shoulder courtesy of Lights That Change
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