Tag Archives: folk

Fast Car – Tracy Chapman

18 Jul

A classic for today because it has been completely stuck in my head for the past few days. Fast Car is my favourite song by multi-platinum and four-time Grammy Award winner Tracy Chapman. Chapman began writing songs at the tender age of eight, and it becomes crystal clear that songwriting is her calling when you take a listen.

Yeah, breathtaking. Sorry, just had to fit that one in today even though you all probably knew it. Recently I have become a huge Tracy Chapman fan, and am on the verge of worshipping her, so hopefully you can all join me. As I was watching the live performance on YouTube, this comment stuck out to me: “If you’re younger than 20, watch and listen carefully because this is what they used to call talent.”

Blue Night – Buxter Hoot’n

20 Jun

At Can You Hear This, we receive a considerable number of emails every day about upcoming bands to feature on the blog. Often there are real gems tucked in between the block emails, including the notification about the Strummerville album. However, what really caught my eye was an email with a pretty promising subject. A new band, Buxter Hoot’n (I still don’t fully understand the name) are apparently a musical melange of Bob Dylan and The National. This set high expectations for me as a huge fan of The National and to an extent Bob Dylan (I saw him last summer at a festival and he didn’t play my favourite song. Petty, but how often am I going to see such a musical icon?) Further into the email, it explained that “all it takes is thirty seconds or so with their third album, a self-titled affair due for release this coming month, to situate them where they belong, on a classier plain of Americana among the likes of Bob Dylan and The National and Counting Crows from back when they were good.” Take a listen to their single, Blue Night and judge for yourself:

For me, the The National comparison was perfect. It’s the type of music that can move people, stay emotional but never venture into indulgent territories (see: Coldplay’s latest single, Every Teardrop is a Waterfall). The Wounded Jukebox praised ‘the gorgeous shredding by lead guitarist Ben Andrews throughout ,’ which is a fair statement. However, for me it’s the lyrics that weave wistfully amongst the music. On Blue Night, Buxter Hoot’n sing:

‘I want to feel tomorrow come,

I want to steal tomorrow’s gun.’

It’s here that the band excel, creating little soundbites that will prove endlessly quotable. It reminds me of Alphaville’s Forever Young where they sung ‘All the songs we forgot to play,’ in their popular ode to youth and all things teenager. In their promotional email, Buxter Hoot’n’s sound is described as ‘the music that feels like it came right out of the earth and is the kind of record you put on a long road trip, that will not only accompany the scenery, but also the emotions that inspire a cross country drive or move.’ For once, this promotional claim is justified. There’s something about road trips that seem endlessly attractive, the thoughtful, scenery-inspired conversations, the open top cars, Katy Perry in sunglasses. Whilst Buxter Hoot’n are a slightly more sedate version of many summer pop songs, that probably works in their favour.

Here’s the video and be sure to check out their website where you can download a song called Night Life for free! Some other highlights on the full album include Curtain, Out The Door and In The Morning.

Songs for the Summer 2011: The Joker & The Thief + BASTILLE

9 Jun

You’d be forgiven for shrinking at the thought of another charity album. I’d much rather donate to charity than listen to Dizzee Rascal rap alongside Busted. However, forget any Band-Aid related nightmares, the Strummerville ‘Songs for the Summer 2011,’ is a compilation that goes over and above the recent, uninspiring Songs for Japan. Certainly, that was a worthy cause but I can’t fathom why they decided Justin Timberlake’s ‘Like I Love You’ was an appropriate addition to the album. Strummerville, the foundation named after The Clash frontman, Joe Strummer, has released its 2011 charity album. The foundation is great and endorses musical projects nationwide as well as being a significant sponsor of upcoming bands and a flagship for new bands. Their album is available for free download here. As you’d expect, it features some fantastic British music tailored for summer listening and the Can You Hear This-approved BASTILLE (whose interview can be found here). Here’s the full track-listing:

  • The Joker & The Thief – Be The Boy
  • Bastille – Icarus
  • Dark Moon – Blackbird
  • The Welcome Committee – Rich Kids
  • Shooting Star Poets – That Boy Don’t Dance
  • La Rebla Fam – A British Morning
  • The Vagabonds – John Mellor
  • The Lights – Mostly Water
  • The Great Whale – Don’t Lost Your Mind
  • The Barker Band – Chapel
  • Benjamin Folke Thomas – Thoroughly Alone

For anyone who appreciates their summer music part dancey (That Boy Don’t Dance), part rocky (everything else) with sides of angst (Rich Kids) this album is a pretty good deal. If, and I always try to avoid it, you do the math, a free album is always a pretty good deal. However, in a period where you can find a lot of free music, this album is quite exceptional. I can’t pretend to like every track though. The Welcome Committee and La Rebla Fam both brought back awful memories of my Hadouken! period, which belongs firmly in 2005.

Two tracks however, stand out. The first is BASTILLE’s Icarus. Any band that can merge indie-rock with mythology ranks pretty highly in my books. Icarus (with its booming chorus of ‘Icarus is flying too close to the Sun’) contains overtones of Friendly Fires’ debut album and feels remarkably polished for a relatively unknown band and showcases their potential. It feels urgent and important; for the first time in a long, long, Taio Cruz-induced numb period, this was the first track to really excite me. Listen to (and love) it now before XFM get their hands on it and play it on loop. Where Hard-Fi stepped into the British, indie, summer scene, BASTILLE follow. However, where Hard-Fi’s Suburban Knights had all the profundity of a Facebook status, BASTILLE’s outing has some staying power.

The other highlight of the album is Be The Boy by the unfortunately named The Joker & The Thief (unfortunate only in the sense that Australia’s Wolfmother released a semi successful record that clogs up Google autosearch; it was playable on Karaoke Revolution Presents American Idol Encore, the pinnacle of most band’s careers). I saw the band last year at a festival and was hugely impressed, so was pleased by their addition to the album. To clear things up,  Strummerville how ‘the five-track EP creeps from atmospheric beginnings to bombastic sonic explosions, focusing on their authentic, rootsy sound combining powerful voices, bellowing saxophone, foot-stomping rhythms and gutsy guitars.’ Yeah, that didn’t particularly enlighten me either. The Joker & The Thief do however deploy the saxophone better than some contemporary artists (see: Lady Gagas The Edge of Glory). Take a listen and see if those superlatives work for you:

It has the makings to become the soundtrack for many a tent at festivals this summer (perhaps more Hop Farm than Reading, apparently festival going sixteen year olds are more interested in the remarkably vapid My Chemical Romance). This song feels heartfelt yet never sentimental; it could become the cooler, older brother to teenage anthems like Forever Young as the band sing:

Show me your heart, my pretty lady

That sound? The collective sigh of teenage girls everywhere. Move over Mr. Followill.

  • For more information about Strummerville, their projects and album releases, check out their website: www.strummerville.com
  • For the compilation of the album, here’s the link.

Skeletons – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

16 May

An awesome little song that’s been released early from Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s upcoming LP entitled It’s A Corporate World. Can’t get much more indie than these guys, but they’re clearly going places. Nice places. Although Skeletons is only about two minutes, it doesn’t really matter. Listen:

And that’s just a taste of what’s to come. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be eagerly awaiting the release of It’s A Corporate World on June 7th. Want some more good news? This song is available to download for free from Paste Magazine. Check out more of the band (and more free downloads) at their website.

An Interview with The Robbie Boyd Band

15 Mar

As Mumford & Sons shared the stage with Bob Dylan at the Grammys, Noah and the Whale re-entered the Top 40 and Laura Marling, albeit awkwardly, accepted her Brit award, one thing seemed obvious: pop just got posh. By grouping these three acts together, I’m committing a crime that the media partakes in and one that I found hugely irritating. Yes they all share a Pop/Folk tendency (and romantic links to Marling) to different degrees but the constant comparison, and subsequent competition seems hugely irritating. Any reviews that I have read lately of Noah and the Whale’s latest album have started with Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling comparisons which seem incongruent to the scope of the review. Reviews of Rihanna don’t start with comparisons to every single American, R&B/Pop artists so why are these three be pitted against each other.

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Meet You There – The Molloys

4 Mar


Adverts, as Henry has shown on a couple of occasions, can showcase some great music which would otherwise be unheard. I heard The Molloys through an advert for Richmond Sausages of all places! I’m not a sausage man but I do love the music. To be honest with you, I can’t find too much about the artist. It would probably require some actual research which would distract me from telling you about this song!

Who they are is not as important as the quality of this song. Meet You There was actually only released as a song after the Sausage people gave in to popular demand having originally commissioned the song as an original for the advert. The song just represents summer to me – which is nice in the middle of the winter. It’s happy and gives me such a warm, fuzzy feeling.

And check the advert where it all started. It goes perfectly with the song and the guys that commissioned the song clearly knew what they were doing. So thank you Richmond Sausages for delivering me a rare nugget of folk beauty.

Dhorahar Project – Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons

19 Oct

Okay so I’ll admit it, I’m unusually in love with folk music, but its that time of year. The problem is ive had Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale, Mumford & Sons and assorted others on repeat for the last three weeks. Even Marling and Mumford’s recent live performance for BBC Radio 1 wasnt enough to stave the thirst for this strain of music.

So where do you go?? The answer it seems is India. Almost like a folk version of the Beatles, Marling and Mumford trekked off to the Indian continent. The result is documented on Channel Four’s documentary, but in musical terms its beautiful. The two cultures clash surprisingly well creating something where the differences are clear between them but at the same time they have obvious similarities. There is a texture that runs common between the two folk angles, the guitars are replaced with sitars but there is still a rough and ready while at the same time naturally beautiful tone to the music.

If I had to choose a stand out song it would have to be, To Darkness/ Kripa there seems to be so much more integration here. The whole folk scene blends, the bleakness of british folk and colourful cultural routes of India. You are sort of caught off guard by its jarring notes and yet at the same time as this is happening there is a kind of sense and unity to the music. It’s deep with complexity and the layered effect of native Indian instruments over the acoustic guitars makes it even more interesting. The two layers slide over each other, giving way and complementing each other but at the same time creating a cacophony that you just cant help being caught up in. Almost as if you are in a dream and the world starts to distort itself and rise above you and all you can do is stand and watch in awe.

There are plenty of other great tracks on the short project album and they showcase the way in which East met West and fell in love with each other. I feel like a third wheel here, but hey I can put up with that as long as I can listen to this music 24/7.

Other artists you may like:

Noah and the Whale, Regina Spektor, Feist.


Official Website: http://www.lauramarling.com/

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/lauramarling

Let You Down – Tin Star Orphans

11 Oct


Tin Star Orphans are fresh out of Toronto, Canada and have produced one of the finest folk-rock songs in recent years and is sure to make you rethink Canadian music. We wrote about our first Canadian band only five days ago and the trouble is that their music is just difficult to find! With an American monopoly, you would be forgiven for thinking that the only band famous from Canada are Crash Test Dummies (great band). But they’re not and Tin Star Orphans, with a similar name, are similarly brilliant.

I won’t pretend that this song was difficult for me to find, it was on One Tree Hill, and I have adored it since. The lead singer, Zachary Bennett, was lead actor in Road to Avonlea, a mystery show from the 90s, and now has decided to move to music. His vocals are done beautifully and the guitar strum behind is central to this track being so catchy. “Don’t think you’ll owe me. If I keep the peace” – The song is packed with meaning, which we always like. It’s about the importance to never stop helping and the struggle to keep going.

If Mumford & Sons have been tickling your fancy recently or you just want a really good, infectious, smart song, I cannot speak highly enough of Let You Down! You won’t be Let Down (see what I’ve done there) so buy this and their album as their debut record hosts plenty great songs!

When I’m Alone – Lissie

16 Sep

A typical small town girl growing up in Rock Island, Illinois, Lissie was cast as the title role in the musical Annie at just nine. All through high school and her childhood she “really leaned on music to stay sane.”

Lissie opened for The Script at a concert I was at the other night, and I was really impressed. She sings with intense feeling and emotion in her expression, not to mention that the actual music, in my opinion, is up there with anything else that other top female artists are producing at the moment. Her new single, When I’m Alone, combines her fantastic vocals with a mesmerising guitar part. This is one of my favourite songs of the month, and is definitely worth getting hold of. Also, check out the rest of her stuff, because there are some phenomenal tunes there as well. Here’s the link to her official website and below is the great video for When I’m Alone:

If that’s STILL not enough, then here’s a pretty good remix of the song:

When I’m Alone – Lissie (Leo Zero Remix):