New from Efren

On June 28th Efren will release their first full length, full band album, Rise On Up And Melt.

Efren began as Scott Low, who wrote and recorded the debut album Thunder and Moan in the spring of 2009.  With friends Low performed the songs live and the band was born. Playing almost 100 shows in the first year and recording and releasing a full band EP Always Been a Bleeder, (see our original post here) the band took the songs to stages across the southeast.

Influenced by Americana, country, rock, and folk, the music is in constant flux and has been compared to Iron and Wine, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, The Band, Pink Floyd, and Mumford and Sons.  This is modern Americana music with a hint of psychedelia and experimentation.  This is North Georgia folk music with songs about front porches, losing love, bourbon and good friends gone and still here.

From quiet and solo (Salt to Be Free), to epic psychedelic rockers (Mr. Greene), to bluegrass stompers (Frogbird), Efren played all through the night finding what would formulate the new LP. After weeks of tweaking, the album was put into limbo as Low fell into a dark marital separation.  As time passed, a new outlook on the album came about. Though not the original intention, Rise On Up And Melt became a songwriter’s story of lost faith in love and trust.

Four songs in particular encapsulate Low’s fall and recovery from a lost family. The harmonious title track was the single love song ever written about Scott’s recent ex-wife. The lonely Salt to Be Free is about experiencing doubt as these vows promised were slowly escaping, fraying, and collapsing.  The song Like a Coat has mutated in meaning from a realization that a love and a relationship was over, into an anthem that one can alter perspective and find true love and trust.  Finally, the closing song on the album, Sunday Light, was written as a new, maybe reckless love emerged. The possibility of happiness was glimpsed and a spontaneous song was born. Within 20 minutes ‘Sunday Light’ was written and recorded in a way unconventional to the rest of the album; on Low’s phone!

It’s some story – check them out.

Visit their MySpace page here.

Download Efren – Like A Coat mp3 (from Rise On Up And Melt)

Solo Album from Phil Cook of Megafaun

Megafaun produced one of our favourite album’s of 2009 with Gather, Form And Fly and followed it up last year with the excellent Heretofore mini-album.

However, when Phil Cook isn’t touring the world with Megafaun, he’s on the porch. Specifically, the sunny porch of his North Carolina home, playing acoustic guitar while Willie, his loyal dog, lays by. New solo album, Hungry Mother Blues was recorded in a single day in the back room of Cook’s house, during a rare North Carolina ice storm. The immediacy, intimacy and intensity of the performances have little to hide behind, as every song incorporates a single instrument in all of its vulnerable glory (with the occasional addition of Cook’s tapping feet). Cook manages to draw out the emotional resonance of each instrument, with finger-picked compositions that sound like lost classics of the Southern musical canon.

Each song on Hungry Mother Blues is dedicated to someone in Cook’s life, whether it be a friend, a bandmate or even Cook’s unborn child. Devoid of lyrics, the songs function as instrumental love letters to the people around him.

Hungry Mother Blues was released on May 10 in Trekky Records’ signature 3-part package, including a 45RPM vinyl record, a CD and an MP3 download. Order it here.

Download Phil Cook & His Feat – Ballad Of A Hungry Mother mp3 (from Hungry Mother Blues)

Bonus Download Megafaun – Carolina Days mp3 (from Heretofore)

More from Lawrence & Leigh

Lawrence & Leigh’s latest release from their EP Hills and Masts is the lush, dream-pop of Glow.

Painstakingly constructed using vintage instruments and subtle synths, the song begins with an exploratory intro built on overdubbed choirs of the duo’s voices before transforming into a beat heavy pop anthem and then ending in 1960s style indie jazz with driving piano, brushed drums and doo-wop backing vocals. It is another example of their consistently beautiful song craft – a sepia tinged snapshot of multilayered instrumentation and free-spirited harmonies. Wonderful.

The accompanying video is also well worth a viewing – it is a work of stunning visual art that brilliantly complements the shifting moods of the song. It features stop-motion animation and breathtaking desert scenes. We follow the protagonist, a puppet (manipulated so that his “still” face seems to somehow change expression appropriate to his situation), as he moves through a series of beautiful worlds, each with its own unique style and purpose.

Watch it here and then download below.

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Visit their MySpace here.

Download Lawrence & Leigh – Glow mp3 (from Hills And Masts EP)

Download Lawrence & Leigh – Chelsea Nights mp3 (from Hills And Masts EP)

Introducing…Twiggy Frostbite

We’re not quite sure what to make of this offering by Twiggy Frostbite.

By The Ocean is one of those hazy, dreamlike songs that sounds like it was created in a netherworld where surreal is the norm, and nothing is quite as it seems or as it should be. It has echoes of Portishead and Massive Attack, but also turns the volume up in a way that recalls My Bloody Valentine or even Ride.

So psychedelic? Yes.

Dream-pop? Yes.

Shoegaze? Some.

Cool? Achingly.

Original? Undoubtedly.

Good? definitely.

Give them a spin.

Download Twiggy Frostbite – By The Ocean mp3 

Introducing…Eleven Twenty-Nine

Taken from the blues parlance for the length of a one year prison sentence, Eleven Twenty-Nine is the new project of Tom Carter and Marc Orleans. This debut self-titled album, dedicated to the late Jack Rose, releases a sound that has done hard-time in the blues, from two performers who have constantly pushed the limits of rock guitar. Tom, a latter day Carter Family member via Texas’ Charalambides, has explored a psychedelic-brand of guitar instrumentals. Between his band and solo work, he has released some 50 albums, all garnering high praise. While Marc, a slick-fingered guitar-slinger, has imprinted on legions of fans the sounds of Helix, Juneau and the Sunburned Hand of Man. Together they deliver an album steeped in the soul and depth of blues while moving forward into an enigmatic free-improv rock.

Try White Horse Blues as a taste of their visionary exploration of what the guitar is truly capable of…

The album is released on 14th June via Northern-Spy Records.

Download Eleven Twenty-Nine – White Horse Blues mp3 (from Eleven Twenty-Nine)

David Thomas Broughton: Oxford Gig & New Album

We’ve posted about top notch Oxford based singer songwriter Rob St John before and he has been back in touch about a series of gigs that the Adventures Close To Home collective have been putting on. Our own poor organisation means we’ve already missed two, but tomorrow sees a bill that features David Thomas Broughton, Rob himself and the Braindead Collective.

It all takes place in the grand settings of the St. Columba’s United Reform Church with local, experimental creaks and drones in support…

For those who didn’t know (and we didn’t until recently) experimental folk artist David Thomas Broughton has just released a long-awaited new album, entitled Outbreeding, via London indie label Brainlove Records (May 23rd). Featuring eleven songs that will be familiar to his loyal and ever-growing live audiences, Outbreeding brings together compositions written over the last couple of years into a compelling new collection. We’re just becoming familiar with the new album and it is an absolute cracker!

Broughton is famous for his semi-improvised live show that baffles and beguiles; starting songs with beautiful refrains, he then engulfs them in feedback and noise, removing the layers one by one to reveal once again the beauty beneath. Elements of physical comedy and surreal interludes complicate things further.

All in all it sounds like a cracking bill and one that promises many rewards – tickets can be bought here.

You can find out more about Adventures Close To Home here.

Download David Thomas Broughton – Walking Over You mp3 (from The Complete Guide To Insufficiency)

Download Rob St. John – Tipping In mp3 (from Tipping In EP)

Download The Braindead Collective – Vortex Finale mp3 (from Smoke & Mirrors)

Young Rebel Set – Lion’s Mouth Video

Heard this on 6 Music the other day and made a note to check the band out asap – then, as if by magic, the video arrived in our in-box. The opening track of Young Rebel Set’s forthcoming debut album Curse Our Love, Lion’s Mouth will be released as a digital download through Big Flame tomorrow.

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Pre-order the album here.

Download Young Rebel Set – If I Was mp3 – link removed by request

Introducing…The Ruffled Feathers

So the story goes, The Ruffled Feathers burned a piano, climbed Mt Seymour (near Vancouver BC), watched the sun rise on a nude beach, and had the fire department show up to one of the shoots while making their music video for their song Blueprints For Our Failed Revolution.

On the evidence of the song, the band produces some spirited indie rock of the very best kind, and with their rotating combination of mandolin, trumpet, keys, guitar, and ukulele, it is certainly unique.

Watch the video. Grab the single. Visit the website.

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Download The Ruffled Feathers – Blueprints For Our Failed Revolution mp3 (from Blueprints For Our Failed Revolution single)