Archive | May, 2014

The Duke of Norfolk is Flying South

27 May

The Duke of Norfolk

Adam Thomas Howard is the Duke of Norfolk; well, at least that is what his moniker suggests. Although one of the main reasons behind the name was to distinguish himself from the many other Adam Howards in the world, the name, which he has carried since the summer of 2010, is indicative of a sprawling sound that features the authority and flair of British royalty. Some might take a quick listen to Howard’s crunchy acoustic guitar and his distinct southern drawl and consider his title somewhat ironic, but his full sound suggests otherwise. The name catches your attention and Howard’s distinct folk rhythms pull you in.

The Duke of Norfolk is no stranger to album releases and live shows. He released his debut under Adam Howard – Shadows and Shapes – in 2009, and since then has released several EPs and his debut full-length in February of this year under The Duke of Norfolk. Today I have for you a track off of the new album called “The South.”

From the outset the sound is engaging. The soft acoustic lay comfortably over drawn-out strings – much like John Cale’s stylings with the Velvet Underground. The music is uplifting and varied. The strumming is distinctive, and it matches the Duke of Norfolk’s eclectic Conor Oberst-like vocal. The song moves with a fantastic energy and the delightful strings and concluding vocal harmony bring it home to its country/folk roots. Add the Duke of Norfolk to a short list of excellent modern folk musicians.

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The Recovery Blues – Dave Powell and the Lonely Gales

18 May

Dave Powell and the Lonely Gales

I am typing this with one hand. That is the major reason why I have not posted in a week. Shoulder surgery has left my left arm unavailable for use. One-handed typing is cumbersome! That being said, I plan on trying to post as often as I am able despite this temporary disability. For now, I am encountering the recovery blues.

Dave Powell, a wayworn blues musician from the swamplands for Louisiana, is part of the true blues movement among young musicians, and his most recent EP Recovery Blues is a 5-track EP that “catalogues his descent into substance abuse and depression, and the ragged road he trudged back home to health and happiness.” (http://noisetrade.com/davepowell). 

I apologize for the blurriness of the video, but just listen to this fast-paced blues ditty. Powell features a rich vocal that is time-tested, gritty, and passionate. The guitars have a voice of their own and complement Powell’s croon effectively. The swinging rhythm is toe-tapping goodness. A great song and EP to listen to when you are stuck on the couch longing to move!

The International Saints of Valory

5 May

The Saints of Valory

 

Saints of Valory traverse a wide range of international influences and this is quite apt because the band’s music has rapidly disseminated to an eager international audience that has been consuming its upbeat alternative rock since the release  of its incipient EP The Bright Lights in November 2010. Formed in Brazil in 2008, Saints of Valory is the product of a childhood friendship between Gavin Jasper (lead vocals/bass) and Godfrey Thomson (guitar/vocals), who pair awesome names with serious musical talent. Gerard Labou, a French drummer, was brought in by Thomson, and, craving a space to rehearse, the band of three contacted a well-travelled friend named Stephen Buckle, the band’s current keyboardist/vocalist, who had a small studio in his home in Texas, and relocated the operation to the Lone Star state. 

After the release of its second EP in 2012, the band was recognized by Billboard as one of the Top Unsigned Artists in 2012, and it was quickly snatched up by Atlantic Records, where it released its label debut, Possibilitieslast summer. The music has spread like wildfire. As I write this post, the band is currently touring the U.S. with Eric Hutchinson (coming to NY on May 19 at Irving Plaza), and it should come to no surprise that it is gaining new fans everywhere it goes. Good music is good music, and people recognize it quickly. Saints of Valory plays excellent tunes, and if you don’t believe me click play on the embedded videos below.

“Kids” begins with a drowned guitar and heavy percussion that saturate the listener in a full array of sound immediately. The vocal carries over the instrumental effortlessly. It is strong and matches the instrumental like macaroni goes with cheese. A full-bodied harmony introduces a neat riff. The rhythm calls out to bands like Airborne Toxic Event and Imagine Dragons. Saints of Valory’s harmony, though, is unique. It is almost choral – kind of like Bastille but less chanty – and it just bursts into a killer sing-along style that the listener cannot help but get into.

“Long Time Coming” has a cool, American Authors feel. The rhythm is infectious. This is perhaps the strongest component of Saints of Valory’s music – the rhythm. It’s toe-tapping, head-nodding, get on your feet and join the chorus, type of music. It is no surprise that the band has garnered a large collection of diverse music fans. The music is fun, exciting, and effervescent. It is just excellent alternative rock, and I cannot wait to witness the successful progression and growth of this band. You can track it to by visiting the band’s pages.

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