Sometimes you hear a musician and your affection for them is instantaneous. Last year, that happened to me with Noah Gundersen. A few years before that, my heart swelled for Ben Weaver. It doesn’t happen often. Not all my favorites begin as such. But the ones that do can very nearly do no wrong. That is absolutely the case for Los Angeles singer-songwriter Ferraby Lionheart. Every song he writes feels like a musical Cupid’s arrow, captivating and enchanting while I sit felled by my speakers.
Since Lionheart’s 2010 album The Jack Of Hearts, I’ve often found myself wondering what he’s been up to lately, hoping intently that he’s got something new in the works for me to fawn over. Earlier this year, my hopes were finally appeased with the news that he’ll be releasing a new album this fall. His February video for “Desmond” is a sweet tease I cannot get enough of.
Aside from that, he hasn’t really been very vocal about the upcoming, yet-untitled release, so you’ll probably have to keep a diligent eye out for this one come autumn.
I’ve heard the name The Civil Wars knocked around for a little while now but I’ve never paid attention to them. I think for a while I was confusing them with that awful pop-country Lady Antebellum band. It ends up that The Civil Wars have a lot more in common with She & Him than Lady Antebellum though, and even more in common with Johnny Cash and June Carter. It just took me a while to realize it. Naturally, it was the beautiful ballad that the duo did with my beloved Taylor Swift that got me to pay some attention to The Civil Wars. I mean, of course it was Taylor Swift that did it. This isn’t surprising.
I’ve always been a steadfast champion of Taylor Swift. Let’s face it, she’s by far the most legit pop star today. She’s the only pop star that seems aware of the fact that millions of teenage girls watch her every move. She’s an incredibly smart businesswoman. Plus, she’s cute as a button. Unfortunately, her good-girl image often means that her talent is often overlooked. That being said, homegirl isn’t exactly the best songwriter in the world so when I found out that The Civil Wars had co-written the gorgeous ballad with T. Swizzle, I wasn’t surprised. But it did motivate me to check them out. And guess what? They’re pretty good!
There’s a new indie band to be getting excited about, kiddies! This Oregon foursome is called Lost Lander and it’s led by Matt Sheehy, formerly of the duo Gravity and Henry.
The band will be releasing its debut album, DRRT, for my 30th birthday. Isn’t that so sweet of them?! Actually, I’m sure that birthday thing is just a coincidence, but you’ll be able to nab up a copy of this group’s new release on Jan. 24, 2012, and maybe wrap one up in party paper and give it to your favorite music blogger for her “I’m officially an old person” day.
What do they sound like, you ask? Well, they sound like this:
I mean, I’m in love. Aren’t you? Not just with the song, but the video is pretty sweet, too, doncha think? Apparently it’s just a series of clips recorded on a cell phone of one evening of channel surfing. But it’s quite cleverly pasted together so that the pictures match up with the music’s ebbs and flows. Anderson Cooper’s solemn face during a prolonged down moment is especially poignant, and I’m also a fan of Stephen Colbert staking the American flag in time with a powerful drum hit.
Go to the band’s website and enter your e-mail address for a free download of “Cold Feet” to tide you over until my birthday.
It’s so easy to overlook great music when it’s really indie, but it ought to be criminal to overlook Lightning Love. This adorable pop trio sings about heartbreak and adulthood in a way that many a 20-something can understand. When I first became friends with my favorite music fanatic Amber Valentine, she could not stop talking on Twitter about how perfect this pack of Michigan rascals was at making the soundtrack to her life. Far be it for me to not check out music that gets such consistent raves, so I did.
I fell immediately in love with the band’s debut album, November Birthday, for reasons I enumerated in an article over at Indie College last year. I honestly did not expect to be so amazed by these toeheaded cuties, but their formula just works way too freaking well — Leah Diehl’s clipped vocals and keyboard fantasies belong together.
The group gets plenty of love from the people who’ve heard their music, but they still somehow remain in relative obscurity, which is nothing less than tragic. While I would definitely suggest checking out November Birthday before delving any further into Lightning Love’s work (because you really can’t mess with perfection, which is what that album is), I’m also really excited to announce that the band is finally releasing a follow-up EP, Girls Who Look Like Me, on Jan. 31, 2012, on Quite Scientific Records. The collection of four songs is a modest representation of the trio’s growth, but most importantly reveals that they’re sticking with the sound that worked so well for them from the start.
They’re all good songs, but two especially stand out for me. “I Know” is anchored by heavy chords and repetitive, deliberate drum thumps, coming across as far more powerful than it has any right to be. You can download my other favorite, “Deadbeat,” from the label’s Soundcloud page right now.
There’s nothing not Lightning Love about this track, and definitely if you dig it, you have no reason to not look into their previous stuff. And if you’re anything like me, you’re going to be left wanting after hearing this EP. Not because it’s lacking anything, but because you’re ALWAYS hungry for more new Lightning Love, no matter what. Well, don’t start crying yet! Because later in 2012, you can look forward to the band’s sophomore full-length which is very nearly surely more of this stuff you already adore.
Once again, a wonderful young band does Seattle proud. This time, it’s The Soft Hills, a psychedelic folk quartet that embodies the sensibilities of its ’60s and ’70s influences so well, it almost makes me wanna throw on something bohemian and join a drum circle. There’s just something about that old sound that never gets old, and I’m so glad that so many artists can emulate it today in a way that’s both accurate and fresh.
The band plans to release its second full-length album, The Bird Is Coming Down to Earth, Feb. 14, 2012, on Germany’s Tapete Records, followed by a European tour in May. They recently released a music video for the album’s opening track, “Phoenix,” directed by John Behr. In it, lead singer Garrett Hobba stumbles into a spiritual journey in what appear to be the arid hills of central Washington. Led by a bear-headed shaman, his path to enlightenment starts out rough but ends with a happy dance around a fire pit.
When someone puts something on Twitter, there’s a huge chance that it’s of very little interest or completely based in not-factual information. Just like in real life, however, there are people who exist on Twitter that I trust and listen to. Whether it’s Mike from Play B-Sides recommending a record or Hearingade’s own Abby sending me a Bandcamp link, Twitter has proven itself an invaluable resource for discovering music. Recently, my friends over at the Madison-based blog Rock Of The Arts informed the Twitterverse that a rumor is going around about a possible Jonny Corndawg collaboration with one of my favorite bands of the past five years, Dawes. And it was basically the best rumor ever.
So the word is that the Corndawes collab might be recorded as soon as this winter, maybe even in my old ‘hood by team Daytrotter. I don’t know what’s more exciting: The prospect of this album, the prospect of this album being recorded by my homies at DT, or the prospect of this album actually being called “Corndawes.” Just say it with me for a moment: Corndawes. Corndawes. Corndawes. Fun, isn’t it?!