Portland, Oregon-based Hook & Anchor delivered Americana self-titled debut on July 22 via Jealous Butcher/Woodphone Records.
The band is comprised of Blind Pilot’s Kati Claborn, Luke Ydstie, and Ryan Dobrowski, as well as old-time music veteran Gabrielle Macrae and Erik Clampitt.
Hook & Anchor is a story of lost songs finding a home. After a busy five years of touring with Portland-based band Blind Pilot, Claborn was sitting on a steadily growing pile of tunes. As chance would have it, long-time friend and collaborator Clampitt was looking for material and musicians to play a handful of gigs culminating in a show at the San Francisco Old-time and Bluegrass Festival. Songs were dusted off, friends were gathered, and the music that emerged had a voice and cohesion that immediately resonated with audiences and demanded to be more than a mere one-off.
Although generalizations don’t come easy, the album exists somewhere at the confluence of country, folk, and rock and roll, with every track pushing definitions across a new border. The songwriters of Hook & Anchor combine a roots theme with thoughtful lyrical arrangements.
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“Concerning Spectral Pinching” by Hook & Anchor
The new album, Beginner Mind, from singer-songwriter, Jay Brown, will be released on October 14. Brown says of the single, “Get Your Fill of Feeling Hungry,” “This song was inspired by thinking back on my years spent in Boone, NC. I lived simply and alone in little old cabins, happily, humbly, and hungrily getting from day to day.”
For a man who has spent his whole life playing and recording music, Brown’s Beginner Mind, is poignantly centered in a state of openness. His sensual storytelling is imbued with the heart of American Roots music, delivered in a way that doesn’t feel old or dated.
In addition to playing with his one man band – which usually consists of himself, accompanied by guitar, harmonica, tap shoes and a tambourine – you can still find Brown playing with the band he formed back in 1999 with his best friends called Lazybirds. As he understood it, when Lazybirds formed, the members all shared something unique and hard to describe. They were all fascinated with old obscure music and with the life and times of those that made it.
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“Get Your Fill of Feelin Hungry” by Jay Brown
The album, At Your Mercy Circuit, is singer-songwriter Terese Taylor‘s first collaboration with Klaus Flouride of the Dead Kennedy’s. The artists spent two years honing what Flouride calls Taylor’s “dark yet humorous sensibility.” Each track of this haunting album is filled with Taylor’s characteristic mix of poetic lyriciam, grinding guitar, and moments of quiet beauty. Taylor’s songs take us on a journey into some of life’s hardest, darkest places but always with humor and a sense of wonder at it all.
Taylor is backed by a group of incredibly talented and accomplished musicians including James Whiton (double bass), Will Hendricks (bass), Garrin Benfield (lead guitars), and Teddy Rankin-Parker & Kristina Dutton (violin/cello).
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“Poor Man” by Terese Taylor
London-based rock-alternative-roots quartet, The Healing, have released an EP entitled Childhood Home. Musically, their songs weave together strong vocal and guitar melodies with dynamic grooves, close harmony singing and alternate guitar tunings.
The four-piece band combines elements of rock, roots, soul and poetry. Their full line-up was completed in the autumn of 2013, consisting of Jim Moreton (vocals, guitar), Nicolas Py (drums), Sam Thiery (bass) and Ariel Moreton (harmony vocals). Their style ranges from atmospheric driving rock songs such as “Tonopah” to tender, country inspired ballads such as the title track, “Childhood Home.” In either gear, songwriter Jim Moreton’s lyrics frequently draw from the theme of childhood memories, stories, and the lives of family members to create intimate and emotionally powerful songs.
Have a listen to lead single “Childhood Home” on Soundcloud and stream the full EP via Bandcamp. Also, you may watch “Childhood Home” on Youtube.
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“Childhood Home” by The Healing
Folk-rock artist, Michael Leonard Witham, began his musical after finding a well worn Yamaha acoustic guitar with a slightly damaged body and no strings. Soon after fixing it up and writing incessantly, he was chosen from an iphone recording as one of a handful of artists to perform in the Arkansas Times Musician’s Showcase. As the instrument became more and more familiar, the songs almost effortlessly poured out. Words and melodies told stories in a style that was unique and anything but common.
He began performing often and continued to craft songs that would become his debut, A Scandal In The Violets. The album will be released on October 21.
Visit Soundcloud to preview two tracks from the album. And, you may watch the video for “John’s Old Lady” on Vimeo. Plus, streaming is available via Bandcamp.
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“Oh The Evil!!!” by Michael Leonard Witham
Prague’s guitar-driven, pop-quartet, Latimer House, released its full-length All The Rage on the band’s own label, Honk Records, back in February. Now the band is back with its lyrically witty, yet quintessentially English-pop “Birdcage Walk,” and its b-side, the noisier, more experimental “Until Then.” The single was released digitally on July 7 and a 7″ pressed in red translucent vinyl was released on August 11 from the Honk Records shop.
Band members, Joe, Jiří, Anar and Michael, like a wide range of music from classic pop and rock, to funk, folk and New Wave, to obscure experimental rock, jazz and contemporary alternative sounds. All four have played in various bands down the years. Thus, their different backgrounds and interests all appear in the sound created by Latimer House.
On a creative roll, Latimer House plans to release their next full-length in 2015.
Stream and share the tracks from Latimer House via Soundcloud. The band would also like to highlight “Splash!” — now streaming on Bandcamp. Plus, watch the band’s official music video for “This is Pop.”
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“Birdcage Walk” by Latimer House
Indie/rock outfit from Scranton, Pennsylvania, A Social State, recently released a full-length album with producer Steven Haigler (The Pixies, Brand New, Local H, Fuel, The Dear Hunter, As Tall As Lions). The album is titled How To Get To Heaven and the first single is the track, “Aging Egomaniac.”
All four members of the band were in different local Scranton bands, but came together to form A Social State. Their newest effort focuses on melody, intensity, and emotion. Prior to the release of How To Get To Heaven, the band offered a self-titled EP and another full-length titled Everyone’s Your Friend.
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“Aging Ego Maniac” by A Social State
Image and mp3 courtesy of Edward Cuozzo, band member, A Social State