Music Mondays #3 – Flaming June

Blogging??? It must be MONDAY! Alright, it’s technically going to be Tuesday before this is up but I haven’t been to bed yet and it’s my blog so I make the rules… Which is actually why we’re running late…

This week I decided I was going to write about Megan Henwood as I only first heard (and met) her recently, but it turns out that she’s won a bunch of awards and has the support of a label, so I had to rule her out. Sorry Megan, independent artists only (she’s still really good though). So, here’s a (literal) eleventh hour replacement blog.

You can see the thought process behind all of this here, but every Monday I’m going to highlight an independent artist who I think deserves a bit of promotion and some of your valuable time. Hopefully I’ll make them sound interesting enough that you’ll click the link and show them some support or share their work with your own social network of choice.

Flaming June

The pseudonym of singer/songwriter Louise Eatock and her backing band, Flaming June have been self-funding a series of EPs on their own label since 1999 which is pretty much the definition of what we’re looking for on this blog. Based around the now familiar modern folk format of acoustic guitar, bass, drums and violin, they describe themselves as “indie folk” but across their releases thus far there are tinges of acoustic punk, straight pop, rockabilly and folk of various flavours. There are strong choruses to be joined in with and some really infectious earworms to be found; Nerves Of Steel, Dopamine Oxytocin, and the haunting piano riff from Heal Me, Believe Me spring to mind. But there’s also a smart, fiercely confrontational and independent spirit behind the songwriting, unafraid to write frankly and openly about abusive relationships (I Know What It’s Like), the representation of female characters in fairytales (Freedom’s Fairytale For Girls) and also find time to mock the hypocrisy of the oblivious (The Insane Ex-Girlfriend Parade). I mean, where else would you find an album title like Rumpelstiltskin & The Perils and Promises of Womanhood? It won’t be for everyone, but if folk with strong melodies and complex, sometimes challenging, themes is your thing then you should click the links.

Links, glorious links! – Flaming June have an official site, and are pretty active on Facebook.You can listen to and purchase their music at their Bandcamp site. You can also get them on Amazon/iTunes, but Bandcamp pays more money direct to the artist so please check it out.

Essential Album – It has to be In Pursuit Of Happiness. The step up in musicianship, arrangement, production quality, and the maturity and polish of the songwriting in the two years between the previous release and In Pursuit Of Happiness is striking. It retains the bitter emotional bite of the earlier work wrapped in more accessible and, for me, enjoyable music.

Essential Track – This was actually a tricky call between a couple on the album mentioned above, with an honourable mention to the hilarious The Insane Ex-Girlfriend Parade from Nerves of Steel. But, I am going for moody, violin/drum driven romance tale of The Sailor Boy. Brilliantly evocative.

 

What do you think of the artists I’ve featured so far? Do you have a favourite independent artist that you think I should listen to? Drop a note in the comments and let me know, I don’t promise to use them all but I do promise I’ll listen to every single one of them! See you next week…

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Blatant advertisment

Do you like your music folky, emotive and tinged with fantastical storytelling? If so, go to http://jamiewakefield.bandcamp.com/ and check out the clips there of “Hit & Mist”, and pay the princely sum of £9 to donwload the whole album, or even individual tracks if you like.

What’s that? You already have a copy? Don’t feel left out, chum! You can also purchase “Second Wave“, an EP featuring the extra tracks from the Pre-Order edition as well as remastered versions of Jamie’s other works.

In all seriousness, please – at least click the link, check out the preview clips and make your mind up whether you like what you hear. Support independant music and musicians, and help us make more.

Cheers!

Brief Update

You are not going crazy, but this may be as close to crazy as you’ll ever feel.

  Just a quick update to say that I’ve not disappeared from the world, just that I’ve forgotten about blogging a wee bit. As many of you will know my Dad died what is now just over six months ago. Since then my appetite for music, for most things to be honest, has been very up and down. Right now it’s running at a fairly low ebb. It’s funny how you can feel like you’re doing OK some days, and then out of nowhere it sneaks up on you and sucker punches you in the kidneys.

 

  For now feel free to take a look at the current tracks at My Soundcloud page, and hopefully I’ll have some new material coming soon to enthuse about.

Credit where credit is due but often neglected

So people seem to quite like Hit & Mist, which is pretty awesome and very gratifying. Some of the feedback has been really cool and nice to hear.

What it has reminded me of is something that has privately puzzled me my whole life – how the attention of your average music listener seems to fall entirely on vocalists. While I accept it as a universal truth and don’t mean to appear snobbish or belittle anyone, I find it hard to understand on a personal level. For as long as I can remember my brain has involuntarily dissected and pulled apart music; tracking the bass lines, picking out the pianos, mapping out the drum beats. Don’t get me wrong, I love vocalists. I love singing. I love music driven by lyrics and melody. But when it’s done right there’s so much more depth to music than just what’s front and centre and it’s the folks in the background who lifted this album above the obvious and into something more exciting.

I’m overjoyed that the vocalists on Hit & Mist are getting the applause they rightly deserve, but here are a few of my favorite things about the album that no-one has mentioned yet:

Bria’s fantastic double-tracked violin work on Sweet Mary Lou.
The strings on Silent Whisper and Horse On The Storm.
Abie’s backing vocals on Fields Of Talcontar and Skia Draco. Such a beautiful voice!
Gwen’s beautiful performance on Silent Whisper. Totally made the song what it is.
The drums on Mariana. They were NOT easy, people! 😛
Craig’s bass and Mike’s trumpet on Dark Streets Of Dagger. They totally NAILED the vibe we wanted.

Those are a few of the little things I love about Hit & Mist. I’d love to hear some of yours. 🙂

Testing… testing…

One… One TWO…

Yeah, it’s a crappy roadie joke but it seemed somehow appropriate.

So… Hi, I guess. Welcome to the world of musoholic. This will be my new repository for all things musical and semi-interesting in my life.

More to follow, I’m off to play with the fonts and margins…