You’ll like them if you like: Bat for Lashes, zombiefied Florence + the Machine, Ouija boards, Warpaint, Zola Jesus, those stupid ghost hunting tv shows.
Must listen to: “Lucia, at the Precipice,” “About This Peninsula,”
Esben & the Witch are descending upon North America and are on a warpath, ready to take on anything and everyone with the release of their debut full-length, Violet Cries (via Matador). But you can stream the entire album below before its Feb. 8 US/Canada release date! The Brighton three-piece first popped up on the radar when they offered their self-released EP 33 for free download. Their dark, brooding, and ominous creations embedded with the dragged out vocals of Rachel Davies caught the attention of The xx, who they later toured with; they’ve also toured with Foals.
[LISTEN]: Esben & the Witch – “About This Peninsula” (from 33)
“About This Peninsula” was the first track of theirs that I heard, and to me, its instrumentation (specifically the guitar work) sounded very reminiscent of Warpaint’s Exquisite Corpse EP (which I adore). Plus they have English accents and used the word “folly,” “peninsula,” and mentioned “Icarus”! Ding ding ding–hooked!
They’ll be playing Toronto’s Wrongbar for Canadian Music Week on March 11 (on the same bill a Guelph’s Memoryhouse), so it should be an amazingly atmospheric (and creepy) show. You can check out their full tour dates below!
Just a tip–if you’re afraid of the dark, ghosts, or are just easily scared in general, do no listen to this album before you go to sleep. (“Battlecry/Mimicry” is especially unsettling.) Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Tour Dates (more…)
@ New Zealand
Wood & Bone Records
With two solo albums–2003’s What To Do With Daylight and 2006’s Albertine–already under her belt and releases/tours with Hillsong United, Brooke Fraser is already a veteran in the music scene. And four years after her last solo record, she’s back and ready to make waves with Flags, which will be released October 12 via Wood & Bone Records. Plus Canadian/U.S. tour dates have also been announced!
Whenever friends ask me about music I listen to, they tend to ask if the artist is “famous,” and I always answer with: “Well, they’re famous to me.” Because regardless of whether a musician has had national/international success, sold a million records, or are on the charts, as long as I listen to them, I consider them “famous” in my mind and make the assumption that everyone has heard about them. (It’s absurd, I know.) Brooke Fraser is one of those artists.
Though she may not be a household name in North America yet, she has a huge following in her native New Zealand and Australia, where her albums have gone Platinum and Gold, respectively. Albertine was Fraser’s U.S. debut and was released in 2008 (two years after it was originally released in NZ, AUS), so I guess you could say she is still relatively new to the North American scene/circuit.
However, being on the road for three years in support of Albertine (beginning in 2006) really took its toll on Fraser; by 2009, she was burnt out and spent. It took a beautiful evening at Coachella and a performance by Fleet Foxes to re-awaken something in the Kiwi singer-songwriter. (Thank you, Fleet Foxes).
“Robin Pecknold began to sing and the purity of his voice seemed to melt away every memory of trauma and disillusionment [...] Then the other voices joined his and it all felt so human and honest [...] It was a moment where I remembered the power of music as a language, a connector. I remembered that I’ve been given the gift of speaking a particular dialect of this language and realised I didn’t have the option of being resigned to silence and I didn’t want it.”
In a press release, Fraser speaks about the direction of Flags and why it’s “more survivable” than previous records :
“I’ve never used as many characters or as much narrative in my songwriting as I have on this record. On my previous albums I was singing completely as myself, which is why I think I got so burnt out from touring. Albertine was inspired by incredibly significant events and people and every time I’d sing I’d go back to that moment where my heart was ripped open. So singing such heavy songs nearly every night for three years took a toll. On Flags, it’s still me speaking, but it’s me speaking through the voices of different characters and their stories. It’s more survivable.”
What can we expect to hear on the new album? Wood & Bones calls the new record “a dreamy, alternative-pop collection that showcases [Fraser's] agile soprano, lilting melodies, and knack for telling her stories through the lives of vibrant characters.”
FUN FACT: The new album features a co-written duet with Aqualung’s Matt Hales entitled, “Who Are We Fooling?”. Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman also co-wrote a track.
Here’s a little taste of the record and the first single off Flags. Listen, simmer, and enjoy!
[Download]: Brooke Fraser – “Something in the Water” (right-click, save as)
Album review over HERE!
READ ON FOR CANADIAN/U.S. TOUR DATES!