London – Having crafted one of 2016’s finest albums in Singing Saw, Kevin Morby has hardly been resting on his laurels, announcing a full-length follow-up, City Music, due for June release. Promising to be the yang to the former’s yin, the new record takes its cues from an urban rather than rural perspective. Morby has just shared a lyric video for the first song off the new album, the quietly mesmeric “Come To Me Now.” It features an old pump organ from the 1800s, which he described pumping air into with the foot pedals and playing as the part of recording the album he loved the best. Revealing that he felt it had a presence from the moment he entered the studio, the singer added “Above it hung a framed photo of the original owner of the studios property who died some time ago. Apparently, his ghost still occupies the premises.”
Morby is hitting the cities right now with a USA tour underway with dates announced through to the end of May, followed by appearances across Europe in June/July with returns to the States for Bonnaroo and Solid Sound Festival.
The Michigan coupling of Rachel Brooke and Brooks Robbins under the aegis of Modern Mal is set to release The Misanthrope Family Album this May. Billed as veering away from Brooke’s Americana Gothic roots into garage and surf, a preview of the album has revealed an interesting melange softened by warm psychedelia, slide guitar and 50s doo-wop. To give a flavour of this, Modern Mal has shared the endearingly short, tuneful “S.O.S” about which Rachel Brooke said: “What we love about certain songwriters is their ability to say a lot, without an excess of wording. Writers like Fats Domino, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams could convey a feeling or mood without having to say much at all. “S.O.S” was Brooks’ attempt at writing a ‘pop’ song using that same method. Brooks wrote this song about me, actually, which makes it sort of personal and extra sad from my perspective. But It’s about moving on from someone who you thought loved you as much as you loved them. The layered harmonies at the end are intense. I think we have 10 different vocal tracks going on there.”
Unlike the misanthrope, you can see plenty of human connections coming the way of Modern Mal very soon.
Back here in the UK it was a good week for the three acts we chose to go through to the next stage of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent contest: The BeauBowBelles, Tara and S.O.S. If you’ve not caught up with that story yet you can check it out here. Just to underline the quality of unsigned talent competing for a spot at the iconic festival, here are two other acts on the Best New Bands radar who also made the cut, Paradisia and Lazy Day.
One established act already confirmed for Glastonbury Festival 2017, UK 3-piece London Grammar, has dropped a third new song, the title and closing track from its forthcoming second album, Truth Is A Beautiful Thing which is out in June. The song is a gracious and moving piano-led ballad following the serene style of much of its two million-selling debut If You Wait. US festival goers will also get the chance to see the band perform at Chicago’s Lollapalooza Festival on 6 August.
(Photo of Kevin Morby by Adarsha Benjamin)
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Tony’s great passion in life is music and nothing gives him more pleasure than unearthing good, original new music and championing independent musicians. His association with Best New Bands brings great opportunities for this. He also writes for Consequence of Sound and is a judge for Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition.
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