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Islands – The Cosmic Array

Second release from Welsh sci-fi themed alt country band The Comic Array - more here.

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Astrophysics Saved My Life – Rivers of England

Second full album from Rivers of England - more here.

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Melody Cycle – Jack and the’

Gallic-flavoured orchestral pop - more here.

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A Tale Untold – Louise Le May

A superb debut album - more here.

A Tale Untold’ – LOUISE LE MAY – Uncut Review

A great review in the June 2016 edition of Uncut magazine:

Uncut_June_2016

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VIDEO: Fraction Of A Wolf – The Driftwood Manor

Coming soon, the great new album from Irish Alt-Folk outfit The Driftwood Manor. Out on 8 July 2016, For The Moon (f0133) features 9 superb tracks including the single Fraction of A Wolf:

More here.

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NEW RELEASE: Islands – The Cosmic Array

The Cosmic Array‘s brilliant new album Islands is out today and available at Folkwit Records Bandcamp store:

The Cosmic Array were founded via a collaboration between Paul Battenbough (No Thee No Ess, King of Despair) and Huw Rees (Rag Foundation, King of Despair) that started in late November 2012. Their 2014 self-titled debut album introduced their unique brand of sci-fi themed alt country/Americana music:

“This excellent record is a thing of definite, if expertly tarnished, splendour. The thoughtful and accomplished songs are undeniably sharp, and a joy from beginning to end…”
– Ian Fildes, AmericanaUK

The new album Islands, sees the line-up bolstered by the considerable talents of singer-songwriter Abby Sohn, an American expat living in South Wales. The result is an immersive album – richly textured layers of sound fronted by the assured, languid vocal styles of both Battenbough and Sohn. It’s at times tender (Dear Ones), at times wholly uncompromising (Drones).

“The dozen tracks that make up ‘Islands’ are of such exquisite beauty that we hoped the album would never end…it’s a wondrous, magical, musical journey from beginning to end.”
– Welsh Connections

“There’s going to be division over this one; those that love, those that hate, and the perplexed…”
– Folkwords

The album was mixed & produced by Mat Wigley at Rhondda Street Studios, Swansea and mastered by Gaz Williams. Performing on the album are: Paul Battenbough, Huw Rees, John Coward, Abby Sohn, Mat Wigley, Andy Fung, Danny Kilbride, John Elvis Berry, Frank Naughton

WEB
www.thecosmicarray.co.uk
www.facebook.com/TheCosmicArray

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NEW RELEASE: Dear Ones (single) – The Cosmic Array

Penned by Abby Sohn and Paul Battenbough, Dear Ones is the first single from the Cosmic Array’s upcoming album, Islands. Release date: 1 April 2016

(Cover image by Mark Zeuk Roberts.)

*DEAR ONES IS ALSO AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE ON ALL DIGITAL PLATFORMS*

The Cosmic Array were founded via a collaboration between Paul Battenbough (No Thee No Ess, King of Despair) and Huw Rees (Rag Foundation, King of Despair) that started in late November 2012. Their 2014 self-titled debut album introduced their unique brand of sci-fi themed alt country/Americana music:

“This excellent record is a thing of definite, if expertly tarnished, splendour. The thoughtful and accomplished songs are undeniably sharp, and a joy from beginning to end…”
– Ian Fildes, AmericanaUK

The new album Islands, sees the line-up bolstered by the considerable talents of singer-songwriter Abby Sohn, an American expat living in South Wales. The result is an immersive album – richly textured layers of sound fronted by the assured, languid vocal styles of both Battenbough and Sohn. It’s at times tender (Dear Ones), at times wholly uncompromising (Drones).

WEB
www.thecosmicarray.co.uk
www.facebook.com/TheCosmicArray

“The dozen tracks that make up ‘Islands’ are of such exquisite beauty that we hoped the album would never end…it’s a wondrous, magical, musical journey from beginning to end.”
– Welsh Connections

The album was mixed & produced by Mat Wigley at Rhondda Street Studios, Swansea and mastered by Gaz Williams. Performing on the album are: Paul Battenbough, Huw Rees, John Coward, Abby Sohn, Mat Wigley, Andy Fung, Danny Kilbride, John Elvis Berry, Frank Naughton

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NEW RELEASE: Astrophysics Saved My Life – Rivers of England

Love, Science and Peace…

Rivers of England are a folk-rock band from the West of England, fronted by the considerable talents of singer-songwriter Rob Spalding. Their luscious debut album Of Trivial and Gargantuan was released in 2014:

“…a strong and accomplished debut that gently drifts its unhurried way into the psyche, and its tender, sweet sounds seem to have arrived perfectly timed for the summer festival season.”
– Ian Fildes, Americana-UK

“…a fine and original example of song writing…the music of Rivers Of England unleashes class and spontaneity…full of beautiful compositions…few can boast such versatility and poetic coherence.”
– Gianfranco Marmoro, Ondarock (Italy)

Throughout the new album Astrophysics Saved My Life, Spalding continues to engage the listener with his unique approach to song writing. Themes range from the highly personal to the universal – the inner self to the outer cosmos – the emotional to the scientific.

“Astrophysics Saved My Life occupies that places between where ‘the predictable’ lives and ‘the unexpected’ takes over. More than simple folk-rock and far more complex than pop, deeper in expression, wider in scope, this album looks outward as much as it looks inward. The lyrics explore forward and refer back, the vocals entice, compulsive melodies weave their way around your ears, connections are made.”
– Charlie Elland, FolkWords

“This is a fine album but listen carefully and don’t try to rush it.”
– Dai Jeffries, Folking.com

It has been suggested that Rivers of England’s music fits somewhere between that of Alasdair Roberts and John Martyn. Although rooted in folk, their music explores jazz, rock and blues influences which are wonderfully apparent in their recordings and suggestive of a band with an altogether much broader and original take on the genre.

The new album features a plethora of fine musicians including strings and the guest appearances of blues-rock legend and former Robert Plant guitarist Innes Sibun on three of the tracks.

We cordially invite you to discover Rivers of England. Love, science, peace…

WEB: http://www.riversofengland.com

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NEW RELEASE: Melody Cycle – Jack and the’

Sunny, Gallic-flavoured Orchestral pop from Scotland!

Jack and The’ is the musical project of Julien Lonchamp, a Frenchman-in-exile (for some years now, in Edinburgh) whose music combines catchy melodies with complex orchestrations and cascading harmonies, in the great tradition of the orchestral pop of the 60s and beyond.

The story behind Melody Cycle is one of great determination and patience with the album taking four years of painstaking work to produce. Written and recorded in Edinburgh, Dublin and Nancy (France) over two years, it features no less than 18 musicians, including a brass quintet and the 7-piece Apostrophe Ensemble. Needless to say clarinet, trombone, vibraphone, cello all feature but you will also hear at times, banjo, sitar and many other instruments as the band goes full circle from pop to chamber music to jazz. It’s a work of love and devotion we feel, well worth the wait.

In contrast Jack and The’s debut album Vacation (a pop manifesto) was written during Lonchamp’s “unfortunate” PhD in food science in Dublin. Swapping research on lettuce aromas for home recording, he then entrusted his songs to the crème de la crème of French pop producers (Orwell, Variety-Lab and Cascadeur). Originally available in Thailand via Smallroom Records, Vacation was released on Folkwit Records in 2012.

Jack and The’ will be touring Melody Cycle in the UK, France and Belgium in Spring 2016, and word on the street is that they might well be trying to pack the Apostrophe Ensemble in their luggage for a few gigs!

“… a sunny escape, an oasis of happiness, a celebration of music so joyful that it is impossible to resist its infectious melodies”
– Popnews (FR)

“… invokes the entire High Llamas oeuvre, The Divine Comedy, McCartney’s first solo records and makes you wish Dennis Wilson had made more music on his own”
– FATEA

“…sweeping complicated symphonic eccentricity.”
– Charlie Elland, FolkWords

“… building a wonderfully odd umbrella all of their very own out of extended whistling solos and songs about buses, puppeteers and Norwegian lakes”
– Danny Charlton, Amazing Radio

Web: http://www.jackandthe.co.uk/
Videos: http://vimeo.com/jackandthe

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Louise Le May’ A Tale Untold – Reviews/Press

Here’s some of the latest press and reviews about Louise Le May‘s beautiful album A Tale Untold:

Shindig! review:

“This wonderful debut album is a thoughtful and beautiful collection of enchanting songs from a unique talent. Writte with a keen eye for, and understanding of, those observations and details that transform the mundane into art, Le May is a worthy addition to an English tradition of songwriting that spans Ray Davies and Lennon and McCartney to Kate Bush and Kirsty MacColl.

Louise’s pure, sensual voice embraces the power of the simple and understated and this elegance of means is complemented by the sensitive arrangements of Louis Philippe and the intelligent and non-intrusive work of producer Ken Brake. Highlights include the delightful ‘Cassandra’, a pretty but poignant song shot through with narrative visions of pathos-riven domesticity, and the haunting ‘Broken Child’.

Stylistically diverse yet conceptually coherent, this album ranges across a variety of genres as it seeks to marry up creative intent with a rich variety of influences.” ****
– Greg Healey, Shindig!

FATEA review:

“…this is bravely gentle, soul-assuaging music that needs to be played loud so that its often swooningly luxuriant attention to detail and hidden depths can be properly savoured. A truly enchanting disc.”
– David Kidman, FATEA

DOA review by Keiron Phelan:

“Back in the good old days (yeah, right) if you hadn’t made some kind of musical splash by the grand old age of, say, twenty-five, it was widely accepted that taking your Dad’s well-meant advice and finally knuckling down to your Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries day-job was probably a wise move. Speaking as one who didn’t get signed by a label until I was thirty-six, I’ve always been grateful that those days have long since passed, the more so when I come across a pleasure as unexpected as Louise Le May’s adept out-of-the-blue debut album A Tale Untold.

Being beyond the first flush, it’s still somewhat fortuitous that this collection of Le May’s songs ever saw the light of day and such luminaries as DJ and former El Records factotum Chris Evans and long-term indie mover and shaker Louis Philippe must be thanked for (in the former case) astutely recognising the quality of and disseminating Louise’s original rough demos and (in the latter) artfully handling the arrangement duties that brought this album to full fruition. The road, it seems, was long.

Yet as nurtured as this release may have been, the end result is no product of mentored guidance. A Tale Untold, from top to tail, is thoroughly Le May’s show. Singer-songwriters (for such she is) as a breed can incline towards either over earnest pleas or stern pronouncements as modes of lyrical delivery and thus render their territory a little tiresome. Arriving at the party fully formed, however, (to really mix my metaphors) allows Louise to adroitly bypass that whole jejune conceit and the narratives in all of her songs prove masterpieces of both economical lyrical persuasion and sheer vocal poise. That Le May is something of a Kate Bush fan becomes evident during the progress of the songs, although vocally she’s as reminiscent of Alison Goldfrapp during her faux-folk period with a hint of Lindsay Moore’s pensive “I Start Counting” and especially a de-cutesified Noosha Fox (I kid you not!), a far more resonant and (how to put this?) adult vocal presence than our Kate. Indeed, Le May does share both Bush’s imaginative sweep and freshness and matches her in the sophistication of her melody lines, yet steers largely clear of the blowsy, over-egged, hippy-dippyness that can undermine even the best of KB’s creations. Here the tone is well-earthed, the mysteries of life are wryly observed and as personal or idiosyncratic as the songs may be, the feeling is always that Louise is in the world with you, sharing it, not in some introspective parallel universe.

Arrangement wise A Tale Untold is a piano-centric affair, wisely allowing Le May’s voice centre stage position, dealing in effective and tastefully restrained embellishments (double-bass, string quartet and even a burst of cajon from Young Marble Giants’ Stuart Moxham) and not distractions. There’s the odd occasion when the shadow of La Bush falls a little too heavily upon proceedings for my taste, “Be My Guru” being an example. Other than that one could highlight pretty much the entire complement of songs present as particularly deserving of attention, the more so as their variety of tone is remarkable in itself. But, as space won’t permit, here’s the top of the cream.

A better melodically balanced song than “Cassandra” is hard to think of outside the realm of mid-’60s McCartney. Its lyrics of suburban limbo and longing find poetry in the ordinary and its double-edged sunniness and sadness are equally reminiscent of the glory days when Macca kept one eye warm and one eye cold. The clock-tick, Jacques Brel ‘world impatience’ influenced piece that is “Photographic” riffs on the hallucinogenic thinness of a repetitive life and contains a wordless vocal hook that simply does not let go. Meanwhile, the chorus of the deliberately sparse “Sink And Swim” is made gloriously enormous by simple dint of Le May’s massed twisting and descending lyrical lines.

Primus inter pares status, however, goes to the sublime and haunting tones of opener “Broken Child”. An almost Henry Jamesesque ghost-story of a song, featuring a beautifully understated scoring of woodwind and reminiscent of Serafina Steer’s criminally underrated “Peach Heart” this paean to the memory of an unhappy past epitomises the union of emotional complexity and expressive simplicity of which Le May is so singularly capable.

All said, A Tale Untold is a genuine ‘keeper’ of an album and a work – I can’t resist saying – that will grow in the telling.”
– Keiron Phelan

An interview with Keiron Phelan in DOA:

http://www.adequacy.net/2016/01/interview-louise-le-may/

R2/Rock’n’Reel Review:

“Haunting and atmospheric…Louise’s ethereal voice sits above a classy, restrained backing…Fine singing and musicianship abound and there are distinctly beautiful segments…”
– Ian Croft

A Motley Miscillany’s Albums of Year 2015:

“A haunting collection of songs which can be (and is now being) lazily compared to Kate Bush. Beautifully composed and arranged, it’s an immersive, dreamlike record that has a rich and varied texture, but ultimately relies on Le May and her stunning voice for its poignant, evocative impact.”
– William Pinfold, A Motley Miscillany

http://williampinfold.com/inevitably-the-releases-of-the-year-2015-part-five/

Flight of the Sky Pilot Discoveries of the Year (2015):

Acts that I’ve only become aware of in the past 12 months, that have really stood out.

“#2 Louise Le May – A beautiful voice singing equally enthralling songs, Louise’s voice reminds me in places of Judy Dyble. This folky delight needs to be heard wider, I think.”
– John Simms

http://flightoftheskypilot.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/music-of-2015.html

Pop Junkie’s Albums of the Year (2015):

“23 – Louise Le May – A Tale Untold – Pastoral folky pop from a very special songstress. This album, which has been a long time coming, has shades of Kate Bush on the beautiful Cassandra and Judee Sill and Judy Collins on the opener Broken Child, yet is delivered in a lovely, low key very English manner. Other stand outs include Be My Guru – reminiscent of the long lost Brighton band The Mummers – and Sink and Swim which novelist Jonathan Coe loves so much it inspired a chapter in his new-ish book Number 11.”
– Pop Junkie

https://popjunkielondon.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/albums-of-the-year-2015/

L’Attimo Fuggente / Indie for Bunnies Review (IT):

“Louise Le May è una musicista inglese di grandissimo talento. Un talento unico e molto inglese, appunto. La sua musica, accompagnata dai sopraffini arrangiamenti dell’immenso artista francese Louis Philippe, è difficile da classificare, riflessiva e onirica al tempo stesso e la sua voce, naturale e leggera, ha una profondità e una forza espressiva sorprendenti. Louise ha pubblicato un EP in edizione limitata nel 2009 attirando recensioni entusiastiche e airplay da Guy Garvey, Tom Robinson e tanti altri, noi, naturalmente, compresi. Ci è voluto, poi, qualche tempo, grande dedizione e molta, molta ispirazione per arrivare a “A Tale Untold” il suo album d’esordio, che esce in questi giorni. Un lavoro che è valsa la pena aspettare. Un debutto tardivo, ma assolutamente soddisfacente. Arrangiato da Louis Philippe (e chi non lo conoscesse, farebbe meglio a informarsi e ad ascoltare i suoi album) e prodotto da Ken Brake e Louis Philippe stesso, e con un piccolo contributo da parte di Stuart Moxham dei Young Marble Giant, “A Tale Untold” è un album da ascoltare con calma e dedizione, al sicuro, mentre fuori scorrono sempre più frenetiche le immagini del mondo.”
Francesco Amoroso

http://www.indieforbunnies.com/2015/11/20/lattimo-fuggente-16-novembre-2015/

Progressive del Nuovo Millenio’s top 5 international albums 2015:

“Leggerezza ed intensità nella sua vocalità espressiva, Louise Le May è artista di grande talento, capace di far vibrare corde emotive pur nel minimalismo di questo suo folgorante debutto discografico full-length (ha al suo attivo un e.p. del 2009).
A Tale Untold, questo il titolo dell’album della musicista inglese, è un disco da seguire con attenzione per cogliere le rilevanti sfumature in esso contenuto.
Un impressionante debutto!”

http://progressivedelnuovomillennio.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/top-five-internazionale.html

Pop News (FR) VIP’s top albums of 2015:

“Louise le May – A Tale Untold. Une chanteuse anglaise à découvrir de toute urgence pour les fans de Kate Bush ou Judee Sill. Le French Londoner Louis Philippe est aux arrangements, et c’est très beau.”
– Jérôme Didelot (Orwell)

http://www.popnews.com/popnews/bilan-2015-les-tops-des-vip/2

8.5/10 review in Ondarock (IT):

“…an album that restores music to its cultural centre…”
– Gianfranco Marmoro

http://www.ondarock.it/recensioni/2015_louiselemay_ataleuntold.htm

Rockerilla Magazine (IT) Review and Interview:

Rockerilla Review and Interview by Francesco Amoroso

8/10 review in Distortion (IT):

http://www.distorsioni.net/canali/dischi/a-tale-untold

Resident Music Review:

“Stunningly beautiful debut album of ethereal folk from a unique and very English talent – Le May’s wonderful voice sits perfectly within luscious and sophisticated arrangements…”
– Resident Music

Music Won’t Save You (E) Review:

“Il contegno espressivo di Louise Le May fa infatti balenare immagini di teatri rifiniti da velluti e arredi d’epoca, eppure nelle sue canzoni non c’è davvero nulla di sovrabbondante, nessun orpello che ne alteri il contenuto ma solo rifiniture che ne esaltano la naturale bellezza.

Così, la grazia senza tempo dell’artista inglese rifulge in tutta la sua classe tanto in semplici ballate al pianoforte (“Furniture” e la title track di chiusura), quanto in frammenti dal distante retaggio folk (“Coal-Marble-Stone”) e persino quando si associa a cadenze ritmiche sbarazzine e sorprendenti (“Radium Smile”). L’essenza più pura di “A Tale Untold” risiede tuttavia nell’equilibrata associazione della delicatezza interpretativa della Le May a contesti orchestrali ariosi (“Broken Child”), vivaci (“Cassandra”), sognanti (“Photographic”) e profondamente romantici (“Thunderbird”).

È davvero un altro mondo quello delle canzoni di Louise Le May, un mondo tratteggiato da poche pennellate morbide ma decise, da contemplare come una tela d’autore la cui armoniosa bellezza prescinde dalla collocazione fisica o temporale ma che in “A Tale Untold” è, dopo lunga attesa, finalmente ora e qui.”
– Raffaello Russo

http://musicwontsaveyou.com/2015/11/23/louise-le-may-a-tale-untold/

The Garden of Earthly Delights Albums of the Year:

http://www.gardenofearthlydelights.com/Charts2015.html

Finally, some of you may not be aware but one track from the album Sink and Swim, was the inspiration for one of the stories in Jonathan Coe‘s latest book, No. 11:

JC_ackn

 

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VIDEO: In the Barley – Rivers of England

Here’s a great new video from Rivers of England featuring In the Barley from their new album Astrophysics Saved My Life – out on Folkwit on 26 February 2016:

For more information, go here.

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VIDEO: Melody Cycle #1 – Jack and the’

Jack and the’ have just released this video of the track Melody Cycle #1 taken from the new album Melody Cycle due out on Folkwit on 22 February 2016:

Melody Cycle ♯1 (video) from Jack and the on Vimeo.

For more information go here.

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NEW RELEASE: A Tale Untold – Louise Le May

Louise Le May’s debut album A Tale Untold is a stunningly beautiful album:

Louise Le May is something different – a unique and very English talent. Sometimes hard to categorise, her music in combination with the luscious, sophisticated arrangements of Louis Philippe, soars. It’s timeless, dreamlike and reflective.

Her voice, recorded with minimal fuss, open and natural is the first thing you notice. It has a lightness yet conveys a surprising depth. In the words of The High Llamas frontman Sean O’Hagan:

“She has the steady delivery of Judee Sill, but the harmonic flavour of Kate Bush or Robert Wyatt.”

Louise released a limited edition EP in 2009 attracting glowing reviews and airplay from Guy Garvey, Tom Robinson (including a live session) and many others. The EP featured reworkings of Louise’s early demos by Louis Philippe who discovered an immediate affinity with her music having been introduced to it by The Curveball presenter Christopher Evans. Plans were made for this album – A Tale Untold.

Some time, dedication and great deal of inspired effort has resulted in an album that’s been well worth the wait. An impressive full debut.

Arranged by Louis Philippe and produced by Ken Brake and Louis Philippe, A Tale Untold was recorded at Regal Lane Studio, London, recorded, mixed and mastered by Ken Brake. Piano arrangements on Furniture and The Only Fish by Danny Manners. The album features a plethora of fine musicians and even a small contribution from Young Marble Giant Stuart Moxham.

Reviews:

“…this is bravely gentle, soul-assuaging music that needs to be played loud so that its often swooningly luxuriant attention to detail and hidden depths can be properly savoured. A truly enchanting disc.”
– David Kidman, FATEA

“This wonderful debut album is a thoughtful and beautiful collection of enchanting songs from a unique talent. Writte with a keen eye for, and understanding of, those observations and details that transform the mundane into art, Le May is a worthy addition to an English tradition of songwriting that spans Ray Davies and Lennon and McCartney to Kate Bush and Kirsty MacColl.

Louise’s pure, sensual voice embraces the power of the simple and understated and this elegance of means is complemented by the sensitive arrangements of Louis Philippe and the intelligent and non-intrusive work of producer Ken Brake. Highlights include the delightful ‘Cassandra’, a pretty but poignant song shot through with narrative visions of pathos-riven domesticity, and the haunting ‘Broken Child’.

Stylistically diverse yet conceptually coherent, this album ranges across a variety of genres as it seeks to marry up creative intent with a rich variety of influences.” ****
– Greg Healey, Shindig!

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