Tuesday, September 16th, 2008
Tap At My Window
Photo by Phoebe Mitchell-Innes
It’s sheer coincidence that
Ireland’s UAE’s National Newspaper chose to run this piece last week about three of the bright lights of the London “anti-folk” scene – Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn and Noah & The Whale – all of whom are coming to town in the next few weeks and all of whom I’d been planning on writing pieces on in the next few days. But they did, and thus anything I might have to say is completely redundant so read the article – I’m going to have a nap.
I kid, I kid. But the piece does do well to offer some context to how these artists are interrelated so it’s worth your time if you find this stuff at all interesting. And in the meantime, I’ll start things off talking about Ms Marling. Of the three acts, she’s probably the highest profile at the moment thanks to the nomination of her debut Alas, I Cannot Swim for the Mercury Prize. And while she didn’t win, the boost to her visibility is incalculable – after all, that was one of the factors that kicked me in the butt sufficiently to seek out a copy of the record, which was just released domestically last month.
And I’ll admit that the first few listens didn’t make that much of an impression. She had a good voice, rich and oaken and similar to Beth Orton’s though not as as lived-in – but save a few of the more extroverted numbers, it’s a decidedly subtle record and one that requires some time to properly seep into one’s consciousness. Which it did and before I knew it, it had worked its way into heavy rotation. Just as her voice is more worn and knowing than you’d expect from an 18-year old, yet still angelic somehow, her songs also carry a weight that should by rights belong to someone much older. But this implicit wisdom isn’t affected – the sentiments contained in the songs come from a place of first loves, heartaches, insecurity and hopefulness – intrinsically youthful but never juvenile. Anyone who’s ever re-read a diary or poetry from their high school days years later knows how difficult that can be, and Marling pulls it off marvelously. Couple the voice and words with musical accompaniment that resides mainly on the intimate and acoustic side but is capable of swelling up into bigger and broader when necessary and you’ve got a record that – had it walked away with the Mercury as many expected – would have been difficult to argue against.
Marling’s co-headline North American tour with Johnny Flynn – dubbed the “Fee Fi Fo Fum Tour” – will wrap up at the Rivoli in Toronto on October 4. Note that this room only holds 100 so if you’re at all interested in going, get tickets now. The Boston Globe has an interview with Marling, who blogged her experience as a Mercury nominee for The Guardian. WNYC also has a studio session available to listen to.
And courtesy of Press Here Publicity, I’ve got three Laura Marling prize packs to give away which consist of a limited edition tour-only 7″ with the track “I’m A Fly”, a limited edition 180-gram LP of Alas, I Cannot Swim accompanied by a live CD and an autographed poster. In other words, GOOD STUFF. Unless you don’t have a turntable in which case it’s mainly decorative stuff but still good. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want the Laura Marling stuff” in the subject line and your full mailing address in the body. The contest is open to residents of North America and will close at midnight, September 25.
MP3: Laura Marling – “Ghosts”
Video: Laura Marling – “New Romantic”
Video: Laura Marling – “Ghosts”
Video: Laura Marling – “My Manic & I”
Video: Laura Marling – “Cross Your Fingers”
Video: Laura Marling – “Night Terror”
MySpace: Laura Marling
Chart reports that Antony & The Johnsons will release a new EP entitled Another World on October 7. It’s the precursor to their new full-length The Crying Light which is due in January. And Antony Hegarty of said Johnsons appears in the new video from Bjork.
Justice are at Circa on October 29.
The King Khan & BBQ Show will make a mess of Lee’s Palace on December 5.
Stars invite their fans to come and be sad and robotic with them on December 12 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (that place again!). Tickets are $29.50.
And while I don’t normally link to individual reviews – just too damn many out there – this one for The Acorn’s Glory Hope Mountain over at Drowned In Sound – it was just released in the UK – made me smile and feel awful proud of the band, because I know where the writer is coming from in being blindsided by something so unexpectedly wonderful. The comments are heartening as well. The Acorn are releasing the companion record Heron Act on September 30 and will be on tour across North America this Fall with Ohbijou, including a November 27 show at Lee’s Palace in Toronto.