Category Archives: Folk

Introducing – Kenzie & Kendal

This is literally the most chance discovery I’ve ever made. A Facebook friend of mine liked a band. She’s not someone I’m particularly close with. It popped up on my news feed, and I’m a guy always on the lookout for new music. So I clicked on the page, and listened to a few songs.

Kenzie & Kendal have doubled their likes on Facebook in October to over 1,000. I’m one of them now. They have a derivative sound, sure, but it’s a good derivative sound. Taking guidance primarily from The Civil Wars and The Swell Season, Kenzie & Kendal have crafted a well-arranged debut album of songs ranging from Swell Season’s acoustic indie-style stuff to Civil Wars’ more americana/folk-based melodies.

When searching for them on YouTube, I found one song, “Six Feet Deep”, the most heavily arranged and rootsy song on the album. A related song was “Rivers and Roads” by The Head and the Heart, one of my favorites. I won’t post it here, because I don’t think it’s the most accurate or best representation of their work. The album kicks off with a song called “We’ll Be Just Fine”, and it’s definitely the best of the bunch. So here’s a link to it:

iTunes

Preview it, listen the WHOLE WAY THROUGH (the chorus takes a while to hit), and if you like it, help out some struggling indie artists. Or just rip it from their BandPage on Facebook and share the crap out of it like I would if we had the space to store it (coming soon, hopefully). Either way, attend their live shows and support them, ’cause that’s a good thing to do and you’re a good person, right?


“Merry Go ‘Round” – Kacey Musgraves

It’s very rare these days when you can find good modern folk music. Kacey Musgraves has managed to defy the odds and craft an exquisite folk song. It’s classified on iTunes as Country, but don’t let that fool you–Musgraves’ music very deliberately analyzes and slowly penetrates the incredibly sad truth of the small-town country lifestyle oh-so-glorified by the Jason Aldeans and Tim McGraws of the world with an honesty and a sensitivity that I wouldn’t expect, and, frankly, was damn impressed by.

The wordplay is sharp, and the arrangement is appropriately sparse, but not empty.

I’ll let the lyrics speak for themselves. They are flawless–and that wasn’t hyperbole:

If you ain’t got two kids by 21,
You’re probably gonna die alone
At least that’s what tradition told you.

And it don’t matter if you don’t believe,
Come Sunday morning you best be there
In the front row, like you’re s’posed to.

Same hurt in every heart.
Same trailer, different park.

Mama’s hooked on Mary Kay
Brother’s hooked on Mary Jane
And Daddy’s hooked on Mary two doors down.

Mary Mary quite contrary,
We get bored so we get married
And just like dust we settle in this town.
On this broken merry go ’round and ’round and ’round we go,
Where it stops nobody knows…
And it ain’t slowin’ down, this merry go ’round…

We think the first time’s good enough,
So we hold on to high school love,
Say we won’t end up like our parents.

Tiny little boxes in a row,
Ain’t want you want, it’s what you know,
Just happy in the shoes you’re wearin’.

Same checks we’re always cashin’,
To buy a little more distraction.

Cause Mama’s hooked on Mary Kay
Brother’s hooked on Mary Jane
Daddy’s hooked on Mary two doors down.

Mary Mary quite contrary,
We get bored so we get married
And just like dust we settle in this town.
On this broken merry go ’round and ’round and ’round we go,
Where we stop nobody knows…
And it ain’t slowin’ down, this merry go ’round…

Mary Mary quite contrary,
We’re so bored until we’re buried.
And just like dust we settle in this town.
On this broken merry go ’round…
Merry go ’round…

Jack and Jill went up the hill,
Jack burned out on booze and pills,
And Mary had a little lamb,
Mary just don’t give a damn no more.

Let that sit with you for a bit.


“Become Another Person” – Careful Hands

Coming out of¬†Regina, Saskatchewan is a one man band called Careful Hands. The solo artist, Brennon Patterson, focuses his style on the folk, acoustic type sound. Folk is something I have never really looked into, or even made the effort. But giving this LP, “Become Another Person” a listen, I actually can say I dig some of the stuff that goes on. This is some very cool music and something interesting to look into.

With no prior knowledge or exposure to folk, I started listening to “Become Another Person” expecting nothing. I’ll be honest, it took me two times through to like it. At first, I ran through each song quickly because I was in a hurry and impatient. I didn’t like it so I closed the link. A little while later, with nothing to do, I decided to open it up again. This time with nothing to do, I just let myself listen to the whole album. I seriously went through 3 whole times. And I really like it! Definitely a great first impression for this folk business. Listening to Mr. Patterson play his instruments and croon out his lyrics has something calming about them. What I appreciate most about this album is the mixture of upbeat, smooth songs as well as a bit darker, more contemplative type songs. The cool thing about the album is that everything just kind of fits together. The set-up of the tracks is perfect, going between that upbeat sound to the slower, calmer tones. In the email I received from Careful Hands, he said that the album “is a story of reflection” and that it “brings the listener to a place of both conflict and comfort.” Listening to the album, I can really get what he is trying to say about the album because of the way the songs are set up makes it seem like Careful Hands is actually taking us through a journey that reflects on his own life as well as our own. It’s just something that I listen to and feel like it is going through its ups and downs like every other person in this world goes through. “Deeply aware of the human condition” as he puts it and those words just fit perfectly for this album. Being able to change the way the feelings that are evoked out of people through out the songs is very neat and this is one of the few times I have felt like a band has put together an album that sets up their songs in perfect order. These smooth vocals and chill beats just kind of make me want to get up and hike around. Kind of like some sort of Christopher McCandless adventure. Overall the album is great. I don’t have anything but praise for this one. I like it a lot and it’s grown on me quickly, having only listened to this album throughout the duration of this post.

His more upbeat type songs are the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 7th and 8th and the calmer ones are the 2nd, 4th, and 5th. If I had to choose for my 3 favorites off of this one, I’d have to go with “What We Share” (4th), “Going Nowhere” (7th), and “Such of You” / “The Mission” (1st and Last). Yeah I know that is 4 but the first and last have to be thrown in together because of the way they start and end the album. Taking us through the adventure and then ending it. Also those are the ones that display the most of the bitching harmonica.

This was a great discovery, so thank you to Mr. Patterson for this awesome effort. It is well appreciated.

Like Careful Hands on Facebook!

Go check out (and you can download for free, or pay if you want ūüėÄ ) his LP “Become Another Person” on his Bandcamp!

Like LifeAfterNirvana on Facebook!


Introducing- Harry Oakwood (Millionaire)

I’ll be honest by saying that I haven’t had much exposure to folk music before. As a result, I’ve been stewing on this review for a good deal of time now. I don’t have a great grasp of musical¬†terminology, so I think the best way is to approach this is to make a few observations and allow the music to state its case.

On their facebook page, the band¬†Harry Oakwood (Millionaire) portray themselves as “….a streamlined ocean liner of music, steering a true and steady path through an unpredictable sea of three part harmony and foot pounding beats which, combined with an ear for the alternative, enable this incredible ensemble to deliver consistently strong live performances and, most importantly, great songs.‚ÄĚ

The band is able to create quite the impression off the first listen. ‘Scared Crow’¬†which begins as a soft, somber¬†ballad¬†before before the introduction of the horns turns it into an energetic sing-along despite the sobering content of a “cruel, cruel moon rising”. Although ‘Scared Crow’ has been the most popular song of Harry Oakwood when I search up the band, I would like to point to the songs “Brothers” and “Journey Song” as the emotional¬†high points¬†of the work. The subject matter of the working class struggles and ambitions is perfectly complimented by the¬†versatile musical production. In “Brothers”, the piano interjects nicely against the crashing drums as the song really releases itself into a beautiful¬†exuberance.¬†¬†These two songs serve as a crescendo, building on the¬†momentum¬†at the end of ‘Scared Crow’ while creating their own harmonies.

The biggest positive of their music is¬†accessibility, featuring¬†soothing melodies in the beginning to prod at the individual’s deeper thoughts ¬†before the steady rise to the triumph last minute of the song manages to evoke the memories and emotions that have been left on the shelf for far too long. The very structure of the EP functions in the same manner. As the final song “Empty Chair” ends, you’ll find yourself thinking that despite the anxieties of the future and the uneasy feeling that one can barely grasp the conditions of the present existence, everything will turn out alright. ¬†Then again, having a harmonica can most certainly put a positive spin on anything.In the last few moments of the song, the listeners are asked to “Take a good long look at your life, is it everything you thought it would be?” before the song ends with a fantastic harmony that is¬†simultaneously¬†soothing and¬†provocative. An interesting question to pose, but one that’s definitely in tune with the band’s personal statement.

Harry Oakwood’s music can be¬†rambunctious at times. It can be intimate and soothing in other cases. However, it’s always contemplative and ultimately life-affirming because of its honesty. Definitely one of the biggest musical surprises I have come across so far this year.

Buy it off Itunes

Website: http://www.harryoakwood.com/
Blog: http://harryoakwood.tumblr.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/harryoakwood
Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/believedigital-uk/sets/harry-oakwood-millionaire/s-E6Mo5
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/harryoakwood/featured


BREAKING NEWS: NEW GRIZZLY BEAR

I am listener number 302 of the first track released from Grizzly Bear’s forthcoming album. The band announced today that they will release their fourth album on September 17th and that a worldwide tour will follow, including a date at the Paramount on October 5th. Color me stoked.

The track, “Sleeping Ute”, feels rougher and more organic at times than the fare found on¬†Veckatimest. The sound is louder and more free, but the music is still highly structured. The last minute and change featured vocalist Daniel Rossen singing over a trademark¬†acoustic¬†swell from guitar and banjo. This should be one of the best releases of the year.


Introductions + Ed Sheeran

Right now you’re probably wondering what I mean by ‘introductions’. Well, I’m not here to introduce a band (yet), I’m here to introduce myself. My name’s Susie Yankou and this is my very first post on Life After Nirvana! There are a few things you should know about me if we’re going to be friends (which we are):

1. I’m Canadian. What’s up.

2.¬†I’m a music addict. I grew up singing and writing songs and have since picked up guitar, piano and trumpet. Being a singer/songwriter myself, I love discovering new music, creating music, seeing live music… You get the idea.

3. I love pop. There are a lot of guys that contribute to this site who have the lo-down on awesome indie/alternative/rock/metal/any other genre, but as long as it’s catchy, I like it. Pop music is where it’s at. That being said, I am a lover of all genres, so you can expect more than your typical top 40 pop updates from me!

4. I have a weird obsession with British music. I will literally browse the BBC music charts every week to see what’s hot in the UK and listen to all of the songs that I haven’t heard of. You can expect a lot of updates on British artists, because they have so much good stuff going on over there.

That’s all you need to know for now. I think this officially makes us friends. And to kick off our friendship and prove that I’m not all talk, let me share with you one of my favourite British artists out there right now.

His name is Ed Sheeran, and his style is the perfect blend of acoustic, pop and hip-hop music. His debut album “+” has been massive in the UK and now he’s touring North America opening for Snow Patrol, trying to make a name for himself over here. “+” is due out on June 12th in US, but the entire thing is available online, since it was released in Britain in the fall.

One of my favourite tracks off of the album is a super-catchy tune called Drunk. It’s got a great hook, and some fantastic wordplay in the lyrics. Give it a listen!


All the Best Sixties Bands Were “The Somethings”

A couple of years back on St. Patrick’s Day I was hanging out at home with my family. Naturally, at the ripe young age of 14 I was drinking myself into a stupor with cans of 7-up and Sprite (the cans are green, and that’s really what counts right?). So as my caffeinated self began to trudge up the stairs back to the solace of my room, my mother informed me that we would be watching a¬†family movie tonight. Ugh mom, anything, ANYTHING, but a¬†family movie.

Spoiler alert, the movie was awesome. In lieu of Kevin’s post on my friend Mr. Wolfy Bauer, I present to you, the creators of Dublin Soul, The Commitments. Both a movie and a band, The Commitments is/are amazing. To keep the summary short, Jimmy Rabbitte sets himself on a quest to bring soul to Dublin and to create the “World’s Hardest Working Band”. You might be a bit hard-pressed to find a whole lot of symbolism or deep meaning in the plot, but I have yet to see a more honest movie. You get this awesome mixture of the whole Irish lifestyle, with the passion and energy behind the soul music scene. Mr. Rabbitte describes it perfectly in this quote: “The Irish are the blacks of Europe. And Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland. And the Northside Dubliners are the blacks of Dublin. So say it once, say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud.”

The film itself is riddled with great music redone by the Commitments such as¬†Take Me to the River¬†and Destination Anywhere.¬†The great music working with the constant humor ranging from subtle satire to the quick-witted jibes the band members fling at each other at all times of the movie (I believe its customary for every Irish conversation to include one “Piss off”).

What really makes the movie is the amazing music. It’s amazing how well the transition of Black American soul to Dublin soul goes. The Irish spin adds this raw and rowdy feel to the music that’s already a direct result of binge drinking. The movie’s a bit long but feels great in the end. If you’re looking for a feel-good with tons of great music definitely check this movie out.

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