#NewMusic This Week: Iceland’s Ásgeir

Ásgeir – In The Silence:  Ásgeir, a melodic folk singer and instrumentalist from Reykjavík, Iceland, recently released his sophomore album, In The Silence. Like me, you’ve probably never heard of him until now, since his record-breaking debut album, Dýrð í dauðaþögn, was only available in his native language, Icelandic. Apparently, 10% of Iceland’s population own his debut album, more than Björk, Sigur Rós and Of Monsters And Men! In the Silence, however, is available in English. The pleasant, airy sounds with soulful lyrics written almost entirely by Ásgeir’s 72-year-old father, are sure to make this album an international hit. Get it now and don’t miss him live when he comes to your town!

Tour | iTunes | Vinyl | Sounds like: Bon Iver, James Blake

Watch “King And Cross” and listen to an acoustic version of “Going Home” below…

The Toe Rag Acoustic Sessions…

 

#NewMusic This Week: Tinariwen, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Sam Roberts Band

Tinariwen at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, 2011

Tinariwen – Emmaar:  Tinariwen is a nomadic band of Tuareg blues musicians from the Saharan Desert in Northern Africa. Since forming in 1979, political chaos and violence have escalated in Mali, where Islamist extremists have gone as far as kidnapping a band member and banning music entirely. But this has not stopped Tinariwen (translated “deserts”) from sharing their story through music. Last year, the band escaped to Joshua Tree National Park in California to record their 7th studio album, Emmaar. I’ll never forget their inspiring show at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta (11/12/2011) and I highly recommend making the trip to Georgia Theatre in Athens on March 19th.

Tour | iTunes | Vinyl

Sounds like: Terakaft, Bombino, Toubab Krewe

Hurray for the Riff Raff – Small Town Heroes:  After making our list of top 9 shows last April, Hurray for the Riff Raff are back with their new album, Small Town Heroes. Take a listen, buy the album and go see them live at Variety Playhouse on March 1st (opening for Shovels and Rope)!

Tour | iTunes | Vinyl | Sound like: The Carter Family, Shovels and Rope

Sam Roberts Band – Lo-Fantasy:  One thing I love about discovering new music is that there is something to discover every week! Before Tuesday, I had never heard of Sam Roberts, but this Montreal-based rocker has just released his 6th studio album, Lo-Fantasy, and it is worth your listen. No upcoming Atlanta shows, but we’ll keep you posted…

Tour | iTunes | Vinyl | Sounds like: Leagues

Sea Wolf and Paper Route, Albums of the Week

Lots of new music releases this week… Sea Wolf and Paper Route are two worth buying!

First… Old War Romance is the third studio album from Sea Wolf, an indie rock band from Los Angeles. You can preview the entire album at SeaWolfMusic.com.

Second… Nashville synthpop rockers, Paper Route, released their second studio album, The Peace of Wild Things.  They headline tonight at The Masquerade in Atlanta and open for Mutemath and Switchfoot on separate tours this fall.

New Music: Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics, Two Gallants and The Sheepdogs

This week’s top 3 new releases are also three artists from our top 9 local shows to see in Atlanta this month.

First… It’s About Time by Atlanta’s own Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics.  Ruby says she grew up listening to Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding and It’s About Time is obviously influenced by those same soulful sounds of the 50’s and 60’s.

Second…  The Blight and The Bloom by San Francisco’s Two Gallants.  Available on ATO Records, The Blight and The Bloom, is this folk-punk duo’s 4th studio album, offering a mix of mellow tunes and raw, scrappy blues rock.

Third…  The Sheepdogs by Saskatchewan, Canada’s The Sheepdogs.  Their 4th studio album, produced by Patrick Carney of The Black Keys, has a sweet southern rock sound, reminiscent of the classic rock bands of the 60’s and 70’s.

New Music (Part 2): Rayland Baxter and Chilly Gonzales

“Album of the Week” belongs to David Ramirez (see post), but with three great albums released this week, I’ve separated them into two posts.  This is part 2:

Feathers and FishHooks is the debut album from Nashville’s Rayland Baxter.  Earlier this summer, he played at 99X’s Unplugged in the Park at Park Tavern and luckily for Atlanta, he’s returning October 6th…  opening for Grace Potter & the Nocturnals at The Tabernacle! (tickets)

“Love is all I have to give.  Won’t you tell me you’re the one for me?”

Last, but not least, is Solo Piano II by Chilly Gonzales.  Also known for his electronic albums, including the hit single “Never Stop” in 2010, Gonzales follows the success of 2004’s Solo Piano with an equally impressive sequal.  He also collaborates with Feist often and plays piano on one of my favorite recent discoveries, Multiply, a soulful and funky album by Jamie Lidell.

Live Video: “Minor Fantasy”

New Music: David Ramirez Opens Up His Heart with Apologies

Everyone can relate to heartache and pain and if there has ever been an album to demonstrate those feelings, it is Apologies by David Ramirez.

On his 2nd full-length album, Ramirez truly pours out his heart and the transparency is clear on every track.  After traveling nonstop for years, he wonders if he’s chasing or being chased and longs for the day someone tells him to “Stick Around.”  He expresses his lack of faith on “An Introduction” when he cries “tell me where to find the Lord” and on “Chapter II,” he struggles to realize that the strength he needs is already inside himself.

When “listening to Apologies, one feels as if they are being given candid look at the most vulnerable parts of Ramirez’s soul,” says Ryan Bort at Paste Magazine.  The songs have “brutally honest lyrics that bring new meaning to some of life’s most difficult questions.” (read Bort’s review here.)

If you’re experiencing a heavy heart, be not dismayed.  The final track gives us hope to “Find the Light.”

“I wish upon you a brave heart, that will always rise above.  But most of all I wish upon you love…  As the sun sets, the moon begins to rise.  So even in the darkness, you’ll find the light.”

British Invasion? The Heavy + Bloc Party = New Albums of the Week

I find myself listening to artists from the UK, Australia and Canada as much, if not more than artists from the U.S.  Now, I’m not here to debate which continent is producing the best music, and I’m probably exaggerating, but I would love to see some data to back up my claim.  Hmm… maybe there’s an app for that?  Either way, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my first “Album of the Week” and first runner-up are both from across the pond.  Unfortunately, neither one has added Atlanta to their tour yet.

“Album of the Week” belongs to English soul-rockers, The Heavy.  Following the success of “How You Like Me Now?” and the band’s first two studio albums, The Glorious Dead brings an even heavier mix of rock, funk, soul and R&B.  Sarah Grant, at Consequence of Sound, describes it as “a clutch blues-rock record.”  Regarding the first single (below), she continues, “…when assisted by divine Georgian gospel singers, the call-and-response refrains come on like a southern gothic opera. No doubt, Dan Auerbach will be peeling the gold off his ceiling every time it plays.” (read her review here.)

Official Video:  “What Makes a Good Man?”

Runner-up “Album of the Week” belongs to London, England’s Bloc Party.

Official Video: “Octopus”