Tracks Of The Week 03.01.13

Cousins, Reece Donahue and Christopher Prudhomme (aka Painted Palms) have always been set on creating music together, regardless of how far away they have been from one another. Their debut album – ‘Forever’ – although recorded whilst Donahue and Prudhomme were within close vicinity of each other, retains an air of distance between the two: Donahue would send short looping beats to his cousin, who would reply with vocal melodies. ‘Here It Comes’, the first single to be taken from the album, is a twinkly, cheerfully catchy track with jingle-jangle melodies and buoyant beats. Listening to this wonderfully floaty number, you get the feeling you’re twirling around on a carousel in a blissfully trippy daze. But without all the usual bumps of dodgy fairground rides.

‘Here It Comes’ is a perfect amalgamation of psychedelic ‘60s pop with the latest electronic production. Thank you, Painted Palms, for getting 2014 off to an optimistic start.

The band’s debut full length for Polyvinyl, “Forever”, will be out January 13th in the UK.

Having toured with the likes of PJ Harvey and John Doe, and having recorded for Jack White’s Third Man Records, Tom Brosseau is fast gaining the reputation as North Dakota’s finest troubadour. His new album, ‘Grass Punks’, is his first solo release in five years and looks set to tug at the heart strings in all the right ways. Opening track ‘We Were Meant To Be Together’ is an emotive, poetically crafted thing of beauty.

With folk inspired roots, hints of Americana and simply breathtakingly raw vocals, ‘We Were Meant To Be Together’ is a perfectly pretty antidote to wash away any of those January blues that may be lurking.

‘Grass Punks’, Brosseau’s seventh studio album, is out on 20th January via Tin Angel Records, and he is set to tour the UK this year.

Hailing from Hull, indie outfit – Life – deliver infectious melodies with rocking riffs. Their debut, ‘I Wanna Forget’, received acclaim in abundance from the likes of 6Music, XFM and Amazing Radio. Their latest offering, ‘Crawling’, retains all the energetic buzz of the previous single and is fused with punk-inspired refrains and pumping bass lines.

‘Crawling’ is a catchy, uptempo slice of groovy indie-rock full of frenzied youthful rebellion, impressive hooks and endearing optimism. The best thing to come out of Hull since… Philip Larkin? And certainly a lot more uplifting.

I first fell in love with Nathaniel Rateliff back at the 2012 Cambridge Folk Festival. As he delivered an impassioned set of acoustic goodness, I found myself utterly captivated by his anguished howls and skilfully executed raw RnB. And, upon listening to his new album, ‘Falling Faster Than You Can Run’, it seems he hasn’t lost any of his appeal.

Album opener, ‘Still Trying’, begins the theme of soulfully philosophical ponderings and emotive reflections delivered with beguiling pained vocals, accompanied by rich acoustic guitar and sparse bass lines. With a Van Morrison-esque quality, there’s something about Rateliff’s vocals that I find deeply affecting; listening to ‘Still Trying’, one can’t help but empathise with the sentiment and embrace it with open arms, comforted by being able to relate to such a heartfelt work of art.

Whilst emotive and self-reflective, however, Rateliff manages to escape becoming soppy or self absorbed. He retains an endearing honesty and poetic skill that leave him in a category of his own, well apart from the likes of – say- Mumford And Sons. So, definitely worth a listen if you too are ready for some emotional penetration.

‘Falling Faster Than You Can Run’ is out on Mod y Vi Records/Thirty Tigers records now.

Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.