The NBTMusicRadio Fantastic Themed Hours ONE

Mood Swing Cool Club
9 PM Berlin Time( 8 PM UK 3 PM New York Time)
all the very best Jazz and blues and beyond. from roots music as far back as the 20s and 30s to the latest experiments within the form.
Featuring :
Little Junior Parker, Louis Batey,Elmore James,Barbara Gilles, Carla Thomas, Albert King, Larrisa and the Raindogs, Thelonious Monk, Ike and Tina Turner, Sonny Terry and Brownie Mcghee, Romina Di Gasbarro, Tom Rodwell and Storehouse, Chet Baker, Little Willie John, Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons, Kate Campbell, The Great Recession Orchestra,Nico Wayne Toussaint, Oscar Peterson, Otis Rush, John Coltrane, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Marshall Lawrence, Dave Brubeck, Little Milton, Gene Allison, DC Clark, The Adrienne Hindmarsh Trio, Tiffany Tatum, Cassandra Wilson, Herbie Hancock, Robert Wyatt, Sophie Durnier, Gordon Bonham, Pretty Things, Hank Williams, Coleman Hawkins, Doc Watson, Bobby Soulsby, Odetta, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Wynonie Harris,Bunny Berrigan, Stan Getz, Sun Ra, Junior and the Saharas, Little Esther,Bukka White, Howling Wolf, Josh White, Sarah Vaughan, Glen Miller, John Lee Hooker, Maria Rylander, Doug Prescott, Robert Johnson, Ruth Copeland, Julia Lee, Max Carmichael, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Sonny Boy Williamson, Eddie Mack, Robert Johnson, Steven Caspar and Cowboy Angst, Art Tatum, Mississippi John Hurt, Ali Farke Toure, La Lupe, Carmel, Soul Continentals, James Brown and the Famous Flames, Cab Calloway, Amadou and Mariam, Rufus Thomas, Lenelle Moise, Meredith Monk, Jack Sheldon, John Zorn, Wilson Simonal,Keith Jarrett, Barbara Gilles, John Fahey, Big Mama Thorton, Buddy Guy,
and MUCH Much More
http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
TuneIn (for blackberry and android):NBTMusicRadio
iTunes: Click on ‘Advanced’ then ‘Open Stream’
and paste: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u
stream thru your Media Player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

The Free Anton/Manu/Jim/Clare Podcast

1st_May_NBT_Special_2011

Click on the Picture to take you to the NBT Player/channel

This very special music podcast has been set up to raise awareness about the missing journalists in  Libya.

Durban-based multimedia artist Helge Janssen did the Free Anton graphic

The artists/Musicians featured care about the freedom of the press, of expression and for human rights.

Free Anton

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-photographer-Anton-Hammerl/180764838637385

Free Manu

http://www.facebook.com/FREEManuBRABO

Free Jim/Clare

http://www.facebook.com/FreeFoley

Free Clare

http://www.facebook.com/freegillis

The petition: Your signature will be delivered to:

Gov. of Libya, the US State Department, the Foreign Ministries of Spain and South Africa

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/free-captured-American-journalists/

In Order Of Appearance:

Xtranjera

Danika Homes

A Hawk In The Rain

My Goodness

Jozi

Abstract Ninos

Fistos

Crosstown Fire

Jean Montag

88KOS

Beth Wimmer

Live Jimi Presley

Rune Martinsen

VBI

Tokyo Rosenthal

Kara McGraw

Gosteffects

The NBT Review 117

Evi Vine reviewed by Martin Smit

Muffled Shine reviewed by Cobus Rossouw

 And So The Morning Comes – Evi Vine (independent release)

 This is before sunrise music, those eternal minutes where the darkness fools you that It’s never gonna leave, but somehow the lamplight is losing it’s power to soothe or distort (was it ever comforting really?)

This is music floating in that waiting world, where hope is not quiet born and sister despair is not as charming as she was just a few hours ago.

This is intimate, just you and the singer, the music the cool air you breathe as you conduct this personal conversation. You cannot imagine studio or electrics, cables and buttons and mixing desks, you cannot imagine close ups of strings and bows and microphones. You’re too busy being IN the song and the singer and her music is too busy being IN you.

And yet.

That said, it is also music that makes you want to betray that privacy, the second it is done, and tell others, so that they too can be lost, just them and the singer.

So tell us about the music, you plead, well its stripped down Mazzy Star, its the most fragile blues, its those thoughts you had when you fell in love and you knew you would one day fall out of love.

It can make all the beauty in the world a lonely frightening thing but it can also softly urge you to keep dreaming to dare not wake up right now.

I had this vision that as the music drifted into a bus full of noise and chaos, one by one those that heard it closed their eyes, warped slightly out of focus, let go.

Stops were missed, timetables forgotten, the future became flexible.

It really was that simple.

http://www.evivine.com/

 Muffled Shine – Just (Independent Release)

 In 2003 Frédéric Chaubin began a journey to document some of the Soviet Union’s incredible architecture. I stumbled onto the story of this adventure together with a sample of some of the photographs (click on Frédéric’s name above) and was immediately struck by how the architecture somehow conveyed a sense of the Cold War era while being very distinct from what was created in the US. The buildings have a close, claustrophobic feeling; even as they stretch creativity far further than the West did (well, mostly).

When I first heard this EP from Muffled Shine it immediately brought back the images of those buildings. Landscapes of graceful emptiness filled with architectural displays that are brutal, yet harmonic and somehow triumphant. This is a personal reflection though, and while I am sure that we cannot escape the effects of our environment I am also sure that Muffled Shine intends far more with this EP than to depict a fascinating past.

Gregory Khanin & Dmitry Gubin create music that falls within the “Industrial”, genre but it would sell their EP, “Just”, short if you tried categorise it that strictly. The reason for this is that “Industrial” so often conjures up the idea of grinding discomfort, agitation, angst, whereas Muffled Shine have produced something that is reflective and meditative without being mawkish or overtly spiritual. This album will not make it into a Tibetan monastery, but if it did they’d learn something.

The music is so evocative that it transforms your local landscape. With autumn fast approaching in South Africa it metamorphosed afternoon traffic into an epic adventure, a slow progress to some homecoming, some imminent arrival. It is such a familiar feeling that I listened to the album three times in succession without once feeling like I’ve heard it before. (I knew I couldn’t find the words to describe this feeling, so I’ll settle for “nostalgia”).

Since receiving the album for review I have probably listened to it more than twenty times, and I could listen to it again, right now and I know I’ll be moved. I also know that I’ll be moved in a different way, and that it will provoke an emotional response. This is my album for contemplation, for deepening the world, for delving inside.

 http://muffledshine.bandcamp.com/

  Both Muffled Shine and Evi Vine will be featured on the NBT DarkElectric and Flagship Podcasts going out on the 29th and 30th March respectively

 and both are playlisted on the NBTMusic 24hour Radio

 http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/

 

The NBT Wonderful Ones 2010 Part Three Of Three

another hectic year another huge collection of new acts discovered. When i say new acts, well new to me, and  new to some listeners,though of course,  a lot of the bands and artists have been playing, creating for ages, making music that seduces and provokes and revigorates.

What was amazing for me , was the the sheer diversity of the tunes on offer, from ghostly industrial landscaping to tender folk ballads, from exuberant indie pop, to things full of complicated time changes and sneaky shifts.And what amazed me even MORE, was that even the most glittery pop concoction, or most basic lo fi rock out, all had  these things in common: passion, care and love.

These were NOT songs made by committee with one eye on sales and the other on offending no one. this was music made for the joy of it, sure the bands want to ‚‘make it‘ want to have that illusive hit, but its the song first, the hustle later. something the majors could learn from, (if they only stopped being so damn SCARED of the independents that is).

So ok.. here are the bands, singers, performers,labels, promoters that made this year even better than the last. ladies and gentle beings here in no particular order are this years Wonderful Ones.

Part One HERE

Part Two HERE

The NBT Visual Page can be seen HERE and HERE
Cassis and the Sympathies

Photographer, Film Producer, yes Cassis was all of these in 2010, but somehow she still found time to create a shivering set of electro songs steeped in the otherness of Europe and the cosiness of the States

Cassis in her own words:
2010 started great as Matt Keating and I went on tour together with Joerg Feyer: In 10 days to 6 countries driving 7500 km. It was one of the better tours I have experienced and comes right after touring with the local buses through Mexico.

At the end of the year I am excited to report that I have changed my location from Brooklyn to Berlin as I am writing the soundtrack for a German feature film for the next couple of months. I am working with the director, Catharina Deus for the third time on a film for major German TV, ZDF.

The Birmingham based Lantern Music team and I have started to collaborate on a new album for a band project called ‘A Hawk in the Rain’. We recorded for 5 days outside of Berlin at Jan Tilman Schades house, a successful composer and cellist known for his work with ‘Einstuerzende Neubauten. Just recently we continued to record in Leeds in an old church basement.
. Hopefully the film I am currently working on will come into the cinemas. And I will finish a new song CD. Yeah!

http://www.cassisvision.com/

Wartapes

this year wartapes built upon their identity, mixed the dreaming with the machine howl and cat-like scratched up against the listener. Was the purr of the tunes seductive or scary or both? Their song ‚‘Do You Ever Think Of Me‘ made it into the NBT top 20 trax of 2010.
http://www.facebook.com/wartapes


Bill Price
Master storyteller Price released his 5th Album in 2010, the beguiling ‚’With the Eye of a Skeptic & a Few Other Likely Stories‘ songs crafted from an acoustic base and coloured by a band of musicians totally in sync with the mood and aspirations of the artist.

Bill in his own words:

My latest album, “With the Eye of s Skeptic…”, was released at the tail end of 2009, so I spent most of 2010 trying to promote it. As I look back over the year, I am struck by how similar 2010 feels to the last four or five previous years – that is, full of frustration and yet plenty of progress as well. Frustration at trying to gain more exposure, play to bigger audiences, sell more CDs and keep up with the technology surrounding music promotion – all of which fall under the “business” side of music.

Yet, the progress was substantial. The new album got more positive reviews and airplay than any of my previous releases and I’ve finally gotten my web site to a level that I’m very pleased with. The other progress was purely artistic.

I feel the new album is as good or better than anything I’ve done. I’ve met and played with some new and amazing musicians, written new songs, performed at some new venues and had several very memorable shows. So as usual, the most satisfying results are things that have come from the creative and not the business part of what we do – the heart and not the head, you might say. But isn’t that what it’s all about? And isn’t that what this season reminds us all – that when we share what’s in our hearts, it brings out the best in us and all who surround us? Peace and best wishes to everyone for 2011. – bp
http://www.billprice.info/

Mike Petrone
what made Petrone‘s release (The Last Hundred Yards) so important was that it was a hip hop album without over inflated ego, and no bitterness and it dealt with something that meant life or death to many of its target audience, the personal experiences of a soldier fighting in Iraq. there was no granstanding or political powerplays within, just a honest lyrical stance on top of great beats.

http://mikepetronemusic.com/


Danika Holmes
Ms Homes was a glowing inspiration for those who wished to survive, not just the indie music world, but the obstacles that pop up during the course of our ‘ordinary‘ days. (no life can ever really be called ordinary can it)

Danika in her own words:
Thanks a lot for including me in the “wonderful ones” edition of the next big thing! There were definitely high and low points of 2010. Really, the best part of the year for me was releasing my debut cd and taking the jump into music full time! I had a fantastic cd release party and felt so lucky to have so much support from family, friends and even complete strangers!

Other high points of the year were recording and releasing my first music video and traveling to Los Angeles and Nashville for multiple business and creative opportunities. The human connections made face to face were great. We live in an online world today, but nothing beats face to face contact! And shows!!! Every show under my belt gave me one more opportunity to connect with someone new and I’m thankful for that.

Low point was the insane migraine I had flying on the red eye home from LA. My head hurts to even think about it now.

2011… ohh am I excited! We’re looking to do over 120 shows this year and spread our wings geographically. We’re excited to have joined the Abolitionist tour for its Midwest and Austin dates. The Abolitionist tour’s purpose is to raise awareness and funds for human trafficking issues.

Also, I’ve been writing a ton of new music lately and have been fortunate enough to meet some really great new co-writing partners from around the United States. I have a really fantastic team of people I’m working with on so many different levels. Be on the lookout for new music in 2011!

http://www.danikaholmes.com/

Anais Mitchell
nominated for a grammy, her folk opera Hadestown featured the cream of the alt country universe, here is what our writer Cobus Rossouw said about it:

Hadestown is also beautiful. This may not be a pre-requisite for everyone, but for this reviewer an aesthetically pleasing artwork is always preferable to a work that is provocative but not evocative. I could listen to Hadestown anywhere, in any company. It will reward the casual listener and the listener who wants, needs to be broadened.

A last word: If you love music then buy Hadestown right now. Buy Hadestown because you need to own it and praise the gods that Anais Mitchell is a musician and not a sculptor, because most of us would have to make do with a photograph of her work if the latter were true. Buy Hadestown because Mitchell and Chorney have earned the right to your money and your heart.

http://www.anaismitchell.com/

Small City Calling

In ‚’Castaways‘ the band created a mini indie pop classic and in their full length album,‘Oceanus‘ a journey well worth taking. the perfect escape.

http://smallcitycalling.com

Mach Fox
Prolific creator of so much digital music, the esteemed Mr Fox filled the internet airwaves with music that soundtracked the vibrations of future discos.

Mach Fox in his own words

he110 Martin & NBT readers/listeners -
thanx for supporting independent musics and including Mach FoX as one of the “Wonderful Ones” in 2010. Hope our music has entertained/interested and confused some of you.

2010 saw the release of the dark postpunk maxi-single “Nu Dead Pretty” along with some re-releases and “The Sky Is Falling” EP in December by independent German netlabel afmusic and available as FREE legal downloads under Creative Commons License.

You can expect more releases in 2011, including an alternate version of “The Sky Is Falling” EP mixed/remixed by Swedish music Producer Planktoon, and another slab of electronic tinged gothrock from Mach FoX and his fantastic creatures. If you’re visiting Mach FoX’s universe for the first time make sure you come armed with a twisted psyche.

The Sky Is Falling  released 12/07/2010 by afmusic under Creative Commons License- Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative

http://www.machfox.com


Peter Doran

what we said: He constructs a gentle swing, a love song simply (complicated), about the strength of love, then old fashioned piano ballad, with a skill an equal to those old Carpenters’ tracks composed by Paul Williams. Note here must be made of the soulful minimal production by Filippo Gaetani, never overusing orchestration, always adding just the right touch of drama and emotion
Peter In his own words:
Looking back now over the last year, I feel like it has been a very productive one… It was the year I recorded and released my second album. January started with ice & frost, but still we managed to get the wheels in motion for the recording of “Sleepless Street”.

Throughout this process, I have been very lucky to meet and work with some very talented people, some of whom, I now count among my very dearest friends. 2010 for me was littered with magical moments, too many to recount here! Recording guitars and vocals for the album with producer Filippo Gaetani in Italy and Vienna will always be special to me. I will always remember too, the late-night skype calls to Sweden with Marcus Gunnar Pettersson, as he skillfully brought the album artwork to life!
Since the album’s release in the middle of the year it has received glowing praise from listeners, bloggers and reviewers across the globe. My music has been played on internet radio and podcasts from America to Australia, and on terrestrial radio in Ireland. It is hugely rewarding to know people are responding to this record, and it gives me strength and encouragement to push on bravely into 2011. Next year I will continue to tour live and also begin writing songs for the 3rd album !
http://peterdoran.bandcamp.com/album/sleepless-street

Lenelle Moise
welcome the poet, the performer, the playwright to the nBt stage. politically and socially incisive, her album created with Karla Mosley, ‘The Expatriate Amplification Project ‚ celebrated the power of the female voice, both in a physical and intellectual way.

http://www.lenellemoise.com/

Rebecca Turner

For a change this is indie music that is positive, playful, joyful even.

Rebecca in her own words:

So many musical adventures in 2010! Some highlights for me were an “Exile on Main Street” tribute at a record shop called Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ; and gigs at the Presby Iris Garden and the Terra Tea Salon, both in lovely Montclair, NJ, growing center of hipness.

Lately it’s been harder to balance my day gig and my music, but yet it also feels more important than ever to heed the musical calling.

I love country music, and it’s been my dream to write a bunch of old-school country songs, maybe some that someone else might record. But I also still want to rock and be weird. So for my follow-up to “Slowpokes,” I’ve challenged myself to write a double CD, half of which’ll be purer country stuff, and the other half will be odder. The writing is maybe 1/20th done, but it’s starting to speed up!

PS, I can’t stop listening to the new record by The Autumn Defense.

http://rebeccaturner.net/

Carta Marina
a band that kept surprising us, starting a set with some exquisite modern college rock and then twisting our expectations with guitar ambience worthy of Mogwai. Their release End Of An Era really wasnt the end of anything but rather the beginning of a delightful sonic journey.

carta marina

Orange 1

the spirit of Tangerine Dream lives on!

Orange 1 creator Hans-Jörg Lorenz in his own words:

2010 was kind of calm! I had a CD  release in spring! The CD was ORANGE-1 2010 which is described as rich orchestrated with catchy beats& dreamy with swishy, swirling sounds that take you to far, distant places! Beautiful in sound! I released a second CD in November 2010! Thename is ORANGE-1  ORBITAL URBAN! It is described as to have sophisticated grooves & a fantastic atmosphere! I would describe it as futuristic, groovy & ambient!

http://orange-1.jimdo.com

Memphis Reigns

we said this about the EP Froghill Legend.‘We got to get these cats to start thinking outside of the box’ the fourth track, ‘Cloud Kingdom’ starts andthis is exactly why this music WORKS so damn well, I have said before and will say it again, what sets this collective apart is the willingness to skip the cliché, the easy formula that runs like a virus through much hip hop. Memphis Reignsstarts outside of the box, and seduces its way in. No pose no imagined chip on weak shoulders here.
Imagine Jay Z if he didn’t have to keep record executives happy while being chained to a idiotic Kanye West,imagine Eminem before he lost the plot and with a far broader love of the many tribes of music and you are only half way to catching on to this set’s charm.

http://www.myspace.com/mmechanics

Elika
this year was very much the year that dream PoP slipped into the mainstream‘s consciousness and Elika rode that wave with elegance and verve.

the band in their own words:

2010 has been a great year for us musically, but personally it was avery difficult.  Automatic Entertainment released our latest album”Snuggle Bunnies” in October.  We are proud of the record and believewe accomplished something really beautiful with the release.
In 2011 we are planning on playing more shows, finishing the recordingof our next album, and there might even be a tour or two squeezed inas well.  We are looking forward with hope.

http://elika.bandcamp.com/

Histrioniks

a band that never disapoints, real indie goodness, smatterings of 70s glam, 60s nuggets, dark Psychedelica and those undefinable strange things in the mood and the music that make them unique.

the band in their own words:
2010 was a particularly productive year for The Histrioniks. We released our fourth CD, “Camouflage Baby” on our own label, CatErratic Records. We were fortunate to get a publishing deal on our previous CD, “Thin” so hopefully the same will be true for “Camouflage Baby”.

In addition to significant internet radio we have received some very positive reviews including an exceptionally creative and poetic critique from Martin, our NBT master of ceremonies. The most played songs so far have been, “Hey Sincere”, “Interrupted Again” and “The Last Three Days”.

For 2011, The Histrioniks will work on a few new tracks but most of the energy will be devoted to The Thromboes new release. Both bands progress will be posted on our websites. We decided to send a demo version of “Forever Young” from our current release. This particular version was how we were originally going to do the song. It has a different lead vocal by Cat. The final version has more angst and is more spoken whereas this version is more flowing and pretty. Let us know what you think about the song and our new CD.

Feel free to write me and for sure friend us on myspace or our webpage. You can also find us on Facebook.

To all of our fellow NBT artists we wish you a Happy Holiday season and a prosperous and prolific musical 2011. Of course, as always, our sincere thanks to our friend Martin for making NBT possible.

http://www.thehistrioniks.com/

special mentions must be made of these acts/artist that i discovered after the deadline to this blog but i am sure we will hear a great deal from in 2011

Tallulah Rendall

MaCu

iCON

The NBT Review 105

Miriams Well Reviewed by Cobus Rossouw

Elika reviewed by Martin Smit

Snuggle Bunnies – Elika (Automatic Entertainment Records/Fiercely Independent Records)

We have already spoken about the opening Summer of static, a perfect gateway into this new collection of trembling tunes, so let’s be brave, add extra shivers to this white winter’s day and jump into the Stand Still.

A sound for when the war is just seconds over, when there is confusion about who won and who has been utterly defeated. This is the sound of the time before hope and just after despair.

This is a séance of song, bringing into the world the almost forgotten melodies that groups like ‘His Name Is Alive’ (when they were in bed with 4AD) concocted. This is gentle pushing against troubled pushing against anxiety. If those butterflies in our tummies were pop stars they would sound like this.

Which brings me to the haunting centrepiece, the Dark Side, a song that should live in a Japanese anime long lost, now
slipping into the daily subconscious.  A holy mix of Madonna slow dance and the chilliest of electro ambience, this is very much my song for December and beyond.

Like the best groups operating in the alternate universe these days,  instead of over production and more gloss, this band digs deeper into the internal, mines hidden subtleties, waits patient for the dreaming to come to them, then with comfort and agitation in equal measures, sends that dreaming back out to greet us.

Once again, a lovely release from Elika

http://elika.bandcamp.com/

Indians and Clowns – Miriams Well (Buckin Savior Records)

This latest release from Mir German and Mark Bowden is a hearty chunk of honesty. The songs are superbly crafted and there is not a single track that feels like it was added simply to flesh out an album to a required length.

Starting with the title track the album is clearly in country rock territory, although regular readers should not presume any of the usual thematic frailties that the genre often pursues without conscience. These are songs with greater messages than the obvious, adding a conscious voice to country rock that is all too often missing. This is a band that thinks, a band that believes and this comes through in the songs.

Reading through press the band has received much is made of German’s vocal talents. She has a remarkable voice which is distinctive and will lend the band a signature that will make a Miriam’s Well tune instantly recognisable. I would however add that this album also contains some of the wisest arrangement of instrumentation I have heard this year and mention must
be made of the work the band has put in to give each song its appropriate due.

The country rock feel is expanded with guitars ranging into 70’s rock territory with riffs that could be pulled off any of Clapton’s
projects through to soulful horn sections that dip by turns into Vaya Con Dios and Motown. Indeed, there are almost too may references and touchpoints to mention, but what is remarkable for such a diverse musical statement is that it is coherent, beautiful and always stays true to those country roots, a feat that is rarely managed when bands spread their wings outside of their comfort zone.

There are stand out tracks, and I betray my love of American folk when I mention “Stay” and “Big House”, the latter matching sound protest with astute human observation. These tracks have me hooked but I can well imagine other listeners having other favourites, there’s something here for everybody.

http://www.miriamswellmusic.com/

hear tracks from these albums on the upcoming NBT podcast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

NBT now has a Facebook presence: please do go and ‘like’ the page

http://www.facebook.com/NBTmusicproject

The NBT Review 80

We are honoured to have Cobus Rossouw creator of Project Band 88 Kilos Of Sunshine write this Guest review for us.

Hadestown – Anais Mitchell (Righteous Babe)

Anaïs Mitchell’s Hadestown achieves several things that make it a candidate for album of the year and in my collection album of the decade.

In the first instance it is ambitious; a departure from normal fare that clearly indicates that commercial success is not the intention. It is a brave goal to adapt a Greek tragedy as an opera in a folk style. To then use this vehicle to exhibit talents and to ensure that it never becomes too highbrow to be accessible is a lofty ideal to reach for, but Ms. Mitchell sets forth to bring this masterwork to us.

Secondly, this ambition is successfully achieved in no uncertain terms. While the credit for the achievement must be shared I firmly believe that nothing comes without vision and so a lot of credit must go to Anaïs. To deliver such a project obviously requires the correct personnel and here special mention must be made of Michael Chorney, whose score tells the story brilliantly and matches the idiom without ever wavering or becoming contrived. By clever utilisation of different folk music forms he has managed to combine the words and music into clear messages, articulating meaning not only via the libretto but by style. To do this over 6 or 10 songs would be astounding, to do this over 20 songs speaks of a talent that deserves every accolade available. Suffice it to say that this writer cannot convey his gratitude in mere words.

This stunning excellence in staffing continues throughout, with Justin Vernon (Orpheus), Ani di Franco (Persephone), Greg Brown  (Hades) and Mitchell as Eurydice delivering each line with compelling conviction, imbuing their respective characters with the correct personification through their vocal talent.

Hadestown is also beautiful. This may not be a pre-requisite for everyone, but for this reviewer an aesthetically pleasing artwork is always preferable to a work that is provocative but not evocative. I could listen to Hadestown anywhere, in any company. It will reward the casual listener and the listener who wants, needs to be broadened.

 A last word: If you love music then buy Hadestown right now. Buy Hadestown because you need to own it and praise the gods that Anais Mitchell is a musician and not a sculptor, because most of us would have to make do with a photograph of her work if the latter were true. Buy Hadestown because Mitchell and Chorney have earned the right to your money and your heart.

http://www.anaismitchell.com/

Listen to tracks from this release on the NBT Podcast going out on the 29th July 2010

http://traffic.libsyn.com/nextbigthing/5th_august_NBT.mp3

The NBT Review 79

Chocolate Paper Suites – Krista Detor (Tightrope Records)

It was tempting to get all theoretical on your ass for this, to pull out my battered vinyl copy of Dylan Thomas reading a Child’s Christmas In Wales and Do Not Go gentle.. Or mull over again the mystery and sadness of how politics killed a Poet close to a Fountain of Tears, but I am, like most good listeners that will hear this collection, simply just an intelligent savage, and it is what the music and the words give to me that is important, not the brilliant inspiration for their creation.

I noted too, that the fact that these songs are animated by Lorca, Thomas and Darwin amongst others is only mentioned in the various press releases and not on the album itself. So as they say wherever good music is on trial ‘let the songs speak for themselves’

The first suite ‘Oranges Fall Like Rain’ pushes open sudden storm like, questions shudder against descriptions and the lonely brooding strings blow and wrap around the vocals ever surging forward.

The singer, the storyteller has a gift for noticing the small things, the colour of things, making these scenes live vibrant. The suite continues with dreamy piano, creating an underwater tension, the story (not the song) speeds up, the colours agitated now, there is a riot of the senses going on and it is beautiful, intensified in the third section as the singer drifts from distant to harmonic intimate.

The ‘Night Light’ begins with a slow dancing to wounded genius jazz, there is Love here, unfiltered, unashamed of how frail it may be,  this is how the world listens, that world above your rooftop, that world beyond your fence.

From this the focus shifts subtly, the warmth is gently danced away and the moon, slightly cold but swinging sweetly sets the singer apart from her previous affection. We are now there in black and pinpoint white star night, alluring sure, the now of the Dazzling has changed for the thoughtfulness of tomorrow and what it may bring.

The Bass burps into the third suite the ‘Madness Of Love’ these are hours made giddy with coffee, cigarettes and dangerous emotional chemicals, the journey here is from crush to anger (held in) to contempt and finally stopping at a weary kind of regret. Perhaps this singer knows the one deep truth, that try as we might, these journeys will take place within our life, again and again.

The fourth suite is perhaps my favourite ‘cause I too have played that dream game of wishing to have more time or replay time to want to rewrite a history of a love affair, the way I do a piece of fiction, in fact what good listener hasn’t? But the singer here doesn’t stop with this, she shifts her attention to a conversation between two souls who know or at least can guess (pretty damn well) each others moods and thoughts. Intricate love songs if you will. This is ‘By Any Other Name’

The bonus suite  ‘Darwin Song House’  (including an absolutely stunning live rendition of ‘Clock Of The World’ with guest vocals by Karine Polwart, Emily Smith and Rachael Mcshane) cleverly captures the emotions , fears and admiration of both Darwin’s detractors and those who found comfort in his beliefs. The singer ends the album with a Lullabye, a wife telling a loved one to forget the battle for now and let the profound pure love of a father for his daughter take over.

This album is inspiring, human, and full of wonder. One of the best sets of the year.

http://www.kristadetor.com

Catch Tunes from the Album on the NBT podcast going out on the 22nd July 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of the Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

  (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

   A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here:

                                      http://nbttopten.podbean.com/

The NBT Review 78

Ghosts Of Radio – Patrick Bloom (Mud Dauber Records)

Listen deeper, closer.  At first it is just this gentle country swing, somewhere between a slow spin between old lovers and a prelude to a giddy Saturday night shindig. Then the tale of this broken( but not defeated) survivor comes into focus. Once a prisoner of both his fragile mind and government institutions this is a song of escape from the chill into the warmth of an ambiguous Minnesota.

Even though, as I listen, I think that this journey is towards the conclusion of this man’s story, the feeling of hope, of release, of peace, shines oh so brightly.

Patrick Bloom creates a cast of quiet eccentrics who he has a great deal of affection and empathy for. Most are indeed Ghosts, fading in and out of family and our ‘normal’ day to day strivings. These are nostalgic, wishful creatures, the blur in the photo, and the crackle on the radio, the voice in the creak of a chair or the turn of a smile.

This is time travel, history told without bombast and an eye on the personal, the tears are in the details, the joy in the simple effective sketches and descriptions. It is roots music about America but so well constructed and felt that anyone anywhere can relate, can be touched.

The musicians share the songwriter’s communion with his stories and Bloom produces the collection with restraint and elegance, (the subtle use of brass on Red Dodge Dart in a very ‘The Band’ way is a particular delight.)

What is unique about this album is that it’s about how these ghosts BECOME ghosts, Bloom seems to capture the moment of flight from this troubled world out, away into a better place. This perhaps is a collection of goodbyes, but devoid of bitterness. The dying here is natural, even wanted, not with fear not with hopelessness, but a reward for hard lives lived full.

This is not about giving up, giving in, but rather acceptance.

Highly moving and beautiful.

http://www.patrickbloom.com

Catch Tunes from the Album on the NBT podcast going out on the 22nd July 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of the Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

  (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

   A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here:

                                      http://nbttopten.podbean.com/

The NBT Review 77

Heavy Water Experiments – Heavy Water Experiments (Intrepid Sound Recordings)

Sometimes the elements connect in just the right way and surround the listener with the right mood, environment, in which better to discover new music. Today as I explore this collection, the heat wave pulses, the road works outside shake and shout, in fact the whole damn day positively VIBRATES as I press play.

Welcome to the disturbance, it’s going to be a fine ride indeed.

This is the sound of a mirage, gentle shimmer of unreality, then that heat (now here in the speakers) explodes outwards, the dream figures melt, the colours collide, mesh frantic, the drums tiptoe up top the flames, and the song settles into an agitating lullaby. The vocals shift into focus, the harmonies subtle, and within all this fine magic, pop melodies strain against the ‘difference’.

Like a storm sneaking into the glare of a summer’s day, this band thrives on the ambiguity of it all, glorious messy mix of the chaos in the Jam and the structure of the song craft.

They let the instruments roar, and sing as people used to flying, finding the swoops and danger above somehow calming. There is a scent of the Psychedelic madness here, a tension grown from the soon to be freedom of the willfully frantic.

It is a place where the ghost of a traffic jam is filtered over the serenity of a deep forest, where the grit and grandeur of a festival edging into sunset along the howls of guitars is superimposed over forgotten photos of homes long lost by destructive lovers.

Never clumsy enough to be mistaken for simple hard rock, never bland enough to please those that seek the new age as a refuge from the difficult, it is an invitation to let go, to ride the hallucination bare back, to get fierce, to go crazy.

A LOT to discover here.

http://www.heavywaterexperiments.com/

Catch Tunes from the Album on the NBt podcast going out on the 8th July 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of the Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

  (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

   A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here:

                                      http://nbttopten.podbean.com/

The NBT Review 74

Laptop Campfire Speed – Marco Mahler (Independent Release)

Imagine sitting, as passenger, behind your beloved as they hurtle down the highway on their seemingly ancient motorbike. You have a worn hand held camera and you are making movies of all that slides past.

This is the soundtrack to that surreal blur.

Here the strange things, the dark even disturbing things, are camouflaged by the twinkled reflection of shiny minimalist pop, the hushed voice comforts, seduces, distracts, and  the weird is natural now, the abstract makes sense.

This music is as honest as architecture made for function and as a gift; it has that throb about it only found in CDs like this and airports at 3 am in the morning. It is a little girl turning cartwheels for her mother (the giddy chaos of her perceptions stretched, slowed down, made melodic) and the thoughts of that lover holding on tight and capturing the journey as you ride.  

Sometimes, the structure closes into the conventional, although of course that’s a Lou Reed late Saturday night conventional, that ambiguous drift from detached observer to a wry empathy, so that if you are working (for example typing frantic as I am now) and listening, suddenly the song stops being background, kinda demands you stop what you are doing, and focus on what you are hearing instead.

The composer trusts in the coziness of repetition , these are modern blues songs for the TV channel surfer ,as I flipped through endless variations of BBC One,( Ireland, Whales, London and so on) the staggered peculiar slide of the narrative reminded me stronglyof the Mahler song ‘I’ll Just Find A Million Other Things To Do.’’

Yes, this is yet another collection to treasure and to live with.

http://www.marcomahler.com/

You can hear Songs from this album on the NBT Podcast going out on the 30th June 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of the Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

  (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

   A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here:

                                      http://nbttopten.podbean.com/