Reason To Believe – The Songs of Tim Hardin

“Reason To Believe – The Songs of Tim Hardin” is the forthcoming tribute album which will be released on 28th January 2013 featuring contributions from the likes of Mark Lanegan, Smoke Fairies and more.

Tim Hardin made his name in 1960s folk scene. However, he only really gained critical acclaim from his fellow peers as his music was considered too pop or commercial for folk traditionalists and much too serious and sincere for the pop scene. With a musical catalogue that has been covered by a wide range of numerous artists including Johnny Cash, Robert Plant, Kula Shaker, Echo & The Bunnymen and Marianne Faithfull, Tim Hardin is regarded as one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived. His life was tragically cut short at the age of 39 after a heroin dose in 1980.

Mark Lanegan, former vocalist of both Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age, covers one of my favourite songs of all time “Red Balloon” for the forthcoming tribute album. Speaking to Rolling Stone, Lanegan discussed his appreciation for Tim Hardin, “I’ve always been haunted by the devastating voice and beautiful songs of Tim Hardin. I can’t imagine anyone else hearing him and not feeling the same.”

Listen to Mark Lanegan’s cover of “Red Balloon” below which remains true to the original.

And also listen to the Smoke Fairies’ exquisite cover of Tim Hardin’s most well known track “If I Were a Carpenter.”

Review: Hiva Oa – Badger / Urban

Electrical and chemistry changes are telling your brain to try and process ‘Badger’ but let yourself immerse in it. I haven’t heard many artists taking the opposite direction from shoegaze, lo-fi pop this year, Hiva Oa certainly have. It feels like ‘Badger’ was conjured up in an abandoned chemistry lab, were once a crazed scientist taunted the musical mind. Take any musical sensibilities you had and throw them in the bin. The heartbeat sitting in the background, synchronized chaos chopping from deep classical instruments, harmless synths adding an extra layer rather than being used to construct the song. The whole track builds a mountain worth of momentum the whole way through, the haunting vocals channel you away from what you expected to be a drawn out intro. Then the last minute of the track is all that momentum released with precision timing. You don’t get to choose how you feel about Badger it chooses the emotion for you.

Then in walks in an acoustic track, which is the last thing you expect to come through that open door. Two tracks just showing how diverse Hiva Oa are. From intense noise generation to a laid back acoustic track the calm after the storm rather than before. The heavy breathing at the start touching on a raw acoustic vibe, repetitive guitar, textured with some unidentifiable chimes and again the use of classical instruments, brings a real sense of intrigue and fixation. A perfect storm for an acoustic track executed perfectly.

Listen: Widowspeak – “The Dark Age”

From the windy, wishful and careless vocals, which wave in and out. The undeniably dream-pop guitars flourish and texture perfectly with the occasional strike through of some fretboard action to remind you this isn’t just album filler but a strong statement of a single. There is nothing dark age about this. Taken from ‘Almanac’, which is due for release on January 22nd via Captured Tracks.

I Dream in Colour – It’s Christmas Time (Don’t Let It Go To Waste)

So it’s nearing that time of year where everything gets dead jolly. All the kids are buzzing for the arrival of Santa Claus and all the parents are fretting whilst comparing their children’s vast Christmas list to their monthly bank balance. Also at this time of year, some bands step up to the plate and release a Christmas song and this year it’s I Dream in Colour’s turn.

Having began an ‘Advent Calendar’, where they are releasing new things every day up until Christmas I had wondered if a song of this nature was on the cards and low and behold in appeared. ‘It’s Christmas Time’ is a delightful little tune that really captures the essence of Christmas, instead of sugar coating it with Santa and reindeer references they’ve went straight and narrow and wrote about a standard family Christmas, and it works.

Of course, there is a vein of Christmas spirit that plateaus this song, on it’s release on the 17th December (selling for a mere £1 exclusively via their BandCamp page) all proceeds will go to charity; Crisis at Christmas. Here’s a little information on that: Crisis at Christmas provide vital services for homeless people in the UK, giving them somewhere to go on Christmas day, providing them with a hot meal, access to a dentist, access to an optician, help and advice and a sense of community.

So along with releasing another stellar song the IDIC guys are really getting into the Christmas spirit of giving, a beautiful sentiment.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/idreamincolourband

To Kill A King – Ralph’s Balcony – The Collection

Ralph’s Balcony – The Collection, the 19-track splendour is for a very good cause. All proceeds from the album will go to charity and a very good one at that, London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. Which if you didn’t know is dedicated to treating very sick children and finding the new and best ways to treat childhood illnesses.

A collaboration from Bastille, Emily Wood, The Title Sequence, Youth Imperial, Professor Penguin, and We Were Evergreen. The sessions which were filmed over the last year, concluded with track ‘Choices’, which features all of the artists that took part in the sessions. Recorded in Ralph Pelleymounter’s flat (To Kill A King frontman). The tracks are live recordings taken from the Ralph’s Balcony sessions, which featured all the artists from above.

Introducing Jade Hopcroft

With vocal and musical comparisons to the likes of Laura Marling and First Aid Kit, there is no doubt that the Cornwall born singer-songwriter is destined for bigger things.

Having performed at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton and being named “Artist of the Week” by PRS Magazine, Jade Hopcroft has acquired a gradually increasing following and is set to release her debut single “Saint” on 19th November 2012 through LFC Records.

At the age of just 24, Hopcroft displays a considerable degree of maturity and sincerity in her music. Her debut “Saint” showcases her impressive vocal talent which, at times, is reminiscent of a young Joan Baez and a musical instrumentation that is simple yet quite touching. “Saint” immediately captivates the listener with its heart felt folk arrangement and lyrics that would be appropriate for a Fleetwood Mac serenade. Overall, Hopcroft has delivered a strong debut.

Jade Hopcroft’s debut single “Saints” will be released via Laissez Faire Club (The Static Jacks, Channel Cairo, Jake Mattison) on 19th November 2012.

Civil Wars @ The O2 Academy

The Civil Wars are an American Grammy award winning duo, namely Joy Williams and John Paul White, and whose debut album “Barton Hollow” was released in 2011.

The sold out venue seemed to surprise the duo, who were genuinely appreciative of their perhaps overwhelming reception. After a lengthy opening set from the Lumineers, the Civil Wars appeared on stage armed with nothing but a range of acoustic guitars and harmonious voices. A personal highlight for me was their rendition of “Sour Times” by Portishead; a complete blast from the past to say the least and an excellent cover.

“You guys have been raucous in the right places, and could let a pin drop in others.”

Their Nashville roots were conveyed through their assured and, at times, humble stage presence. This was evident when they delivered powerful renditions of “Barton Hollow”, “Poison & Wine” and “Forget Me Not”. After a thunderous encore call, the duo appeared once more and closed the show with their critically acclaimed cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. There is no question that Williams and White share a glorious musical bond that other song-writing partnerships aspire to and this is made clear through their music and live performances.

The only negative aspect of the night was the stage lighting. At the risk of sounding like a killjoy, I and other attendees who had balcony seating were, at times, blinded profusely but overall, it was a good gig.

The Civil Wars are currently on tour throughout the UK with support from the Lumineers.