ALASCA Actors & Liars (IRL)
AlascA are a four piece based near Amsterdam consisting of Frank Bond (vocals, guitars, bass) , William Bond (harmonies, keys), Ferdinand Jonk (harmonies, banjo, 12-string) and Louis van Sinderen).
Endorsed as ‘magical’ by fellow countryman and legend Jan Akkerman, and produced by Grammy award winning engineer and producer Alan Branch (U2, Jeff Beck, Yusuf Islam, Blur, Nine Inch Nails) their debut album ‘Actors & Liars’ peaked at #9 in the Dutch charts the week after release and stayed in the top 50 for a further six weeks.
And it’s not difficult to see why it’s received such acclaim at home – eminently listenable, it’s impeccably played, sung and produced, skipping effortlessly from intimate singer songwriter numbers to bombastic rock infused folk.
But at heart it’s very fine indie-folk – fresh and vibrant with glorious harmonies, atmospheric and uplifting. Be that as it may, an absence of an obvious pigeon hole sadly makes it difficult to see ‘Actors & Liars’ as a vehicle for a major breakthrough beyond their home shores. Nevertheless, it’s a glistening debut. ***
JIMMY BREWER As Time Stands Still
One of the chosen artists to represent their home town on Joan Armatrading’s 2012 UK tour, Jimmy Brewer is no typical acoustic troubadour.
His debut release is an eclectic collection of 12 diverse songs written over the past year and a half and mostly recorded in a dairy farm in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. The idea was to create an album if ups and downs, with a two-sided feel.
Secluded and free of distractions the result is a mournful set but quite why the current singer songwriter genre thinks it’s ‘cool’ to croon in a lazy sleepwalking drawl is a mystery. Thankfully, Brewer merely demonstrates he’s as capable as the rest in that department and for the most part sets his stall out as an engaging story teller.
Perhaps not the most technically gifted of singers and covering a wide variety of genres, his witty observational humour and humble approach will strike a chord with many listeners and work well in the live environment. Fragile and confessional, ‘As Time Stands Still’ is a calling card. Whether he can take it to the next level will be in the lap of the Gods. ***
CHRISTA COUTURE The Living Record (One Foot Tapping Records)
Personal tragedies have been the focus of Christa Couture’s previous releases – in particular her last album ‘The Wedding Singer and the Undertaker’ (2008).
Since then life’s continued to be cruel, but the Vancouver based singer songwriter has found a new optimism in recording her latest release ‘The Living Record’. Heartbreak, in the form of an ended affair is turned into bittersweet memories on ‘Goof Bayou’, while the infectious ‘Pussycat Pussycat’ recalls memories of carefree days in London 10 years ago.
With a vulnerable vocal style not a zillion miles removed from that of Tori Amos, and an eclectic range of styles – from country, folk, Cajun and roots to country rock – it’s a beautifully orchestrated and intimate set that fans of female singer songwriters who sit just left of centre – the likes of Amos, Regina Spektor, Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette – would be well advised to explore ***
Reviews by Pete Whalley
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 21 February, 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT
More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 9 February 2021.
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Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)
Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights
ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter
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