Roo & the Howl – Me/We

rooandthehowlSo I have a habit of clicking on the supporters of an album to see their collection, something I’m sure we all do. I tend to be more interested in people whose taste only vaguely corresponds with that of my own, because that’s a way of seeing through a window I wouldn’t have otherwise looked through. And by doing that, I listened to Roo & The Howl, a great artist name by almost any standards you can possibly care to mention.

For reasons I’m not entirely sure of, I haven’t listened to much music lately. What I have listened to hasn’t formed any coherent thread, either. Even so, a very tastefully produced country flecked indie-americana album would not have been high on my list of suspects as ‘worth dusting off my blog’ for.

If you imagine a mellower, country-er Heron Oblivion then you’ll be getting somewhere close, at least given my very limited knowledge of this particular field, a limitation which makes it impossible to give you any further references. Maybe I’ll edit some in later.

I’m not sure if she’s got anything else coming as the website seems to have not been updated in a while, but if she does, I’ll be most interested in seeing which way she travels.

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Emma Ruth Rundle & Jaye Jayle – The Time Between Us

errnjjCollaboration / split releases can be a hit and miss affair, but when they work well, they are a joy to behold. They’re even better when they introduce someone to you who you wasn’t familiar with and now glad you are.

For me, that is Jay Jayle, which is not the name of the person but the entire outfit. Research tells me that this is the project of one Evan Patterson of the Young Widows.

This collaboration came about because both artists had songs leftover from their most recent releases, and decided to combine them onto a split release. Although they have different styles, said styles complement each other well. Emma Ruth Rundle’s songs are highly personal and emotionally charged, with a very late night feel to them. She’s really hard to put a label on and doesn’t really sound like anyone else that I’m aware of, and that’s a good thing. Jay Jayle is a more rootsy, alt-country-blues affair that likes to repeat the groove throughout the tune, reminding most of all of Little Axe, albeit without the samples, and that also is a good thing.

I had intended to do a post on Emma Ruth Rundle’s Some Heavy Ocean last year, but didn’t because it was such an interesting year (which I realise doesn’t tell you anything, but hey ho). Let it be known, however, that the album comes with a hearty recommendation. It contains some great tunes; the lady clearly knows her way around a song.

 

Karina Vismara – Casa del Viento

coverI’ve been reading Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits during my lunch breaks at work (a very good book, by the way, easy to get back into when I haven’t picked it up for a fortnight or more, but still with a phenomenal amount of depth to the narrative).Coincidentally, I’ve also discovered another South American person, this time a woman who plays guitar and sings excellent songs.

This is one of those really lazy ways of saying that I discovered a whole two artists based in South America and I think it’s a Thing. After all, it’s hardly the first time I’ve found artists from the continent that do good things to my soul (Jodorowsky, Borges, Os Mutantes, Coelho, Rakta… and they’re just the ones off the top of my head as I sit at the usual enquiry desk at work…) But actually, there is a similarity of atmosphere, in a way I cannot possibly put into words. (sidebar: does something exist if there isn’t a word for it?)

Karina Vismara is a singer-songwriter from Argentina who seems unreasonably young for one with such music, though I say that with admiration rather than envy. Her voice is strong and expressive, and her guitar playing is seriously good with some gorgeous passages of droney finger picking finding their way into the songs.

The opener, Tied up Tight actually puts me in mind somewhat of Led Zeppelin’s Battle of Evermore. Also you might want to consider Joni Mitchell. Most of the references I could think of (they always leave my head when I sit in front of a blank blog post) also date from the late 60s/ early 70s folk revival. And of course, she’s from the same country as the wonderful Juana Molina, who you know all about, obviously.