Tag Archives: ben howard

Ben Howard New Face of the Totnes Pound Note

ben howard 2

When British folk musician was first contacted about having his face on local currency, he was initially wary of the concept. “When I was first asked there was definitely half of me thinking ‘that’s an amazing idea’ and the other half of me thinking ‘that’s a terrible idea’. But they persevered with keeping in touch with me, and I’m very proud to be part of the whole project to be honest” Ben announced at a ceremony where the new currency was revealed.

Howard is just one of several notable faces to be features on the local currency. Others include Charles Babbage, Mary Wesley, and Dorothy Elmhirst.

Leave a comment

June 2, 2014 · 8:08 pm

Three Artists We’re Eagerly Waiting for to Release New Albums

by Cherie

Laura Marling

Image

One of the things I admire most about Laura Marling is her work ethic. She never slows down, never stops to take a breath. Music is her passion, and her impressive catalog is evidence of that. At just twenty-four she already has four albums under her belt and she was signed as a solo artist at the young age of 17. Marling is constantly composing new songs, not all of which make it onto her albums. She can also boast an impressive collection of unrecorded songs that live on thanks to the internet and youtube. She’s not afraid to play the rough versions of songs live either, and it’s interesting to trace the evolution of her songs through those live performances. The first four tracks off of her most recent album, Once I Was an Eagle, were originally written as four separate songs, all of which she performed live before making them into one long medly for the album. Marling doesn’t need a long period of time between albums, either. Her second album, I Speak Because I Can, was released in 2010 and she released her third, A Creature I Don’t Know, just one year later. Marling has stated that she is working on her fifth album, and hopes to be finished before Christmas, though no official date has been set as of yet. It’s been fascinating to trace her growth as a musician over the course of her four albums and her latest has been considered by critics to be her best work yet. It’s a stunning masterpiece of elegantly crafted music and one can only wonder what Marling will come up with next.

 

Ben Howard

Image

Rarely does a debut album blow me away. There’s a lot of really good debut albums out there, but usually an artist has a lot of growing to do before they can really impress me. Not so with Ben Howard. Howard’s debut album, Every Kingdom, is a stunningly beautiful piece of work. It isn’t even that it’s perfect – because it’s not. Howard recorded most of the tracks live and left any imperfections in because he wanted it to sound authentic. There’s a genuineness and passion in the tracks that shines through. It’s easily one of my favorite albums of all time and it’s one that I love to put on no matter what kind of mood I’m in. But the album came out in 2011 and since then Howard’s pretty much stopped touring, with the exception of various festival and one off gigs. He’s made hints that he’s working on new music, but so far nothing official seems to have been announced. With his debut being as good as it was, I’m eager to see what he comes up with next.

 

The Last Shadow Puppets

Image

Technically, The Last Shadow Puppets doesn’t actually exist. The group was a side project of Alex Turner (The Arctic Monkeys) and Miles Kane (The Rascals, The Little Flames). The two got together in France, recorded an album in a couple of weeks, toured it for a bit, and that was the end of it. Sure they might play “Standing Next To Me” together when they both happen to be playing the same festival, but so far that’s the only reunion fans have gotten. When asked about the possibility of putting out a second album, both Kane and Turner (who remain very close friends) laugh and hint at the possibility. But it’s always in terms of “someday” and never anything more concrete. For now Kane is content to be touring his second solo album, and Turner is winding down the tour for AM5. Though the two have been spotted together a lot recently (Kane joined AM on tour in the US for some of the dates, and opened for the band on several of their European dates), so perhaps a second album is a possibility sooner rather than later. It’s been six years since the duo put out their only album, and both have grown incredibly as musicians in that time. One can only wonder what a new TLSP album would sound like if the two put their heads together once more.

Leave a comment

Filed under editorial

“Old Pine” – Ben Howard

As I sit here typing this there’s a lovely breeze blowing in through my open window. The afternoon sun shines brightly and hints at the hot summer to come, but for now the breeze is refreshing and takes the edge off the heat. What better song to choose for this weeks Music Monday track than a song that is essentially an ode to summer? The song is a beautiful reflection on summers past and the people and places that make those memories so special.

Leave a comment

May 12, 2014 · 5:01 pm

September Musical Roundup

by Cherie, blog founder

Image

Frank Turner

What can I say. Frank Turner is flawless. I’ve had his latest album, Tape Deck Heart, on repeat for a while now and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s easily my favorite album of his to date. If you like alternative, indie-folk/rock music, then give Frank a listen. Seriously, he has a song for every mood. His catalog is immense (5 LPs, 4 Eps, and 3 Compilation albums), and he is a fantastic story teller.

Arctic Monkeys

I’m only six years too late, I know, but I only recently started listening to British rock band the Arctic Monkeys. Their latest album, AM, has very few weak tracks on it; nearly every song is a potential single. It’s darker then some of their previous work, but there’s something empowering about it as well. The other album I’m really into right now is their first, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. It’s straight up rock and it’s apologetically British. From their very first album the Monkeys have never tried to change who they are and where they come from, and you have to respect them for it.

Vampire Weekend

With the release of their latest album, Modern Vampires of the City, I found myself also revisiting their older work as well. It’s a toss up between which album is my favorite, MVOTC or Contra, but the whole trilogy is awesome. Vampire Weekend truly are in a category of their own, and I look forward to what they do next. I could listen to Ezra’s vocals for days. In fact I may have done just that.

Ben Marwood

Although Ben is one of my newer musical discoveries, he’s actually been around for a while. He’s signed to the same label as Frank Turner, and in fact toured with him in the US last summer. If you ask Ben what kind of music he makes, he’ll probably describe it as “angry folk for enthusiastic people.” It might be angry folk music but it certainly is catchy. If you are reading this and you haven’t given him a listen, his music is available for free to stream on spotify. There’s no excuse to not give him a listen.

Ben Howard

Ben Howard also makes indie folk music, but he’s considerably less angry then Frank Turner or Ben Marwood. His album, Every Kingdom, is a masterpiece. It’s dark at times and uplifting at others. I read somewhere once that a lot of the guitar tracks on the album were recorded live and that any mistakes and imperfections were left in the final cut. I really like that idea: embracing imperfections instead of trying to gloss them over. Each track on the album takes the listener through an emotional journey of its own. If you’re looking for something uplifting check out “Keep Your Head Up” or “Old Pine.” If you’re looking for something a little darker try “Burgh Island” or “Black Flies.”

Bear’s Den

I already wrote up a short article on the band after seeing them play in New York, and have been listening to them ever since. They’ve only got one EP for sale in the US so far (Agape), though a second one is available elsewhere and a third is due to be released soon. For just a three piece band (drums, guitar, and banjo being the primary instruments) the band manages to produce a full sound and packs an emotional punch. My favorite track, “Pompeii” is a track off of their self-titled EP and you can easily find it on youtube. There also is a live version from the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover shows they played this summer that you can watch here.

Laura Marling

I don’t think I can say this enough. Laura’s latest album is flawless. Truly a musical masterpiece. You can read my previous post on the album here. Sometimes I forget that Marling is the same age as me, which makes all that she’s accomplished in her short career that much more impressive. From what I hear through the grapevine, Marling is continuing to debut new song after new song on the road, so it seems like we won’t be hearing the last of her anytime soon.

Marina and the Diamonds

Mariana is my go-to music when I want something fun to blast at full volume when I’m stuck in traffic driving home from work. Sure I might get some weird looks from other drivers when I’m dancing in my seat to “Primadonna” or “Oh No!” but I regret nothing. If you haven’t listened to Marina her first album, The Family Jewels, is in my opinion, her best work yet; though I do love Electra Heart as well. She’s got a fantastic range, and her music is definitely unique. 

Leave a comment

Filed under musical roundup

Quote of the Day

Oh you laugh like there’s hope in the story
That’s alright honey
That’s alright with me

– “Bones” by Ben Howard

Leave a comment

September 29, 2013 · 1:08 am

My Favorite Spring Albums

by Cherie, contributing writer

Ah, spring in New England. It truly is a magical time of year. By the end of April we can finally put away the shovels and winter boots and at least be reasonably assured that we shouldn’t need them for another year. One of my favorite things about spring is the fact that I can finally roll down my windows and blast music on my way to work. It never fails to lift my mood. And while it’s true that I love all kinds of music, there’s just something about some albums that make them better to listen to at full volume with the wind rushing through your hair. Here’s what I’ll be listening to this spring.

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
This deserves an honorable mention because, despite the fact that I don’t feel the need to belt out every single song at full volume, its the perfect spring album. There’s something catchy about the band’s music, which is alternately laid back and upbeat, that makes it a perfect spring time listen. Favorite tracks: A-punk, Oxford Comma, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

Where You Want to Be – Taking Back Sunday
To me, this is the quintessential TBS album. I think this might be my favorite TBS album, even beating out the much loved Tell All Your Friends. The vocal interplay between Lazzarra and Nolan is at its best on this album, and it has some of my favorite lyrics of all time. There’s very few albums I enjoy blasting at full volume and belting along more than this one. Favorite tracks: This Photograph is Proof (I Know You Know), New American Classic, Number Five With a Bullet, One Eighty By Summer

The Airborne Toxic Event – The Airborne Toxic Event
When they were first starting out, the music that TATE created was often referred to as “poetry you can dance to.” Try as I might I can’t come up with a better description of their music than that, especially when referencing their first album. Listening to this album at full volume while driving to work is like having an orchestral soundtrack. It’s beautiful and never fails to put me in a good mood. Favorite tracks: Wishing Well, Papillon, Does This Mean You’re Moving On?, Something New

The Family Jewels – Marina and the Diamonds
If you’re looking something more along the lines of power pop to listen to, then look no further than Marina and the Diamonds. Marina’s vocal range is unique and her power and control are remarkable. She’s definitely got a unique sound, and her songs are, without exception, lush creations that will get stuck in your head for days at a time. I highly recommend her to anyone who hasn’t already checked her out. Favorite tracks: Oh No!, Are You Satisfied?, Shampain, Hollywood

Steel Train – Steel Train
I love fun, but some really good bands were sacrificed so that fun could move forward. Unfortunately, Steel Train is one of those bands. The boys of Steel Train were just coming into their own as a band and creating their own unique sound, which makes it harder to see them on an indefinite hiatus. Regardless, their self titled album is an indie rock masterpiece. Antonoff and gang created a unique sound full of full-band vocals, guitar solos, and keyboard accompaniment. Favorite tracks: Touch Me Bad, Soldier in the Army, Bloody Lips, You are Dangerous

Babel – Mumford and Sons
There’s nothing like rolling down the road to the sound of banjos and horns blasting. The banjos are certainly back and louder than ever in Mumford and Son’s second album which is now a Grammy winning “album of the year” masterpiece. The soaring highs and the brokenhearted lows of the album are perfect for spring time listening. Favorite Tracks: Babel, Whispers in the Dark, Broken Crown, Hopeless Wanderer

Ocean Avenue – Yellowcard
One of the first pop punk albums I ever listened to, Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue has always had a place in my heart. It will forever remind me of summers spent on our camp at the lake, blasting the album from a boombox on the porch while my parents told me to turn it down. Spring and summer will always be the best time to listen to pop punk album’s such as this. Favorite tracks: Ocean Avenue, Empty Apartment, Inside Out, Way Away

Last Minutes and Lost Evenings – Frank Turner
This is kind of cheating since Last Minutes is a compilation album, but to be honest I couldn’t pick just one album to include on this list. Frank Turner is flawless, and every single one of this albums is ideal for making it onto a spring playlist. But this one is a compilation of some of his best songs. Favorite tracks: all of them but especially The Ballad of Me and My Friends

Every Kingdom – Ben Howard
I honestly think this might have been one of the best albums to come out of last year. The music itself is fairly simply, just a guitar, cello and Ben’s vocals (with some backing from India) but it is simply amazing. I can picture Ben sitting outside in the spring sun somewhere, busking these tracks (point in fact, Ben has done just that). It’s one of my more mellow picks for spring, but it is definitely a spring album all the same. Favorite tracks: Old Pine, The Wolves, The Fear, Keep Your Head Up

Aim and Ignite – fun
While I’m a huge fan of Some Nights, I have to say that nothing can beat Aim and Ignite. It combines the theatricality of The Format’s Dog Problems (Ruess’s previous band) with the more rock based elements of Steel Train (Antonoff). Just an all around feel good album produced by a very talented group of guys. Favorite tracks: At Least I’m Not as Sad (As I Used to Be), Walking the Dog, All the Pretty Girls, Be Calm.

MUSIC

2 Comments

Filed under editorial