STG Announces Upcoming Events: Ben Howard and More
Venue: The Moore (All Ages / Bar w/ ID)
Lauded British singer-songwriter Ben Howard is set to support Mumford & Sons on the east coast leg of their 2013 U.S. The musician's celebrated live performances have resulted in back-to-back sell-out tours, both overseas and in stateside. In the past year Howard appeared at various festivals worldwide, such as SXSW, Sasquatch! Music Festival, Bonnaroo, and Austin City Limits. Of his live set, KCRW explains "[he] has the audience in musical awe." Further tour dates below.
Howard's The Burgh Island E.P. is out now-having debuted #1 on iTunes in the U.K. and top 30 on iTunes in the U.S. The new music is also available as limited edition vinyl frombenhowardmusic.co.uk.
Howard continues to bask in acclaim from his breakout year, which includes a Mercury Prize "Album of the Year" nomination, two Brit Awards nominations for "Best Male" and "Breakthrough Act," and appearances on "The Late Show with David Letterman" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" His debut album Every Kingdom, now certified Platinum in the U.K., garnered attention with the The New York Times hailing, "Howard's songs...cascade from his fingers, gathering words and melodies as they go, carrying his reedy, tremulous voice as their crescendos surge," and NYLON Guys admiring "a mélange of intricate acoustic guitar work and sweet, hum-along choruses." Furthermore, NY Daily News praised the record as "fired by flinty textures of guitar," while Philadelphia Inquirer described it as "touched by tender lyricism."
James has released five singles this year, to considerable acclaim; for some reason, bloggers tend to pick up on the sense of isolation in his work and love to ruminate over his intricate beats. A few of his key tracks feature heavily edited, cut-up vocal samples from R&B records, but on his radical reading of Feist's 'Limit to Your Love' he sings the song himself, layering his voice. It's a powerful number. "'Limit to Your Love' was the first time I ever used my voice and I gave special attention to it," he says. "I thought, well, I'm using my voice here so I'll do something extra innovative."
Some may be interested to know that he recorded that song 18 months ago and wasn't even sure if he'd release it. Most of the album was written in his digs in New Cross and Deptford, though he'd often return to Enfield to clear his head and compose. No distractions there, no friends popping round, and if he looks out of his window it's green and silent. What's revealing is that he wrote the songs for his album at the same time as he was putting out the more experimental 12-inches. "I went through a lot of sounds. And the weird thing is, those songs don't sound like anything on those 12-inches - they sound completely different."
What is consistent, though, is the intoxicating effect his music is having as more and more people fall under its spell. Twelve months ago he was virtually unknown. Now James is the darling of the cutting edge, about to hit the mainstream, and there's no question that he knows what he's doing. "I have an obsession with emotion," he says. "I want to make dance music that actually connects with people in the way that a soul record does. I want my music to speak to you like a folk record does, in an organic, human way. It's the human touch that I want."
Cloud Cult is an experimental chamber rock band from the Midwest who has stayed true to the concept of DIY "Indie Rock" for more than 15 years. The band has remained independent for the past decade and a half in favor of keeping total control of the ethical aspects of their music and business, despite enticing offers from notable major labels. In the process, Cloud Cult has sold over 100,000 albums out of lead singer/songwriter Craig Minowa's organic hobby farm. The band has come to be known for its philosophical lyrics, as Minowa has used many of the songs to search for answers to spiritual questions after the unexpected loss of his two-year-old son in 2002.
Cloud Cult's live shows include the rock band along with violin, cello, trumpet, trombone and French horn. Two live painters create original artwork on stage during each performance. Cloud Cult has participated in many of the US's leading festivals including Coachella and Sasquatch and has performed live on NPR's World Café, WNYC's Soundcheck and Last Call with Carson Daly. Minowa was tapped to score 12 hour-long documentaries for National Geographic's "America the Wild," and during the 2010 Superbowl, the band was featured in cartoon form performing their song "Lucky Today" in an Esurance commercial.
Cloud Cult will support the release of their latest studio album Love with a North American tour in March thru May 2013, including performances at this year's SXSW Festival. Along with the new album, the feature-length documentary on Cloud Cult "No One Said It Would Be Easy" will debut in early 2013 on Netflix, iTunes and Amazon. A full-length biography about Cloud Cult's journey as a band by author Mark Allister is slated for release in late 2013.
John Lennon once said he didn't believe that musicians created emotions in their listeners. Rather, he believed that an artist's role is to bring feelings to the surface that already live deep within us. Thus, while all human beings are connected to one another in some way, there is a special bond we feel with the artists that help us shine a light within our own core.
A few days after George Harrison passed away in 2001, Yim Yames (Jim James from My Morning Jacket) was moved to record this six-song EP of Harrison covers, paying tribute to a man that he never met, but with whom he felt a special connection. The tracks have a serene quality that mourn the loss of a legendary spirit while celebrating his enduring influence.
On the EP, Yames performs beautiful renditions of four cuts from Harrison's classic album All Things Pass as well as two of the Beatles tunes that he penned. These six tracks have a raw, minimalist feel - featuring little more than Yames's vocals and acoustic guitar. With all the space, the room in which the tracks were recorded truly serves as another instrument in the mix, creating an ethereal aura for a backdrop.
From his warm, multi-layered vocals on opening track "Long Long Long" to his near-whisper at the end of album closer "All Things Must Pass," Yames sings in a fittingly intimate manner. In the album's liner notes, he refers to Harrison as "a prime example of the healing power of music." These words apply just as much to this EP. As the final chords on Tribute To ring out, one can't help but feel a deep, satisfying sense of catharsis.