INTRODUCING. Cameron Avery with debut album review – Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams

Release date: 10 March 2017
Genre: Experimental blues/folk
Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Words by: Scott Murray

With such an emphasis on production in the modern era, vocals have seemingly fallen to the back burner. This is not the case for Perth’s Cameron Avery. His debut album ‘Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams is a truly beautiful offering thanks to Avery’s transcendent vocals, with the entire album highlighting vocal qualities reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. This, paired with Avery’s poignant lyrics of longing and loss, create a dramatic vocal landscape.

That is not to say that Avery’s production suffers as a result, to the contrary Avery has created a striking instrumental landscape filled with sounds not of the modern age. His use of strings, horns and even an organ is shockingly refreshing in an industry filled with synths, and generic drum beats.

This old school sound shines in the albums fifth track, ‘Big Town Girl’, a soulful ode to Jane, the girl running circles in Avery’s brain. Avery drives this home in the song’s forth verse.

“You know I’ve never had the time to wait around for a dame, but if I knew that we could make it I’d wait around for Jane”.

The track begins with a swell of an organ before being joined by thoughtful guitar and minimalistic percussion. Avery’s voice then cuts through the instrumentals in what feels like an instant, but lasts in your ear for far longer.

A standout of this track is the pain in Avery’s voice, constantly oozing his longing and eventually his loss. These two themes can be heard throughout the record, no more so than when Avery croons “Could I suit her better, than that dark blue sweater? Probably not.”

There isn’t a tune on the record that manages to escape Avery’s titanic wave of despair, every track dips its toe into the deep pool of Avery’s pining. This coupled with Avery’s seeming opposition to contemporary sound has allowed Avery a unique opportunity to let his lyrics to take the fore.

However, there are tracks that seem entirely independent of this sound. The album’s third track ‘Dance With Me’ highlights this through its neo-western sound, similar to that of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds track ‘Red Right Hand’.

As well as this there are tracks that give glimpses of Avery’s psych rock pedigree. Avery, Tame Impala’s touring bassist and a former member of Pond, briefly lets his roots show in the album’s two busiest tracks ‘The Cry of Captain Hollywood’, an entirely instrumental track that is as rousing as it is peaceful, and ‘Watch Me Take It Away’.

Watch Me Take It Away begins with pulsing, almost sitar-esc guitar before the track takes flight with a swarm of rhythmic clapping and heavy short bursts of guitar and rapid fire percussion. This ensemble becomes a tapestry that allows Avery to highlight his range whilst also allowing his powerful lyrics to shine. The track follows Avery’s growth as he grasps that he need not waste his time on relationships without mutual respect, starting the third verse with the glass shattering realisation that his time is as important as anyone else’s. “I aint got time for your perversions, I spend my time transcribing versions of the truth”.

Overall the album is musically undefinable, and yet astoundingly beautiful. There is something ethereal about Cameron Avery’s voice that creates a sense of hope, despite the distinct sense of loss seen through almost all of his lyrics. This is a fantastic first effort from a talent that has been hidden behind a bass guitar for far too long.

 


Listen to the highly anticipated debut album from Cameron Avery here
Also make sure to check him out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

 

S.M.

 

LIVE REVIEW. Martha Hill live at The Cumberland Arms

Date: 18/02/17

Venue: The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle.

Genre: Alt folk/blues

Words and photography by: Victoria Ling


One girl. One cello. Ceitidh Mac instantly silences the room as she takes to the strings and held us there for her full set that included a cover of John Martyn’sOver The Hill’. Cietidh is an artist that engages with her audience to a point that they are hesitant to move in case of unwanted disruption or missing a second of the performance. What an attentive audience…well at least for the opening act.

Hailing all the way from the North West in Manchester and joining the tour in the North East of Newcastle is Pip Fluteman (with fellow musician James on guitar and fiddle) This duo followed on from Ceitidh and brought something entirely different to the stage. Pip has us laughing and in some parts of his set and goes as far as declaring James as single which is met with some of the audience getting straight onto Tinder. It’s quite refreshing really how effortless Pip’s stage presence it, his performance is on point but the real connection with the audience comes from his talks in between songs, he’s really not afraid to drop a few jokes in here and there. His explanations of songs such as Dandelion Days’ and ‘She Was The Circus’ has the audience laughing, but also struck with admiration as his set is delivered with passion and clear brilliance.

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It was finally time for the main act of the evening, with the room now at full capacity and many being turned away at the door.  Martha Hill is becoming quite a name and definitely has a following here in the North East, as soon as she stepped onto the stage and opened with ‘Reborn’, you could feel the electricity fill the room. As a photographer, it became increasingly hard as every inch of the floor was taken up by everyone who was lucky enough to get a ticket. The third number of the set, ‘Traveller,’ sees the return of Ceitidh and the addition of Shannon on the keys, both creeping quietly onto the stage whilst front woman, Martha plays on. Everyone is so consumed that it is like the appeared from nowhere as all eyes and ears are fixated on center stage. Martha herself goes from the guitar to the drums and in doing so becomes quite theatrical and majestic. The crowd does become more animated in their engagement with a few cheers here and there while also remaining attentive with a roar of appreciation for ‘Blue Moon’, her debut single released just before Christmas. It is ‘Boom’ however that brings in the audience participation of a few finger clicks that go with the song.

As Martha and her band exit the stage you could still feel an electric buzz from the audience. By the look on Martha’s face, it is like she simply cannot believe this reaction.  Martha takes a spot on the stage by herself and treats the audience with a final song, an old folk classic of the North called ‘Geordie’. This seems fitting considering Martha has become an adoptive Geordie and this night on the Newcastle leg of her tour – a great homage to both the artist and the audience.


Make sure to check out Martha Hill’s single ‘Blue Moon‘ on Soundcloud now.

You can also catch her live in Edinburgh on 16 March. Check out her Facebook and Website for updates.

 

Through the eyes of Lil Vik

 

 

EP Review. Isaac Gracie – Songs in Black and White

Released: 30th September 2016

Genre: Folk/Acoustic

Rating: ★★★★

This EP opens with a live rendition of ‘All In My Mind’, giving us a stripped back welcome to this tender and entrancing live performance at The Waiting Room, London. Hearing Isaac Gracie performing live lets you hear the delicate imperfections and heavy breaths in between verses, this is an artist who is not afraid to exhibit the most raw aspects of his being, a feature of his music that takes you off guard at first, but gradually secures an emotive connection that, once made, is hard to break. These are not simply acoustic songs, they are folk ballads (if there is such a thing).

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The 21-year-old from Ealing, London first caught people’s attention on Soundcloud with his track ‘Last Words’, a song recorded modestly recorded on GarageBand and posted independently online. Since growing in success and following, Isaac Gracie’s standards of recording may have drastically changed, but his approach to music has not.

The second track ‘Burn My Clothes, Bury My Clothes’ takes a slightly different tone, one reminiscent of more 60s folk and –dare I say it – expresses the influence Dylan has on him. A tale of sacrifice and heartbreak that against his delicate melodies, creates a gentle melancholy feeling. The EP then goes onto a harsher and more aggressive tale told within ‘Digging’, with a heavier electric strumming out 70s-esk psych sounds and Isaac questioning the legitimacy of love. This EP demonstrates Isaac Gracie’s ability to surf through different sounds and sub-genres of folk for sure, however, I feel this EP is more about showcasing the all-giving-non-hiding song writing talent, the way he can tell anyone’s story, remove the ego and complicated noise and get down to the raw bare-bones of it all. From remorse and desperation to retribution and blissful content – Isaac here demonstrates how to put soul into it all, how to portray the reality of any emotion in an honest and heart-wrenching song.


Check out Isaac Gracie’s Live EP here

Give him a follow on Twitter and a like on Facebook

 

Baker out.

New Original Track – Disarming

Music is an undeniable passion, an ever-growing interest and a spectacular fascination of mine.

Aside from immersing myself into music from a consumer’s point of view through listening, watching, and reviewing, I also love songwriting and performing. I am inspired by a myriad of differing influences and always looking to progress as a musician.

You can listen to my new original song, Disarming, here.

It centres around the idea of knowing what is good for you and what is not. And when to admit and distance yourself from something that is not good for you, even if it seems like the most difficult choice of all.

This is a rough, sneak peak of my first single. The songwriting process has been so fun, and so personal to me. The process of recording and putting all of the different sounds together has also taught me a lot.

Written by Steph Baker and Simon Pitt, performed by Steph Baker.

All thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated!