Glasgow singer-songwriter Lizzie Reid arrives with a fully-formed sound on her debut EP, Cubicle. It’s a warm and intimate collection of folk and rock songs that showcases her clear skill for storytelling, and a surprisingly diverse range of sounds for a compact collection. The project documents a break-up, and her first same-sex relationship. But its welcoming homespun atmosphere acts as its hidden strength. Recorded at her home in ten days before the first lockdown in March, the project truly exists within that period of stasis.
“We were kind of disconnected by what was going on in the world,” Lizzie says during our Zoom call. “Everyone was freaking out about COVID and isolation, and we were in a completely different headspace. Lockdown came about two days after Oli [Barton-Wood, the record’s producer whose credits include Nilüfer Yanya and Molly Payton] left. I remember at the time thinking, ‘wow those ten days, what a long time to just be in the house.’ Little did I know that would be the next nine months of my life.”
Despite the intimate setting, there was an underlying pressure on the recording process. “We’d already announced that we were going to be releasing music this year so this needed to be the one,” Reid says. “I had recorded a few times with the idea of releasing, but it was never quite right, I felt like it could go one of two ways, but when it came down to it, this had to be the one. I’m a very anxious person… I do always have a sense of time. There was less of that because we were at home the whole time.”
That homely quality manifests through a wonderfully close recording. The gentle fingerpicked guitars of Always Lovely, the closeness of Reid’s breath on the mic – and even the gentle meowing of her cat Ivan at the end of Seamless – all offer heartfelt textures that might not have been captured without a home recording. The sense of home continues with her bandmates, with Reid’s cousin Catriona playing cello twice across the project.
One Day’, the new album from Glasgow songwriter Robin Adams, proves to be a beguiling addition to his body of work.
It is certainly a marked contrast to his last album ‘The Beggar’, with a much warmer tone, albeit with a few lingering traces of melancholia.
‘A Friend of Mine’ opens the album beautifully with a charming ode to friendship which you could easily imagine sound tracking a Wes Anderson film. It’s followed by two heartfelt love songs, the tenderly romantic ‘Dancer In Your Eyes’, and ‘No Reason Why’, which has a childlike innocence to it. It may well be the album highlight and has an almost Beatles-esque melody.
A snippet of commentary from a nature documentary introduces ‘From A Dream’, a lament for the humble robin (the bird, not the songwriter) which somehow manages to sound both mournful and cheerful at the same time. “Can’t see the starlight/From the streetlight / Can’t tell the gutter from the stream / Can you tell the nightmare from the dream” sings Adams, contrasting pastoral and urban imagery. ‘Signs’ is probably the album’s most subdued and melancholic moment while ‘Market Convent Garden’ is a cover of a brilliant song by his father Chris Adams.
Lankum performs live at WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio in Boston. The Dublin-based group, consisting of Cormac MacDiarmada, Radie Peat, and brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch, makes a special kind of Celtic folk music, mixing ambient textures with harmonies that harness astonishing power. In 2019, their album The Livelong Day won Album of the Year at the RTÉ Choice Awards.
Join Rowan and Anna Rheingans this coming Sunday (25 Oct at 10:30am) as they listen through and discuss their new album, they will be online to chat about the album throughout the listening club so say hello in the comments area. You can watch the live stream on Hudson Records Youtube channel, subscribe, like and follow to receive notifications.
Katie Cruel is a traditional American folksong, likely of Scottish origin. As a traditional song, Katie Cruel has been recorded by many performers, but the best known recording of the song is by Karen Dalton on the album In My Own Time. The American version of the song is said to date to the Revolutionary War period. The song is Roud no. 1645.
The American lyrics appear to contain an oblique story of regret. As given in Eloise Hubbard Linscott’s The Folk Songs of Old New England. The opening verse of the song bears a strong resemblance to the Scottish song, Licht Bob’s Lassie, whose opening verses mirror the song in both notional content and form.
First when I cam’ tae the toon They ca’d me young and bonnie Noo they’ve changed my name Ca’ me the licht bob’s honey
First when I cam’ tae the toon They ca’d me young and sonsie Noo they’ve changed my name They ca’ me the licht bob’s lassie
Lankum are a contemporary Irish folk music group from Dublin, consisting of brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch, Cormac MacDiarmada and Radie Peat. Their music has been characterised as “a younger, darker Pogues with more astonishing power”. Reviewing their third album The Livelong Day for The Guardian, Jude Rogers described it as “a folk album influenced by the ambient textures of Sunn O)) and Swans, plus the sonic intensity of Xylouris White and My Bloody Valentine”. In 2018 they were named Best Folk Group at the RTÉ Folk Music Awards, while Radie Peat was named Best Folk Singer.