If you’ve been following Emma Kupa since Standard Fare hung things up, then chances are you’ve likely heard live versions of “Nawlins.” But, with It Will Come Easier not too far away from the official release date, we finally get a lovely recorded version. I’ve listened to previews of this record quite a bit, and the strumming style and various accompaniment make this tune one of the immediate standouts, particularly when backed up against the stunning “No Easy Way Out.” That initial strum caught me instantly, filled with the accent of shakers and banjo; be weary of the chorus, as once those backing vocals get their hooks in you, you’re not getting away! Honestly, I think the soloing guitar is a nice touch; it kind of adds that light twist that shows a willingness to maybe throw something else in the genre’s mix. The LP drops September 18th via Fika Recordings/Palo Santo Records.
The broad swathe of sound that Steven Adams and the French Drops are releasing has me penciling in the release of Keep It Light as an endearing record destined to be played until I need another copy. We’ve had an upbeat indiepop number, a grittier folk tune, and now we have this folk pop gem. From the bending guitar in the distance to the quiet vocal accompaniment, it seems Steven Adams is breaking out all the stops here; there’s this brilliant moment just before the 1.5 minute mark (also 2.5) that I absolutely love, if you’re looking for my favorite 10 seconds. Keep It Light will be out on August 21st via Fika Recordings.
Having already covered the first single from the forthcoming Steven Adams & the French Drops LP, you better believe I’m circling right back around with the latest single, particularly as this one feels super pertinent right now. Maybe it’s just me, but the song title alone speaks to my last few months on the Internet, though not necessarily with my immediate family. Musically, Adams is still pulling out the steady folk-tinged power pop that works like a snake charmer on my ears; you can’t go wrong adding a subtle piano line anywhere in a tune. Keep It Light is out via Fika Recordings on August 21st.
Make no mistake about it…Emma Kupa is one of my absolute favorite songwriters; I loved Standard Fare; I love Hayman Kupa Band and Mammoth Penguins (that MP LP last year is still great!). So, when she announced her new solo effort, It Will Come Easier, I nearly knocked over my chair to get a listen. It’s interesting to hear this track, as it seems to draw on bits and pieces of her musical career, from the folkier moments with the banjo to that ripping guitar line you can hear in the distance…but of course, its always about that distinctively powerful voice. It’s hard to not see this song’s lyrics through the lens of the last few weeks, however, as the protagonist seems fed up with facing the same dilemma time and time again…so even our art is starting to call us out. A beautiful tune, and one we’ll look forward to picking up when It Will Come Easier drops via Palo Santo Records and Fika Recordings this Fall!
There’s a brand of bouncing indie folk with a twist of pop that I’m quite partial too, and it seems like Fika Recordings always has their finger on the style, like Steven Adams and the French Drops. It’s the latest project for Adams, who led the Broken Family Band throughout the 00s, and man if this song’s not a charmer. I mean, you can’t ignore the natural energy swinging through, playing atop that bouncing piano and the joyous choruses involving Adams’ own children backing him up. The video features a bunch of great friends all filming themselves celebrating the nap during quarantine, with several other Fika labelmates like Darren Hayman. This song appears on Keep It Light, which will drop in August!
I’m really looking forward to the release of Darren Hayman‘s new album, Home Time, so when a new single pops up, you know damn well I’m going to throw a few words behind it. On this number, he’s spliced together footage from the band members various home videos during lockdown, done a nice little wash of colors and thrown it behind this beautiful song. It might be my favorite of the singles that have leaked their way into the world; I love the backing vocals from Laura K and Hannah Winter, perfectly adding harmonic layers to Haymans tunes…particularly the charm right before the 2 minute mark. Home Time is out May 22nd via Fika Recordings.
There’s something about Darren Hayman‘s lyricism that just feels right at home; it’s literary, similar to a John Darnielle; but, it also sort of feels a bit mundane, like he’s using the perfect words simply because they’re the exact piece needed for his songwriting puzzles. If you’re not familiar, might I suggest checking out Hefner…and follow the breadcrumbs from there through the Hayman Kupa Band and various releases on WIAIWYA. I love how this song’s presented so carefully, merely some light percussion and woodwinds to accompany careful guitar picking and Hayman’s voice. The accented backing vocals from Hannah Winter and Laura K really do help to elevate the song into something quite exquisite. This song will appear on Home Time, Hayman’s new album, out May 22nd via Fika Recordings.
Needless to say, There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win, was one of my favorite records of last year. One song that didn’t make the final cut for Mammoth Penguins was this gem they’re sharing titled “Sorry I Hurt Your Feelings.” It’s a special b-side tune that they’ve run up especially for today so that they can donate those funds to Trussel Trust, who support food banks…which I imagine becomes even more important in the current climate. Plus, the song makes up for the fact that we’d be seeing the band here in Austin for SXSW.
You can donate directly to Trussel Trust HERE.
We continue our coverage of the forthcoming LP from the Little Hands of Asphalt with the latest two singles from the Sjur Lyseid’s project. There’s only one more set of singles yet, so it’s best to go and get yourself acquainted with Sjur’s work before Half Empty is released. On “Dystopian Sci-Fi,” it feels like something Destroyer might have crafted; it has this brilliant piano line and distinctive vocal performance. “Six Feet Over” offers up a slightly Americana vibe, which doesn’t seem like a stretch, but definitely adds some differentiation to the album’s song cycle. If you like what you’re hearing, Fika Recordings releases the full album on April 3rd.
Every few weeks (two to be exact) Fika Recordings shares new music with us from the forthcoming Little Hands of Asphalt LP. Last time out, I think I finally clicked on why I love the way Sjur crafts his songs, even going so far as to compare the tunes to my favorite John K. Samson. Here, there’s one track that still has that inclination, but on “Writing About Music,” there’s great arrangement work that really builds on the song’s emotional pull; I love how it’s almost broken down to bare bones before bounding off with buoyant strings and rolling drum work to close the song out. We’re still about a month away from the March 27th release date of Half Empty, and I’m every bit as excited…hope you are too!