The Pierces have put their sisterly harmonizing powers to good use with a folked-up version of Lorde‘s commoner anthem “Team”. Absent are the glitches and pitch-shifted vocal samples, as the duo winds the song back four decades, when Fleetwood Mac reigned supreme. It’s a pretty acoustic cover that replaces teen angst with knowing wisdom. Check it out below.
STREAM: The Pierces – Team (Lorde Cover)
Norwegian singer/songwriter Ane Brun managed to bring out the subtleties in Beyoncé‘s gargantuan ballad “Halo”. Her chamber-folk rendition is a pared-down, understated acoustic affair with Swedish cellist Linnea Olsson on strings duty. It’s a nice break from the drum-heavy bombast of Ryan Tedder’s original production.
You can find “Halo” on her latest double album “Rarities”, collecting her rare tracks from over the years.
We first posted about them for our Popforward feature in 2011, and since then The Staves have gone on to release a sublime folk album entitled “Dead & Born & Grown”. Now the British sibling trio are embarking on a US tour, and we want you to hear their gorgeous harmonies live FOR FREE. If you happen to live in Oregon and are a fan of the band, today’s your lucky day! You can stand a chance to win ONE pair of tickets to see them perform live in person at Mississippi Studios in Portland on June 18. All you need to do to enter this giveaway is to follow the steps below.
1. Become a fan of The Staves and Pop Labyrinth on Facebook (if you haven’t already).
2. What’s your favorite Staves song? Comment below to tell us, and don’t forget to leave your name and email address so we can contact you if you win!
The contest ends on Monday, 6/17. A winner will be picked at random and contacted via email.
In case you don’t totally trust your luck, tickets for the show are still available here.
In the meantime, check out the video for their beautiful new single “Facing West” below.
Laura Marling is the Rihanna of folk. On to her fourth album in 5 years, the prolific Brit folk darling just unleashed her new single “Master Hunter” last week, and it’s a change of wind for her. It’s been a while since I heard something this upbeat from Laura, but that trademark visceral melancholy in most of her songs is not lost here.
STREAM: Laura Marling – Master Hunter
“Where Can I Go?” is another strong cut from her forthcoming album “Once I Was An Eagle”. After 3 solid albums, I have no doubt this next one will be yet another challenging but rewarding listen. Her albums always take time to marinate and grow, but once they do, oh boy do they do.
STREAM: Laura Marling – Where Can I Go?
You can also watch a nice trailer for her upcoming short film for another track, “When Brave Bird Saved”:
It’s been a while since I last heard of Japanese folkster/multi-instrumentalist Shugo Tokumaru, but he has returned with a gorgeous stop-motion video for his lovely new single “Katachi”. Clearly a lot of time and effort was put into this labour of love, and the visuals work so well with the beautiful soothing harmonies. That it’s sung in Japanese probably adds to its warm, earthy charm. Make this your required Sunday morning viewing, then grab a free download of another track “Decorate” right below.
A lot is happening in First Aid Kit‘s world. First, the Söderberg sisters will be featuring on several tracks of the new album “The Fire and The Flame” by Blood Music, aka fellow Swede Karl-Jonas Winqvist. The lead single, “Glad That You Called”, is a charming, laidback twee-folk duet, with a cute music video of the three frolicking about in a big greenhouse.
STREAM: Blood Music feat. First Aid Kit – Glad That You Called
Secondly, the indie-folk duo has recently released a iTunes Sessions live album, featuring this harmonious cover of Patti Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot.”
STREAM: First Aid Kit – Dancing Barefoot (Patti Smith Cover)
Last but not least, their excellent album “The Lion’s Roar” will get a Limited Edition boxset edition come October 2, with 2 bonus b-sides and one brand new track/single, “Wolf”. Here’s the kaleidoscopic, forest-based video for it.
STREAM: First Aid Kit – Wolf
Have I mentioned the girls are performing in New York tonight and tomorrow too? As I said, a lot is happening in First Aid Kit’s world, and deservingly so.
Danish songstress Fallulah is back with a brand new track, “He’ll Break Up With You When Summer Comes”. It’s a beautifully arranged, delicate alt-folk-pop number, with Fallulah delivering some choice words to Mr. Ex in the bridge in a rather calm manner. She makes summer postbreakup sound like a picnic by the lake, which is how it should be.
Here’s a lovely outdoor live performance for your viewing pleasure.
And while her new album isn’t coming out until 2013, us Americans can finally get a hold of her debut, as “The Black Cat Neighbourhood” is set to drop on August 21 on MBM Records, with fall tour dates to follow. I’d love to see her when she stops by New York!
British singer/songwriter Lianne La Havas will finally release her debut album “Is Your Love Big Enough?” on July 9 in the UK, and on August 6 in the US via Nonesuch Records. The title track will serve as the lead single here in America, and it’s an upbeat one akin to “Forget”, showing her versatility aside from her pretty acoustic ballad ones. “Is your love big enough for what’s to come?”, she sings, like it’s both a challenge, a come-on, and a warning. I’m not still not sure whether she sings “Ice cream on second avenue” or “I scream”, but the latter gives a slight curve to the sentiment. Download the track below, and watch the video if you fancy a look at what it’s like to be on tour with Lianne.
For some reasons, I am not too fussed about the new Scissor Sisters single “Only The Horses”. The band roped in producer-of-the-moment Calvin Harris for the collaboration, and his signature sound is all over it but Scissor’s. This could have been a Mika track even! I don’t know if this is their attempt to conquer the (UK) chart again, or just the safe for-the-masses one to pave the album sales the way “Fire With Fire” was? Maybe some extra bits and bobs from the extended mix may sway your opinion?
STREAM: Scissor Sisters – Only The Horses (Calvin Harris Extended Mix)
For the record, I think “Shady Love” was the better one. It was different, but still fun & silly.
STREAM: Scissor Sisters vs Krystal Pepsy – Shady Love (Extended Mix)
“Only The Horses” is out May 13.
A member of the BBC Sound of 2012’s club, Lianna La Havas is hotly tipped as one to watch by British media. I first heard of the 22-year-old London native through her buzz single “No Room For Doubt”, which I thought was pleasantly nice enough. However, I wasn’t feeling the tracks on her EP as much. Even though she has a great soulful voice, her materials didn’t sound terribly exciting. The Corinne Bailey Rae comparisons also did her no favors.
Well, I would like to take that back. I shouldn’t have written her off so hastily, because her new single “Forget” totally flipped my premature verdict on its head. The song is much more sonically interesting than I expected – a slick, funky midtempo with a Latin twist. The simple, understated performance video gave her space to present herself as a star, taking command of the screen with moxie and sass. It helps that she’s very videogenic and charming, too. I am glad that she’s capable of versatility, beside the acoustic folky stuff. Apparently, she’s been working with Matt Hales (Aqualung), so I look forward to at least a piano ballad. With her album scheduled to arrive in May, you have plenty of time to get acquainted with Lianne and her music. Check out the video, download an acoustic live version, as well as her sweet cover of Everything Everything’s “Final Form”.
STREAM: Lianne La Havas – No Room For Doubt (feat. Willy Mason)