Four Arms to Hold You: Matthew Milia, Anna Tivel, Kassi Valazza and Bart

Trying to get back to making other kind of posts too. I kinda hate that lately this has been just a playlist thing. It was supposed to be a bonus and not the main thing. So I’m starting this new random feature called Four Arms to Hold You in hope that it might spark some life back into this blog. I feel like I just need some recurring features to keep myself active. It’s so easy to let things slide and it has never done me any good. The cheeky title of the feature comes from Cheeky Monkey album. Basicly this is just four albums / songs / artists that have done their part in holding me together and therefore I want to tell the world or the seven readers of this blog how much I love them. Sometimes there might a theme, sometimes there’s no other theme except that I love them all. I try to do this at least once a week from now on. I think these will be mostly music and not a whole lot of writing. Everything that I will share on these are worthy of an essay, but time, energy (and skill) prohibits.

Starting from Detroit, Michigan with my absolute favourite album of the year. This is of course Alone at St. Hugo by Matthew Milia. I will be shocked if something else will be my album of the year when we reach the end of the year. I just love everything about this. It’s definitely more pop than especially the early Frontier Ruckus albums, but I’m a pop kid at heart (kid, who am I kidding. Old pop man would be more accurate), so I don’t mind at all. It’s sweet, catchy and engaging pop album that is filled with wonderful pop melodies, magnificent lyrics and beautiful singing. Bonus points for sporting a Big Star t-shirt on the cover. Why isn’t everyone singing and shouting the praises of Alone at St. Hugo from the rooftops? A dazzlingly brilliant album. Album came out on Sitcom Universe on the 3rd of May. You can grab a download from Bandcamp or buy a physical copy from Matthew Milia’s website.

Matthew Milia Website

Portland-based Anna Tivel is a tremendous songwriter. Her folk songs are powerful and full of empathy. Her songs have a good heart. The latest addition to her captivating songbook is the album The Question that came out on the 19th of April on Fluff and Gravy Records. One of the finest albums of the year and a real master class of songwriting. Here’s the moving video for the title track The Question. Directed by Robin Vada & Sarah Whelden.

Anna Tivel Website

Singer-songwriter Kassi Valazza from Portland, Oregon is a new one for me. I found her music thanks to Barna Howard who promoted the release concert of Dear Days Days a few weeks ago. I love Barna, So I went, listened and instantly liked Kassi Valazza’s country, folk and psych melting pot. Dear Dead Days has been a big favorite since it’s release on the 7th of May. Here’s a couple of personal favorites from this gorgeous album.

Kassi Valazza at Facebook

Last stop tonight is a street corner in Toronto, Canada and the great new Bart album Today, Tomorrow, & The Next Day that came out on Idee Fixe Records on the 10th of May. This is such a warm, rich, adventurous and beautifully arranged album where sweet harmonious pop melodies gently collide with complex structures. A treasure that keeps on revealing more with each listening session. Pink Symphony wraps up tonight’s little blog entry.

Bart at Facebook

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Mammoth Penguins, Rosie Tucker, Johanna Samuels, Abby Crerie and Julia Jacklin

Continuing with another short post of songs that I’ve loved during the recent weeks.

Mammoth Penguins from Cambridge will release their new album There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win on the 26th of April. This is shaping up to be an awesome pop record, because all three advance singles have been utterly brilliant. Super catchy and really powerful pop songs. Closure and You Just Carry On should be hits.

Mammoth Penguins Website

Rosie Tucker’s tremendous new album Never Not Never Not Never Not came out on the 8th of March on New Professor Music. My favourite song changes all the time, but let’s go with this instantly catchy Lauren on this little blog post.

Rosie Tucker Website

For once I’m not that far behind, because this excellent Johanna Samuels EP Have A Good One came out last Friday 19th of April on Basin Rock. I didn’t know her music before I heard this first outtake Rush of Wheels a couple of months ago. It won my heart over and I’ve listened everything since then.

Johanna Samuels Website

Next up is singer-songwriter Abby Crerie from Athens, GA. She released a double single Inner Dialogue / When a few weeks ago and both songs are quietly mesmerizing. I can’t wait to hear more.

And final song for tonight comes from the wonderful Julia Jacklin album Crushing. One of the absolute finest of 2019. Here’s a spectacular live version of album outtake Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You. A fabulous song, beautiful vocals, Ian Daniel Kehoe playing the drums. Everything is perfect here. I know how to keep loving this song.

Julia Jacklin Website

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Matthew Milia, Christian Lee Hutson, Charlotte Cornfield, Ohtis and A.O. Gerber

I’ve been dreadful at this blog thing lately and I’ve only done the weekly playlist. That was supposed to be a bonus and not the main thing. This blog hits 18 years in September, so I better get my act together so that I have something to celebrate. Here’s a short video post to get things started again.

The regular readers are probably well aware that Frontier Ruckus has been my favorite band during the past 5-6 years. We have to wait a while for Frontier Ruckus LP6, but the frontman Matthew Milia will release a solo album Alone at St. Hugo on the 3rd of May. A couple of gorgeous outtakes are available. Check out the music video for Congratulations Honey below and pre-order the album from his website.

Matthew Milia Website

It’s very unfortunate that the Finland show was canceled, but at least there’s a wonderful new Christian Lee Hutson music video for his new song Northsiders. Such a powerful song with so many instantly memorable lines. A bit of Elliot Smith vibes here and there too and that’s never a bad thing. Plus this new music video is absolutely brilliant. I have only love for this.

Christian Lee Hutson Website

Here’s another beautiful way to break your heart. The great new Charlotte Cornfield album The Shape of Your Name came out on the 5th of April on Next Door Records. I’ll suggest you let her slowly burn Silver Civic into your consciousness by watching this simple but powerful music video.

Charlotte Cornfield Website

Next up is Runnin from the new Ohtis album Curve of Earth. This is a wonderful song and it also inspired this moving short film by Claes Nordwall. Curve of Earth came out on the 29th of March on Full Time Hobby.

Ohtis Website

And last one for tonight is the new A.O.Gerber single Strangers and its colourful and beautiful music video. I don’t know a whole lot about this LA-based songwriter, but I know that I love this song. That’s a pretty good place to start my relationship with her music. Anyway, that’s the end of this short blog post of songs that matter to me. There would be so much more, so I hope I manage to continue a bit more frequently.

A.O. Gerber at Facebook

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Bart, KiDD, Harlem and Evan Cheadle

Tonight’s round up of songs that I’ve fallen in love with during recent times. Maybe I should figure out a some kind of cheeky title to this feature like Four Arms To Hold You, if I go with four songs each time.

Starting the journey from Toronto, Canada with the first single Don’t Push from the forthcoming Bart album Today, Tomorrow, & The Next Day. It’s such a brilliant song with colourful and beautiful arrangements. A timeless harmonic beauty. The album is due out 10th of May on Idée Fixe Records.

Idee Fixe Records Website

Moving across the ocean to Scotland where local pop wizard Stu Kidd released a portion of pop magic that carries the title Chance Weekend. He might not be that well-known in this corner of the world, but he has released lots of high quality music over the last decade, both as a solo artist and with the bands The Wellgreen and Dr Cosmo’s Tape Lab (plus collaborated/played with most of the legendary bands from BMX Bandits to The Pearlfishers). His new album came out on the 1st March 2019 on Zenzerino Records. This is the gorgeous album opener and first single A Picture I Don’t Want To Paint.

Kidd Website

Next stop Austin, TX and the new Harlem album that was released by Female Fantasy Records on the 14th of February. It took Michael Coomers and Curtis O’Mara nine years to make this follow-up to their well-received album Hippies, but it’s finally here and totally worth the wait. This is Lana from the new album called Oh Boy.

Harlem at Facebook

And back to Canada for the final entry for tonight. This time Victoria, British Columbia. I’m usually super slow with my blog writings, but this time I’ll post a brand new music video. Noah Markus Leach directed this marvellous music video for Evan Cheadle’s tremendous song Fluid Love. The song is an outtake from his wonderful Chasing Shadows EP/album where psychedelic pop, English ballads and baroque pop gently collides.

Evan Cheadle Website

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