The Olympic Symphonium – Beauty in The Tension

We have to say goodbye to the winter olympics this weekend, but thankfully The Olympic Symphonium will stay on our side throughout the year. They are a Canadian folk quartet from the New Brunswick area and their latest album Beauty in the Tension came out a few weeks ago on Forward Music Group. It’s a charming and moving folk album that really hits the core of my heart. I’m very fond of the song Careful even though the opening lines absolutely floor me and then everything will stay still for the duration of the song. The song is truly emotive, poignant and powerful and perhaps might not seem like a good match with my irrationally and continuously worried mind, but instead of wrecking me it somehow ends up comforting me. What a song, but it’s still only a little part of the story and the rest of the material is pretty much on the same level. All four songwriters have written beautiful songs. The album opener Coat Of Arms is a stunner that reminds me a bit of Mark Eitzel and Comedy is a compelling song that revolves around joking in an unsmiling manner. They would all be worth mentioning, but music speaks louder than my pointless ramblings. Here’s a couple of standouts from the new The Olympic Symphonium album Beauty in the Tension.

The Olympic Symphonium Website

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Pat Ament – Songs of Pat Ament

It’s close to 5 am, but before going to bed, I need to shout the name Pat Ament from the rooftops. Grapefruit Records reissued his 1971 album Songs of Pat Ament on the 23rd of February and it’s absolutely brilliant. I started listening about an hour ago and I was completely hooked before the first song had finished. Pat Ament seem to be a real multi-talent who is best known as a mountain climber and an author of climber biographies and other climbing books. Hopefully after the release of this lost masterpiece, we begin to know him also as a first-class folk songwriter. This is phenomenal and I can’t wait to dig deeper into these songs during the coming days. There’s an excellent article on Aquarium Drunkard about Pat Ament and the album that includes a long interview by Simon Joyner and introduction by James Jackson Toth. Here’s the album opener Sometime When I’m Lucky that hit me pretty hard.

Grapefruit Records Website

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Ryan Driver – Careless Thoughts

Ryan Driver is a Toronto-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. His song Blue Skies Don’t Care was on a playlist created by Tamara Lindeman sometime in late 2017. At the time I was madly obsessed with the self-titled The Weather Station album (and still am of course, it’s the best album of recent years) and therefore I took a close look at the playlist. Several of the artists already had a place in my heart, but the new to me song that I fell in love with was that Ryan Driver song and it led me to buying the Who’s Breathing? album. Around the same time I found out there’s a new Ryan Driver album Careless Thoughts coming out and the lead track even featured The Weather Station. It was a start of a rather long wait, because while it did come out in Canada in 2017, the worldwide release took place yesterday 23rd of February. These different release dates are somewhat annoying for music addicts like yours truly, but if they do benefit the artist and/or label, then it’s all good and my mild annoyance is completely irrelevant.

Anyway, long story short, Careless Thoughts is a unique, dazzlingly beautiful album and it’s so easy to get lost in its elegant jazzy wonders. It’s often on the edge of my comfort zone and you don’t usually find me raving about delicate piano-driven songs. Still there’s something here that really appeals to me and I think that the music of Ryan Driver might eventually convince me to take even further leaps into new horizons and I’ll end up in some enchanting avant garde neighborhoods. Careless Thoughts might be the perfect gate for such an adventure, because it’s definitely challenging, but still not too complex for someone like me whose common music listening consists of three minute pop songs and country ballads. Such a fascinating and beautiful record. Careless Thoughts is now out and available on Tin Angel Records.

Ryan Driver Website

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Clint Michigan – Knickerbocker Street (single/video)

Clint Michigan is a project by NYC songwriter Clint Asay. I originally found them when Slowcoustic premiered the Coeur d’Alene video something like five years ago and I’ve held them close to my heart ever since. I love Clint and I also love his adorable cats and the bond they have together. Therefore I’m thrilled that Clint Michigan has a new album Centuries coming out on the 27th of April on Kiam Records. I’m sure it’s going to be a poignant but comforting thing of beauty and something that everyone should hear. The brilliant first single/video Knickerbocker Street from the forthcoming album surfaced a few days ago and I’ve listened to it more times than I can count.

And here’s also my Clint Michigan introduction Coeur d’Alene that I mentioned above, because I still love both the song and the video.

Clint Michigan Website

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Penniless – The Great Marquis (single/video)

Major news alert! The Finnish alternative rock legends Penniless are back in this ball game and will release a new album later in 2018 on Soit Se Silti. They are one of my all-time favorite bands and therefore I’m thrilled about this. The excellent first single The Great Marquis from the forthcoming album surfaced a couple of days ago in form of a gorgeous music video.

Penniless at Facebook

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Jesse Marchant – Illusion of Love

A week ago I purchased a download of the new Jesse Marchant album Illusion of Love that came out on the 26th of January. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, Jesse Marchant is a Canadian songwriter who released some great indie folk records as JBM between 2009 and 2012. Illusion of Love is his second under his own name and it’s a real treasure that ranges from the atmospheric indie folk of those old JBM records all the way to beautiful Strand of Oaks-like sonic monsters. Here’s a couple of magnificent outtakes from the new album.

Jesse Marchant Website

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