Shovels & Rope (Charleston) – Following a tour earlier this year with Jonny Corndawg (and tours last year with Justin Townes Earle, Jason Isbell and more), Charleston energetic folk duo Shovels & Rope has just released its highly anticipated album, O’ Be Joyful (Amazon MP3 & Spotify). The band, consisting of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, recorded the album in their house, backyard and van, as well as various motel rooms across America. While the couple folk bands seem to be popping up everywhere, the band has won praise for its soulful shows. O’ Be Joyful is loaded with great tracks, mixing slower folk ballads and twangy alt-country. Be sure to check out the intro to “Kemba’s Got The Cabbage Moth Blues.” Brilliant!
Brendan Hines (Los Angeles) – While Brendan Hines miserably failed to “climb the ladder” in previous careers as a prom photographer and telephoning salesman, he’s got a couple other things that seem to be working. Hines, who played Eli Loker on the FOX show ‘Lie To Me,’ will release Small Mistakes next month, a follow up to his first album, Good For You Know Who. Hines’ singer/songwriter style is meshed with witty humor and great story telling. You can listen to a few songs off of Small Mistakes on Hines’ Facebook page.
Terraplane Sun (Venice Beach, CA) – Venice Beach-based Americana band Terraplane Sun recently pre-released “Get Me Golden” it’s first single from its forthcoming EP, Friends, set for release in October. The song is rocked my socks off, as did this SXSW acoustic performance of “No Regrets” and another video of the title track from the EP. The band has won praise for some of the most intense and rocking shows in LA since it released Coyote last year. Stemming off of a residency at The Satellite in LA, the band will perform at the Sunset Strip Music Festival later this month.
Leftover Cuties (Venice, CA) – After a week of Olympics TV, you’ve probably seen the new Samsung Mobile commercial featuring the cheerful song, “Smile Big” (Amazon MP3 & Spotify), a new single by Los Angeles-based quartet Leftover Cuties. While the band is currently in the studio working on their forthcoming album (due out early 2013), the quartet released an all-covers EP in May called Departures (Amazon MP3 & Spotify) in May. The EP, which follows the band’s debut full-length album last year, features ominous folk arrangements of songs like “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” by Bob Dylan, one of my favorite songs of all time (see video here). It was as if singer Shirli McAllen was ripped from the 1920s and forced to sing great songs from today and yesterday.
Plume Giant (Brooklyn) – Plume Giant, the campy folk trio of recent Yale grads Oliver Hill (guitar, viola, voice), Nolan Green (guitar, harmonium, voice), and Eliza Bagg (violin, harmonium, trinkets, voice), will release Callithump on August 28. The album, the band’s full length debut and follow up to its six-song self-titled EP, follows the trio’s summer tour around the country and precedes a settling in Brooklyn this month. So far, “Wait it Out” is the only song from the new album available on the band’s their web site, but ILIKEITALOT. Callithump has been the product of eleven months of intermittently recording as the band toured and finished college.
Seven Handle Circus (Atlanta) – With football season just a few weeks away (Roll Tide Roll), I’ve had a hankerin’ for some nice Southeastern rockygrass. Atlanta-based Seven Handle Circus, a bluegrass band made up of six Georgia Tech guys, once had a dream of dreams come true. As the band was performing at a bar next door to The Fox Theater, Mumford & Sons wandered in and asked them to join them for their show. 7HC recently released their first EP, Whiskey Stills & Sleeping Pills (Bandcamp), which features some nice instrumentation, including a few solos by Steve Bledsoe on mandolin.