Taking the softer moods of Josh Rouse, the accessibility of ‘Gold’ era Ryan Adams and coupling that with narrative drive of Michael McDermott, Garrett Hinson hits upon a winning formula on his second full length album. ‘Nothing Is Destroyed’ serves up a selection of timeless tales and immensely appealing Americana sounds; it’s the kind of record you get halfway through and find yourself wondering why he’s not far better known.
Hüsker Dü were the ultimate power trio. From hardcore punk beginnings, the band pioneered alternative rock sounds which eventually blended distinctly US punk noise with a more thoughtful singer-songwriter approach, which in turn paved the way for guitarist/vocalist Bob Mould’s solo career. Contrasting Mould’s abrasive approach, drummer/vocalist Grant Hart later wrote songs with a more palatable quality. Hart – a truly underappreciated songwriter – captured raw and emo-ish beauty on tunes like ‘Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely’ and ‘Every Everything’; tunes that were pivotal to the Hüskers’ balance between sheer force and a cerebral approach to punk.
There are thousands of acoustic singer songwriters out there sharing tales of broken relationships and personal travelogues – those all important journeys of the heart, if you will. On ‘More Scared Than Me’, Australia’s Bec Stevens takes folk pop into very outspoken territory, very much as Frank Turner did on his best-selling break up record ‘Tape Deck Heart’. This is not new ground for folk music, but when delivering such familiar themes from a female perspective, Stevens’s work comes across with an unflinching honesty, resulting in a short collection of songs which should resonate with many listeners.
Summer may be fading, but the debut single from UK singer-songwriter Amy Lawton maintains a shiny, feelgood almost summery vibe, beneath personal lyrics that tell a less positive tale.
Mason Summit’s third album, 2016’s ‘Gunpowder Tracks’ was the dictionary definition of surprising. An album chock full of great songs and retro influences, the singer-songwriter showed off an ability to turn his hand to many styles with equal charm, ranging from pop, country, folk and jazz, resulting in one of the year’s most appealing recordings.