Sun Hollow Sun’s first release – 2013’s ‘No History’ EP – presented four enjoyable pieces of semi-acoustic roots music. With clean guitar work and easy harmonies, a touch of jazziness to the lead vocal and a set of well written songs, they not only set upon a timeless style but also showed they had the chops to take on more established acts. Three years on, the ‘Before We Ever Met’ doesn’t really meddle with that formula but, if anything, does an even smarter job.
Active from the mid to late 80s, The Difference were a progressive rock band that, while indebted to the usual influences from Rush and the big progressive hitters of the era, also tempered their sound with various other more contemporary influences – ranging from 80s pop and AOR to the tight quirks of The Police. On their 1988 EP, the coming together of older prog sounds with an eighties sharpness results in some very pleasing music that, although hampered slightly by budgetary contraints, still presents some great ideas.
Singer-songwriter Kyle Anne Duggan takes country and folk influences on her 2016 EP release and works them in a way that seems at odds with the broad and sunny nature of her native Florida. It shows that it’s possible to feel country roots anywhere, you don’t have to have a link with Nashville or small back-woods towns that conjure up images of local stores and grocers. Perhaps it even shows the performer is at odds with the state; these songs exploring what she herself calls “a love hate relationship” with the place in which she grew up. The five songs on ‘The Florida EP’ have an old soul and yet still feel somewhat contemporary.
For their fourth EP, US lo-fi/anti-folk duo Vacation take on some familiar – and not-so-familiar – tunes by other artists. As Tori Amos proved time and again, you can take the most rocking numbers and reduce them to a minimalist piano ballad with reasonable ease, almost to the point where the once unimaginable becomes predictable. In some ways, Vacation play by a similar rule in that their chosen material gets stripped down and re-imagined in an echoing lo-fi acoustic fashion, but whereas Ms. Amos, Emm Gryner and countless other artists always ensure there was accessibility even within their most bizarre reimaginings, these guys just want to strip things back to their most stark. This results in at least one tune that’s anything but predictable.