His Young Heart EP
What a serendipitous discovery. A four-track gem released by the London, UK's Daughter. Twenty-four hours ago I know nothing of this woman, now I'm completely infatuated by her His Young Heart EP.
Daughter are Elena Tonra and her musical partner Igor Haefeli. Through some quick research I understand that they are also life partners, so there goes my chances. Nevertheless, and with slight jealousy aside, they've managed to create magic out of a relationship that seems to be filled with drama and pain. It makes one wonder how healthy things are when lyrics like "Throw me in the dirt-pit" and "Leave me at the alter/ knowing all the things you just escaped" are cooed through the opening track "Landfill". Tonra's lyrics are very visual and visceral, carefully choosing words that create a more poignant picture than trying to sweeten up an idea. Written in a very passive sense, switching between present and past tense, Tonra soaks the skeleton of each song in a clear mystery, relevant only to her feelings but leaving room for a personal interpretation.
Musically, Daughter blends a gentle picking acoustic performance with sweeping soundscapes built of crisp, smooth electric guitar, vocal harmonies soaked in reverb and driving percussion. In the final song "Switzerland" accordion draws the main chords as bells are accompanied by Elena's howling "oh's" layered in perfect harmony above a pounding tom drum.
My only complaint for His Young Heart is that it's too short. I need to seek out more music by this wonderful duo, and I suggest you do the same.
Spring '12 Demos
Northland Ghost is a new band out of Chicago, IL, and they've created Americana rock as gritty as the windy city itself. I'd go as far as saying they're the 'Springsteen' of Illinois, or at least his cousin.
Their debut album Spring '12 Demos is a collection of twenty songs written over 2011, compiled here in a rough-around-the-edges online release. The band itself was formed in order to release the songs written by the lead singer and they're currently taking the blue collar route through the Chicago music scene, working hard and sweating out gigs in famous Chicago haunts.
The album walks a lot like an older Bruce Springsteen record, just without the confident swagger. The vocals have the same rough growl, the guitars are drenched in distortion and delay, the drums rock out steady beats. In fact, many riffs and melodies seem to be ripped right out of Springsteen records; I wonder if he was an influence at all?
Springsteen comparisons aside, these guys do rock hard. They embrace what they do, and they do it very well. The recordings are, for the most part, tight and together with snappy little solos or harmonica wails. Keeping in mind that these are demos I'll forgive the audio quality of some of the songs; sometimes it adds, and sometimes it takes away from what could have been a great tune.
At twenty songs in length, Spring '12 Demos is a very heavy listen. It took much perseverance to get through it all in one sitting. I would have much rather seen these guys get twelve solid tunes together and release a proper LP. However, "Ghosts of the Northland", "Burlington Northern", "I'm Not There", and "Eastern Girls" did stick out to me. Grungy, rough, beaten and worn, I hope these songs make it onto their actual full length.
Overall Spring '12 Demos is a great listen and a very comprehensive guide of what Northland Ghost has to offer. I look forward to their next efforts, and might even substitute them in for The Boss once in a while.