Time Changes is singer-songwriter Alex Rainer’s first album release since 2016’s Pulaski, and his first for Resonating Wood Recordings. It features eight songs delicately crafted around Rainer’s original acoustic guitar arrangements, showcasing a tone-soaked technique refined over years of study, and featuring the NYC-based singer’s characteristic baritone voice. It was recorded and produced at home studios in Brooklyn, New York and Boston, Massachusetts.
The album was devised during a 2019 European spring tour by Rainer with musician and Resonating Wood founder Philip Soanes. “It was over vodka shots in a smoky bar in Cracow, Poland,” Rainer recalls. “Philip and I had each just played sets at a packed house show, with a lot of old friends in attendance. "He asked if I would consider recording the songs I’d been performing, for the label’s 25th release, and we just got to talking more and more about it.”
“From that outset, the vision I followed was for this album to be an acoustic record—that is, getting down to the nitty gritty of it, the tone of the guitar, the timbre of the voice and the backbone of the song itself, there for all to see and hear.” Stream or purchase here.
Scott Swain is a singer-songwriter, with a nomad soul: he mainly resides around Herts/London/Surrey, UK. Having played in bands for some years, 2016 saw him experiment with a new direction in his song writing. Drawing on influences from Americana, Country, and alt indie, he decided to follow a solo career. In 2017 he began writing and recording his upcoming debut EP (to be released April 2018 - thanks to a successful kickstarter campaign). Being a fan of Cinema, each of Scott’s tracks are about a particular film (check out the track Like Nothing Else, for instance: based on the film Event Horizon). Fans of Nick Cave, The National, (early) Radiohead, or even Sufjan Stevens will be well at home with Scott Swain’s music.
Listen or digitally download his 5 track EP, Goodbye Country, Goodbye Home, here.
Sawak’s debut record serves up a storied journey
“We want to take the listener on a journey,” says Antonello Perfetto, Sawak’s drummer, “and bring them back fascinated but unharmed.”
In their effort to do just that, the band certainly traverses a lot of stylistic territory on their full-length
debut. And whether it’s the ambient opening of the record, or the pieces that hint at punk and even jazz, Sawak manages to weave the disparate threads into a unified whole.
Though firmly rooted in the formula of two guitars, bass and drums, Sawak’s arrangements aren’t
afraid to surprise you with their varied instrumentation. “We put a few guitars flat on some keyboard stands,” explains Shaun O’Neill, who usually fills bass guitar duties. “Then put them in various open tunings and hit them with mallets.” You’ll also find in the mix organs, a celesta, a mandolin, double tracked saxophones, hand percussion, a stylophone, samples and (only very occasionally) vocals. Listen or buy here.
With A Messy Head
The Modern Folk Music of America
We Are From Poland (Poland)
Tree On The Rock
Composed of three members hailing from Greece and Ireland, Tree On The Rock was formed in 2015 in a flat in Bratislava. Since then that time the band has been busy jamming, writing and scheming.
Tree On The Rock's debut album Just about Over was recorded in spring and summer 2016 in a rehearsal space in Bratislava. It was mixed and compiled in various living quarters.
Just About Over is a ten track selection of songs contains an opening and closing instrumental. In between there are songs based on observations, musings and imagination. It is available as a free or pay as you want digital download with a physical version to come soon. Listen and buy here.
The Modern Folk Music of America
Elas ir Sparkis
Elas ir Sparkis is a folk band based in Vilnius, which emerged out of a desire to create melodious music and experiment with the structure of songs. It started out as a duo. Ieva is a young lithuanian author who also writes lyrics and sings, while Vidas is well know in Vilnius’ underground scene for his expressive guitar and in this project reveals a more lyrical side and instead of six strings plays a twelve-string guitar supplemented by harmonica.
Elas ir Sparkis’ first album, which was released in the spring of 2015, is filled with motives of travelling and is distinctive for its fresh approach and light mood. Later various musicians were joining the duo until it finally found its third member Gintaras, whose keybord together with glockenspiel and different effects and tapes gave a new layer to the band‘s musical landscape. One can detect many influences in it: from Delta blues, american and british folk to progressive rock, psychedelia and Middle East. Each song is like a story, a fragment of life, in which seriousness blends with a carefree joy and amazement at the richness of life.
Compared to the first release the new album α Ursae Minoris has a darker and more melancholic touch but the songs still revolve around the themes of travelling, freedom and continuous movement.
Listen or buy the CD / digital versions here.
The Bribe and The Mockery
The Bribe and the Mockery don’t do much, a little bit of everything and most of it wrong. But that’s not a bad thing, as accepting one’s own failure with gallows humour leaves behind a sad-funny melancholy, recalls loser stories and offers a shoulder to lean on. When the creaking guitar and crackling of a partially broken Casio keyboard reminds us of childhood, the stage is set for an unfurling of languorously warm intimacy. And then, when someone places a hand on your shoulder to infer that everything’s going downhill, it hardly matters, cos we’re all in the same boat anyway.
The Reason Will Prevail EP digital version consists of 5 songs while the CD format contains and extra 2 bonus tracks.
Also available in vinyl format. Purchase the digital, CDr or vinyl format here.
A singer-songwriter from the West Country where he cut his musical teeth at intimate venues and folk clubs around Somerset. Now based in London but gigging all around the UK, his songs explore themes of romance, humour and adventure and more with soul-baring honesty. An insightful lyricist whose truly original story songs are infused with folk, indie and Americana influences to name but a few. His debut EP Carry The Fire was released in November 2014.
Open Letters was released January 29th. Listen and purchase the digital or physical version here.
Max Mayall Fine
Max Mayall Fine is a musical explorer.
He is always looking for different atmospheres, melodic lines and catchy rhythms.
Now is the invitation to listen to this music.
An album of 10 tracks, it was recorded in the recording study of the well-known “Cascina Ortosonico Coltiviamo Musica”, the venue which he ran and where international celebs, such as John Parish and Marc Ribot visited. The Venue is set in the remote countryside near Milan but the recording study is the only surviving part.
The idea is not to use electronic instruments, but to return to tremble at what is the maximum representation of humanity, that is the hands, the breath, the flesh, or the man at the core of the musical composition, but with a progressive attitude.
The resulting sound is sometimes a blurred and a little scratchy. It is the vision of the musician playing his instrument, with his mouth, with his hands and with his head, with his own humanity.
Listen to or order Now by clicking here.
Space Rock Mountain (USA)
This Lithuanian embodies the philosophy of what it means to be a free spirit. By exploring human kindness through hitchhiking and busking, he is inspired to write songs which question the reason while we are all here but without any sense of arrogance or self-righteousness to believe that he has the answers to these questions.
Vieškeliu į Araratą was his first solo release. The eight songs on this album (three of which are instrumentals) explore inner thoughts and questions in his own native Lithuanian language. Language is not a barrier here though as the songs convey their own message through instrumental sections and the deep but calming vocals of Algis. Vieškeliu į Araratą can be purchased in digital (free or pay what you want) or in CDr form with limited handmade eco packaging here.
Mano bičiuli nerime by Algis Fediajevas is the follow-up release to his 2014 album Vieškeliu į į Araratą.This time the album was recorded in a professional studio “Kirtimų kultūros centras“ by Paulius Burakas. Although the compositions are based on free floating guitar (from bluesy to eastern or dissonant notes) and sometimes mild, sometimes aggressive vocals, two songs were enriched by violin, played by Elzė Sigutė Mikalonytė, two by harmonica (played by Vainius Bartasevičius). Algis says that this album is more free and complex than his debut, though it still has similar rambling and searching spirit themes which are reflected both in the music and lyrics, sung in his own Lithuanian language. Mano bičiuli nerime can be purchased in digital (free or pay what you want) or in CD form by clicking here.
Pėdsakų lede nepalikus (‘Footprints In The Ice’), is a seven-track album which was recorded in the UK by John Hannon at No Recording Studio in Rayleigh. It’s his third full length release following on from Vieškeliu į Araratą (2014) and Mano bičiuli nerime (2016).
Algis' style remains acoustically stripped down, however, on this album there is flute played by Emma Reid and violin by John Hannon alongside harmonica, recorder and tambourine by Fediajevas
himself. Listen or purchase the CD, vinyl or digital version here.
Website Interview - Bernardinai (Lithuania)
Žinių radijas (Lithuania)
Review - With a Messy Head
A Big Silent Elephant
A Big Silent Elephant is the solo project of Mauro Da Re, an artist who is also part of projects such as, Ugly Bear, A Man With His Broken Piano and Beyza and A Man With His Broken Piano, in collaboration with the Turkish artist Beyza Yazgan.
The songs of his album Sonne were born right after the making of “Yellow”, an album by Beyza and a Man with his broken piano and his promo tour with Beyza Yazgan. During a retreat in the countryside, he created his album Sonne step by step using analogue equipment and an analogue tape recorder.
Sonne can be purchased in digital or in CDr form with limited handmade eco packaging here
Useless Love Songs is his second release on Resonating Wood Recordings. It was released in September 2018.
This upbeat collection of songs featuring more lush melodies from the Lo-fi genius of A Big Silent Elephant.
You can stream or buy the album here.
Radio Interview - Radio Base (Italy)
Interview and live performance - Veneto Uno (Italy)
With A Messy Head (France)
Space Rock Mountain (USA)
Fish, Flesh, Field and Henry Dollar
Hailing from Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic, this band has over twenty years of performing to their name. Their style is difficult to define but a mix of alternative, psychedelic, indie and progressive rock are tags you can try on them. Tanacetum Vulgare is a fascinating 12-track collection of songs that has been recorded in such a way to truly capture the live essence of the band.
Fish, Flesh, Field and Henry Dollar consists of Michael Hacker, Karel Maso Koštejn, Jindřich Tolar, Michal Fejt and Jan Prokop.
Tanacetum Vulgare can be purchased in digital or in audio CD form with limited handmade packaging here.
Judas Equus recorded the thirteen tracks that make up Pilgrim/Infidel with a lo-fi, “warts and all” approach, recording onto an analog four-track recorder, using second hand microphones bought at the local flea market. Instrumentally, the core of accoustic guitars and organ is augmented by an unlikely array of candidates ranging from lap steel to stylophone to distorted electronic drums. The atmosphere created is at once intimate and dilapidated, and is reinforced by the lyrical content, in which mythology becomes entangled and confused with reality.
Pilgrim/Infidel can be bought in digital or in CDr form with limited handmade packaging here.
Space Rock Mountain (USA)
James Haddock Jr.
Haddock was born and raised in Alaska. His musical roots are steeped in the American South and West - he learned to play guitar and sing from his Alabama born grandfather and began writing songs in Reno. In recent years, Haddock has led a nomadic lifestyle including long stints in Kiev and Odessa, Ukraine. Currently, he lives in Krakow, Poland.
FIELDNOTES is the follow-up release to Haddock’s 2010 self-titled EP. The 10 tracks span from the rawness of only Haddock and his guitar, to foot-stomping American folk-rock, to 50’s pop. His lyrics are literary, heartbreaking, and sharp. Haddock is unafraid to take the emotional risks necessary to tell stories of a family moving to the wilderness, hipsters, prostitution, drug smuggling, alcoholism, love, and death.
FIELDNOTES can be bought in digital or as a CD in a digipack here.
Folk Radio UK (UK)
We Are From Poland (Poland)
Radio Interview - Radio Proglas (Czechia)
Frank's Hard Drive
Frank's Hard Drive is a band made up of different musical limbs. From these limbs a body was formed and became musically mobile. They have released two pieces of work - Frank's Hard Drive and Hola, Olivos. Initially a five-piece but then trimmed down to a four piece, the limbs have since come apart but the body remains.
Hola, Olivos can be bought in digital form or streamed here.
The physical album is sold out.
We are From Poland (Poland)
Painting The Evil Man is the debut release by Nottingham-based Steve McCabe.
Steve McCabe has been writing acoustic music for almost 10 years in his home town Nottingham. In 2011 he decided to put together his best tracks to record a full album. The main guitar and vocals were all recorded simultaneously to keep a live feel to the tracks with backing vocals and extra instrumentation added after.
His influences include songwriters like Nick Drake and John Martyn and guitarists such as John Mcloughlin and the late Paco De Lucia.
Painting the Evil Man can be bought in digital or in CDr form with limited handmade (recycled eco or burlap) packaging here.
Folk Radio UK (UK)
This compilation was recorded from November 2013 - January 2014 in Kraków, Poland at the Open Mic at Kładka Cafe by Philip Soanes
What this compilation represents is the wonderful spirit of the Open Mic, which works so well because of the people who attend it and support it by playing or appreciating the music of the performers.
It features 12 tracks from different acts from Poland and also from countries such as Germany, Slovakia, the Dominican Republic, Ireland, Norway and England.
Listen or download digitally here. Physical CD is sold out.
Rusted Sounds is the solo project of Philip Soanes. Philip originates from Dublin, Ireland but is currently based in Bratislava, Slovakia. In the past he played music with Grace Beneath The Pines, See-Saw, Frank's Hard Drive, The Sunday Sessions and Boys on Bicycles. He has released many solo albums over the years in very small amounts as something to give to friends.
Alone With a View was his first official release as a solo artist. This collection of honest, stripped-down songs were written and recorded in his bungalow in Krakow in the winter and spring of 2012 / 2013.
Alone With a View can be bought in digital or in CDr form with limited handmade packaging here.
A Game With Masks is his second release. It is a more eclectic mix of songs with experimentation in different styles. The album was recorded at different homes in Kraków and Bratislava in 2014 and early 2015. Stream or purchase it here.
His newest release is From The Wall To The Door. It's a more stripped back collection of songs with only acoustic instruments. There are 13 tracks including one instrumental. It's available as a digital download or as a CDr in an eco handmade sleeve. Listen or purchase the CD here .
A Game With Masks- Sphere Music
Alone With A View - Caleidoscoop (Netherlands)
See-Saw is a musical collaboration between Eryk Czarniecki and Philip Soanes which began in June 2011 in Kraków. Eryk is a native of Poland, whereas Philip originates from Ireland. Since playing their first concert back in October 2011, See-Saw has been gigging pretty regularly and has performed in a variety of venues but has always seemed more at home when playing with a stripped down sound without any form of amplification.
The debut release by See-Saw is entitled Chapter One, and has been described as “minimal acoustic” but additional instruments crop up on occasions. As it was recorded entirely at home, this natural approach to intimacy and warmth has been preserved and resonates in this recording.
Chapter One by See-Saw can be bought in digital or in CDr form with limited handmade packaging here.
Reviews in Polish
Krakowska Scena Muzyczna
We Are From Poland
Radio Frrapo (Germany)
Hayden Berry hails from the north of England and has been writing, recording and performing his own songs for over fifteen years. Having been signed to Sire Records (Warner Bros.) as singer with the band, Ripcord, in the late 1990s, Hayden now writes and performs his own gently crafted acoustic/folk based songs and cites Leonard Cohen, Tim Buckley and Nick Drake as some of his biggest influences.
Following the recording of Ripcord’s debut album and the subsequent break-up of the band, Hayden recorded his first solo album, Music from My Mountain, in Switzerland. This was followed by Moving Along (2004), What Do You Believe In? (2006), and This Too Will Pass(2008).
The World and Me has been described as being more "ambiently upbeat" and was initially released in 2012 on the British based Preserved Sound label. Hayden sometimes enlists the help of other members of the Preserved Sound community on bass, drums and effects when playing live.
The World and Me by Hayden Berry can be bought in digital or in CDr form with limited handmade packaging here.