Review: Understated and underrated Grey Reverend deserves worship

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ACCORDING to Last.fm, Grey Reverend, who is preparing to release his second album A Hero’s Lie, has a paltry 12,505 listeners.
By way of comparison, according to the music site, Michael Kiwanuka has 164,888 listeners, Ben Howard has 372,251 listeners, Jose Gonzalez has 1,223,562 listeners, Bon Iver has 1,478,963 listeners – you get the picture, Grey Reverend has a pretty small flock at present.
Despite high profile collaborators in the form of Bonobo and Cinematic Orchestra, Grey Reverend’s touching acoustic guitar compositions have slipped largely under the mainstream radar.
It is, quite simply, a travesty.
The Brooklyn singer-songwriter, real name L.D Brown, crafts compositions that are cathartic and emotional yet simple and understated.
And on this collection, produced by Grey Reverend himself, the added swells and production really bring the raw acoustic and crooning vocals of the music out of its shell – whether through the sweeping majesty of Postcard or The Payoff for instance, or the more subtle work like little piano touches on tracks like Everlasting.
Hopefully this LP will bring out a deservedly bigger congregation to hear the Grey Reverend in action.
5/5

Download: Mary At Midnight covers Elton John

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IT’S bewitching hour here at Sound Advice – London-based singer songwriter Mary At Midnight has covered Elton John’s Tiny Dancer and you can grab one here.
A spokesman for Mary At Midnight – whose debut single Heads Will Roll was released this week – said: “A little bit Indian, a little bit English, Mary at Midnight couples live instruments with dreamy sampled beats, blending them with words often born from the chromosomes of too little sleep and an over-active imagination.
“The odd tabla beat or harmonium drone is wrapped up in a comforting blanket of satisfying electro beats and ethereal vocals.”
To get your free download of the Elton John classic click here – Mary at Midnight – Tiny Dancer

Review: Ron Sexsmith’s latest endeavour

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IT SOUNDS like songsmith Ron Sexsmith’s latest effort, Forever Endeavour, was a labour of love – he really should shout about it.
Because the folky Canadian singer songwriter’s new album is a bittersweet sounding collection, relaying tales of mortality and of love lost, but not in a melodramatic way.
Now Sexsmith’s songs are all well-crafted, stripped down, full of clever wordplay and delicate musical ornamentation.
The problem here is that because of this soft approach, he rarely grabs the listener’s attention – this is highlighted by the few songs where he does, such as adding the New Orleans-style backing band to Me Myself And Wine.
It’s all too easy for this collection to become background music, like some singer at the back of a crowded bar room, without a concerted effort of the listener’s part, and this is a shame – I would wager most people who listen to Forever Endeavour don’t end up actually hearing it at all.
3/5

Review: Anything In Return is Toro Y Moi’s best yet

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TORO Y Moi, the musical moniker of Chaz Bundwick, can be harder to pin down than a greased bull – and outrageously good new LP Anything In Return continues this slippery trend.
Straddling the spheres of producer and singer/songwriter, in the past these two approaches have been at times at loggerheads, leading to his work being defined by its genre-defying status rather than its quality – but the balance here is just glorious.
The first thing you notice is the production here is just gorgeous, full of warm, rich, Four Tet esque swells, fuzzy bass throbs, house drum beats and touches of brilliance throughout.
But as you delve deeper, beneath this tapestry of sheen, it becomes clear that the songs on Anything In Return, such as single Say That or highlight High Living, would all work without this detailed attention – I’d gladly listen to Anything in Return Unplugged, should it ever happen, Mr Y Moi!
Quite simply, it’s a career best effort for Toro Y Moi. I shall be returning to listen to Anything In Return more than a few times I’d wager.
5/5

Download: Free The Tallest Man On Earth track

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STANDING astride the singer songwriter world like a colossus is The Tallest Man On Earth, whose soaring Dylanesque acoustic work is sure to lift any listener.
And with a new album, There’s No Leaving Now, coming out next month, Sound Advice can offer up a free download of a new track, 1904.
Make a date with 1904 by clicking here – it certainly shows Kristian Matsson continuining his lofty musical ambitions.