On March 21st, Steve Andrews, AKA the Bard of Ely, showed us a brand-new facet to his consistently conscious talent with the release of ‘Mother Nature Rap’. The rap track drifts away from his usual psych-folk style but keeps the heart of it behind the canter of the rapped vocals, blistering synths and heavy rattle of the 808s.
I can safely say that I haven’t been this arrested in a socially dissecting hip hop track since Scroobius Pip launched his Logic of Chance album. The vocals take on a brand-new style of conviction as Andrews takes a no holds barred approach to announcing the impending climate doom and pointing out that we are already living it.
There is no shortage of cutting lyricism, but my personal preference has to fall upon, Mother nature ain’t here for your dream, You’re in hers, so let it be, and The Mother’s lungs have been cut out, It’s happened but it’s obscene. The imagery is as haunting as it is captivating in its unflinching John Cooper Clarke style.
Mother Nature Rap was recorded in Portugal at Verdelho Studio with Ricardo Verdelho as the producer. It also features synth overdubs by Crum (ex-Hawkwind, ex-Moonloonies). It is now available to stream and purchase via Bandcamp.
How could we possibly forget Steve Andrews after first hearing his insightfully sharp single, Where Does All the Plastic Go, in 2019? Many artists claim that their music is for the good of humanity, then conflate that with ego-centred lyricism. The famous Bard of Ely stays true to his unrelenting MO. Case in point, his latest single, Time for Ocean Aid, which invites you to consider the intangible mess we’ve made.
Sure, songs that paint a picture of where our toxic traits have led us aren’t an all-out dopamine riot. Especially when we’re already contending with an endless series of tragedy, sleaze and disaster. But in such a stunning way, Andrews used Time for Ocean Aid to pull listeners out of any sense of self-centred malaise and gave them something real to fight for. The psychy feat of intricate and artful folk-rock is an all too efficacious reminder that the world isn’t happening to you. It’s happening, and you happen to be here with the same responsibility as everyone else to leave it in a habitable state for every species.
Honestly, we couldn’t rate Steve Andrews more. He easily transcends heartfelt and litters your mind with a conscience. Which is, of course, the only acceptable form of littering.
Time for Ocean Aid is now available to stream on Spotify.
The Cautionary Tale of Richard Manuel is the indie psych-folk debut single from Woodstock-based, California-born singer-songwriter Marc Delgado. If the styles of Paul Simon, the National and Dinosaur Jr coalesced, the sonic result wouldn’t be all too far from Delgado’s debut that pulls the storytelling roots of folk up through a sleek and modern production.
The kicking beat, lofty colourful guitars and spacy synths converge to create a psychedelic platform for Delgado’s instantly magnetic vocals that draw you in by the unapologetically unadulterated passion to provide 3:28 minutes of total aural escapism.
The Cautionary Tale of Richard Manuel is now available to stream via Spotify.
‘The Rain Stopped’is the latest album released by Strasbourg-residing Iranian duo, Makichi. Their mystically experimental 10-track take on indietronica incorporates the work of Iranian poets, pulls the soul out of Persian rhythm and manifests through darkly psychotropic melodies.
The album kicks off with a semi-spoken-word piece that sets the evocative tone and prepares you for what’s to come from the border and a boundary-obliterating release that explores the duo’s experience living in and moving from Iran. But The Rain Stopped is just so much more than an account of experience. The concept album acts as a guide toward enlightenment and redemption; follow the ambient grooves, you’ll find it.
‘Wrong Humans’ follows the prelude with bass-riding indietronica beats which melodically shatter the monocultural mould beneath the overlapping dual vocals. Despite the diversity between the singles on the release, Instrumentalist and producer Ash made it practically impossible to pick out reference to other artists. Their artistic vision looks far beyond the usual fusing, reviving and recycling of former and current artists work. The album is an invitation to find piety, despite religion, despite nationality. Whatever corner of the globe you currently find yourself on, whatever the state of your faith, The Rain Stopped has something to offer everyone.
The Rain Stopped officially released on March 4th, 2021. It is now available to stream via Spotify.