It has been four years since Dutch/American singer/songwriter Signe Tollefsen played live at the Lamp in Hull. That night she wowed the audience with a set overflowing with songs of sheer beauty and extraordinary vocal prowess.
Since then Signe has been awarded Best Musician at Grote Prijs van Nederland, Holland's most prestigious New Talent competition for Alternative Music, shared a stage with Stephen Malkmus - former Pavement member- and written and recorded her eponymous debut album. Signe Tollefsen (by Signe Tollefsen) is a winning collection of folk noir, to reach for when you feel the desire to withdraw, from the rest of the world.
The album, recorded in ex 4 Non Blonde Linda Perry's studio, features Signe on vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonium, dulcimer and piano she is joined by other musicians playing an assorted array of instruments including pedal steel, slide and electric guitar, violin, mandolin, accordion, bass clarinet and trumpet. All these different sounds herald a change from the minimalist quality of previous work.
There is always a concern when an artist goes away to work with other musicians that the essence of what lured you in the first time, will be lost. I'm happy to report that this hasn't happened to Signe's songs.
Each accompanying instrument compliments the songs adding new depths. What once was raw naked emotion, now emerges older, wiser and wrapped in intrigue, mystery, and a sense of past.
The thirteen track album opens with It smells of you , a bittersweet reflection, sharing the moment when life is interrupted by lingering memories of a past love. During History Class, I get a fleeting reminder of Kirsty McColl, then I'm drawn into the fragile beauty of, You me and the brewers. Featuring legendary violinist Jerry Goodman, and a faithful banjo sound from Signe, this one contains a harmonised refrain to soften the stoniest heart.
The unmistakable King of the fire appears halfway through, along with Up to no good . Both are given more layers and come across sounding fuller, more complete somehow. In between sits My old man , an ode about the nature of love and of learning to live by its uncertainty.
Whether storytelling with sultry smokiness or singing distinctive tones of pure devotion, Signe has long been, one of the most captivating folk artists around, she now has her first album to confirm it.
Signe Tollefsen will be touring the UK throughout April and appearing on BBC's Raw Talent. Her debut album is to be released 7th June 2010 through Corazong Records.
Album Reviews - Nat Johnson and the Figureheads - Roman Radio (Damaged Goods) By Dick Spring
For 21 years now, the Damaged Goods label has brought the world a riot of punk rock
and guitar pop bands, even 'discovering' the Manic Street Preachers along the way.
Alongside this indulgence and guiding the career of medway marauders like Billy Childish,
Thee Headcoats, Pete Molinari etc, it seems to have a penchant for an
interesting female vocal as well.
There seems to be a similarly diverse strategy to this also, with the likes of Helen Love
alongside Fabienne Delsol, and label stalwart Holly Golightly.
EP Reviews - The Sugars - Gossip By Steve Rudd
They might be called The Sugars, but not everything about this band is sweet, for their confrontational
rock n roll sound is dark and deadly in equal measure, as exhilarating elements of Blues and Soul creep
into their arrangements to make their music all the more interesting and engaging.
Released through Bad Sneakers Record, Gossip is a sensational tune, anchored by Alex Lewis's irresistible
beat, a funk-tastic bass-line, and genuinely cool
Single Reviews - Hey Negrita - You Can Kick Reviewed by Steve Rudd
London-based boys Hey Negrita have been rightfully turning heads with their succulent blend of Blues, Rock and Americana since 2002, and this, their third studio album, helps to further cement their reputation as a highly original band par excellence.
Right from the opening strains of Room Service through to the final chord progression of The Last Thing That I Do, the listener can't fail to be entranced by each and every track on this 12-song-strong wonder.
Single Reviews - Plough and Orion by Skinny Lister Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Scheduled for release on August 24, this single from London-based outfit Skinny Lister is a simply divine song which deserves as much radio-play as it can muster. Anchored by an irresistible melody and a soothing vocal performance, it coolly tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers, detailing the intolerable cruelty of being away from somebody that you truly adore.
A mid-paced gem of a tune, this is Alternative Indie-Pop as it's meant to be, with
CD Reviews - Winds Of Time - Glenn Williams and The Ullbillies (Lazy Swede Productions) By Jim Soars - Courtesy Of Maverick Country Music Magazine
Hull's very own Glenn Williams is one of the hardest working composers and musicians in the UK country roots crossover genre. His latest release Winds of Time highlights his song writing credentials with ten new tracks making their first appearance.
Again ably assisted by his regular band The Ullbillies that comprise guitarist / percussionist / keys
Album Reviews - Horse Guards Parade 'EP' (Download from iTunes) By Nick Quantrill
Formed by former Salako front-man, James Waudby, Horse Guards Parade are one of Hull's hidden treasures.
Describing themselves as 'psychedelic anti-folk', this debut EP is, as you might expect, a mixed
bag of sounds and ideas. Lead track, As The Plane Lifted Its Wheels is a galloping number which
sounds like the soundtrack to a fight in an old country and western movie.
CD Reviews - London! Paris! New York! Rome! - Andy Mackay and The Metaphors By Michelle Dee
When you get sent a random CD from an unknown act doing covers, you may not hold out much hope.
The track titles read like pretty standard stuff but there's nothing ordinary in the hands
of Andy Mackay and the Metaphors.
Five musicians, including current members of Roxy Music, Andy Mackay and
Paul Thompson, who almost manage to disguise the original tunes completely.
Album Reviews - David Ward Maclean - Acts of Faith By Tim Roux
David Ward Maclean's album Acts of Faith is a dark, pure act of profound courage, more a statement of loss of faith, or of an abandoned search for it, than anything as life-affirming as the title might suggest.
'cause these acts of faith are killing me
and I still haven't seen a sign
of anything that brings reason to this life.'
In fact, the theme of the songs is
Album Reviews - The Alps ... Something I Might Regret By Steve Rudd
The debut album from one of the most exciting bands in the UK right now, The Alps are not your average band, primarily because they extract the most appealing elements of the Pop, Indie and Rock genres and mix them up to stunning effect. As a result, this eleven-track LP is a veritable whirlwind of irresistible melodies and swooning vocal performances.
Single Reviews - Henry Priestman - The Chronicles of Modern Life (Island Records) By Nick Quantrill
Quietly released on Stiff Records last year, the buzz around Henry Priestman's debut album has been
steadily building over the last few months and rightly so. It's been a long time out of the
limelight for the former member of The Christians, but the wait has been worthwhile.
Dismissed by some press as a grumpy old man, nothing could be further from the
Single Reviews - Glen Strachan ... 8 Love Rivals By Steve Rudd
It's hard to believe that British singer-songwriter Glen Strachan used to front
Uxbridge-based Alt.-rockers The Bed, but it's true.
The music that he's producing these days is a far cry from when bands such as
The Smashing Pumpkins were influencing him to pump up the volume,
because the eight bewitching songs that grace his latest album,
Single Reviews - Robert Prekop ... Dirt of Time By Steve Rudd
Robert Prekop is a young singer-songwriter who is currently residing in Berlin. Anchoring the majority of his soul-stirring songs with compelling acoustic-based melodies, he is building a reputation for himself in the capital of Germany by playing at Open Mic nights where he airs his material.
The demos of a batch of songs he has recently posted on
Music Band Biog - One Way Out
One Way Out is a four piece electric blues band formed in 2005.
Our music is influenced by the likes of Howling Wolf, BB King, Sonny Boy Williamson,
The Rolling Stones and many traditional blues artists from the 1920s to the 1980s.
One Way Out is:
Pete Sanderson,Thurstan Binns and Rob GoldbergRead more...
Album Reviews - KIERONONONON Three Man Party (Roxxor Records) By Michelle Dee and Bella Wykes (Age 11)
Three Man Party by Kieronononon is the fourth release by
three-piece outfit Orta, goatboy and floatstarpx.
It delivers fuzz punk, electro junk, digitized DIY horror phunk; despite the
typo on the CD.
Spectral to Medieval metal influences abound on the six track EP containing
intriguing titles that suggest snippets of odd conversation real or imagined.
CD Reviews - Mount Demo By Michelle Dee
You never know when you get sent something out of the blue whether you are going to uncover a gem.
Hassle opens with a funereal bass line that threatens to vibrate and shake the speakers to pieces.
This auspicious intro is eventually followed by a splintered vocal coming from the wrong end of a whisky bottle (or the right end depending on your point of view) that then leans lazily sideways and suggests
Single Reviews - The Alps - Obstacle Race By Steve Rudd
Taken from the Greenwich-based band's stunning album Something I Might Regret, this gloriously shimmering single is their sixth, and it's a heartfelt ode to a relationship that's going through bit of a rough patch.
Such a thing is immediately obvious as frontman Daniel Heptinstall coolly croons, 'Lost in the shadows with no way out,' before going on to proffer a glimmer of salvation for the
Album Reviews - Circadian By Farino Reviewed By Michelle Dee
Yet another act from the Purple Worm Records stable, Farino ask you to join
them on an evocative instrumental journey with a lively Latino sound.
With seven well crafted tunes overflowing with passion and technical prowess,
Circadian speaks directly to lovers of the Spanish guitar.
Circadian is filled with bright, florid multi layered refrains incorporating deft
fingering, sunny harmonics and top end thrills.