James Holt and Inez Hargaden are your spotlight artistes this week. Multi-intrumentalist James Holt transcends to Indie-pop greatness with his newest single release Little Green Light. This song has clearly everything it needs to break James Holt into the higher echelons of music makers. In quite stark contrast to James Holt’s toe tapping track is the gentle sounds of Inez Hargaden. Inez’s bell like clarity vocal delivery with plaintive guitar melodies is reminiscent of faraway singer/songwriter tunes. However, there’s a newness and fresh breeze running right the way through her song.
Moving on through the show despite Tobin’s hangover, we meet Winston Surfshirt. This causes a sense of disagreement in the studio as the two boys try to reach some common ground. Agreed the title of the band is epic, but the vocals at least cause some division. It’s New Music so there’s a saving grace that Richard may warm to Winston Surfshirt in future.
Dillon is our bookend artist for this week and opens with the classic tune Hey Beau. Tobin fills in the gaps about this photography student-cum-excellent musician. Furthermore, Tobin introduces us to Sleepertrain which proves so inspirational to Richard that he has gone and listened to the whole EP. In addition to listening to it, he’s recommending it. So Tobin has better luck with his music choices this week after surviving a recent grudge match with Richard.
As if that lot wasn’t enough to satiate even the most voracious musical appetite, we include Venezuelan legend Daniel Grau. The father of jazzanova is back after a thirty year hiatus with the epic El Magic Mundo de Daniel Grau. Our choice off of this essential recording is Andromeda. Listen to the show to find out what we think of this future classic. Plus, next week we have some very big news to announce on the show. So, settle in with this week’s show before the storm arrives.
- Hey Beau Dillon
- Need You Winston Surfshirt
- Empty Carriages Sleepertrain
- Andromeda Daniel Grau
- Little Green Light James Holt
- I’m Afraid Inez Hargaden
- Thirteen Thirtyfive Dillon
James Holt and the death of the American Dream
Inspiring and playful guitar riffs open up Little Green Light by James Holt, it’s immediately infectious. These melodies, however, quickly give way to swathes of very open and spacious sounding Indie-pop. The piano refrain is uplifting and helps the track work its way into your psyche. Despite its rather sombre look at a nation imploding in on itself to see much of its early hope and promise slide out of view, this song is uplifting. It’s also a very confident sounding track out of James‘ stable and will clearly pave the way for far more exploratory work in 2020 from this promising multi-instrumentalist.
James Holt – in his own words
‘Little Green Light’ by James Holt is the followup to ‘Come Out to Play’ and continues in a similar vein while exploring new sounds and drawing from different influences.
“It’s probably the most upbeat track I’ve released so far,” says singer/songwriter. “It’s a hybrid of sorts, fusing elements of disco, Latin American rhythms, and Johnny Marr jangly guitar lines, all with hints of The Beatles throughout.“
James Holt provides lead vocals, backing vocals and plays all instruments apart from drums and saxophone on ‘Little Green Light’ and has continued to use the production skills of Jim Spencer (Johnny Marr, The Charlatans) that has proved successful on his previous single releases.
Describing the lyrical themes James said, “Lyrically, it explores the fading glow of the American Dream from an outsider perspective, a central theme in The Great Gatsby (symbolised by a green light at the end of a dock). It traces the early-American ideals of freedom of opportunity, which encouraged many to emigrate there in the early 20th century, to the fulfilled dream of the moon landing (the event celebrates its 50th anniversary this year).”
Inez Hargaden shines a light through the mediocrity of singer/songwriters
Inez’s track I’m Afraid is hardly apologetic in it’s delivery. It sparkles from the very first note and promises of melodic resolution early on. As Tobin mentions, what Inez is doing here is hardly new, but it is masterfully delivered and draws from great performers of old. However, it’s so much more than that, you can hear the promise here and in fact the originality. Inez is aping no one here, she’s delivering fresh, original new sounds in an intimate and compelling way. What started as a nervous adventure into relocating to the other side of the planet has resulted in some essential listening material. Let’s hope Inez continues to create music as honest and original as this.
Inez Hargaden tells us more
I started singing when I was a kid, and for Christmas when I was 10, Santa brought me a guitar so that I wasn’t just singing by myself. however, I didn’t really start writing my own music until I moved away from Ireland to Canada at 21, most likely as a way of processing some fairly intense loneliness and homesickness. With that, I generally just write about my own experiences, be it in romantic relationships, friendships, or just how I interact with the world around me.
In the main, I tend to use songs as a way to compartmentalise emotions that are occupying space in my head, good or bad. I generally just hope that someone might identify with a feeling or experience that they hear in my songs, as human experiences tend to be pretty universal.
I wanted to play music, but was too lazy to learn other peoples’ songs.Inez Hargaden
When I think about my influences, I think about who’s albums I was blaring alone in my bedroom as a teenager. Mostly Joni Mitchell, Bic Runga, Carole King and Audioslave. Plus or minus the occasional AC/DC or Black Sabbath. Once I had a guitar teacher who led me down a soft-rock teenage-hood. Generally people who are doing something melodically interesting, or telling a story that I connect with.
With regards to “I’m Afraid”, I wrote it at the start of this year as I was gearing up to leave Toronto. It’s most likely about things running a little too smoothly and life appearing a bit too happy. An underlying fear that somehow something will surely go wrong to ruin it. A sense of impending doom, if you will.