New to Me – The Middle East, Common Tongues, Chad Van Gaalen and Shotgun Jimmie

The Middle East

This Australian band has a distinctly laid back americana folk feel to it what with the banjos and picked guitar, and the nice harmonies are of course likely to lead to easy Fleet Foxes comments (as does anything these days, hard to remember that FF didn’t invent harmonies). The glorious summery feel to the Hunger Song is finished off with some nice strings towards the end. Their debut CD, I Want That You Are Always Happy is due out here in the UK at the start of June and can be pre-order at Amazon, amongst other places and further, frankly rather lovely, tracks from the album can be heard on their MS site.

The Hunger Song

Common Tongues

This disgracefully young five piece from Brighton are clearly part of the current British folk swathe with with added twists of americana deep south flavours as well. They elicit in me the same slightly wistful sentiment I get from Stornoway, with whom they are bound to be compared given that they share the same strong vocal skills and bouncy instrumental accompaniment – not that this should be seen in any way as a bad comparison. Their first single, Jumping Ship is released at the end of May through Something Nothing Records although I can find no links yet to pre-orders. A young band distinctly worth following up and one imagines probably good fun in a live setting.

Jumping Ships

Chad Vangaalen

An apparently reclusive, or at least a Calgary resident not fond of wandering far from his home where he creates his art and music, Chad Vangaalens latest album, Diaper Island is due for release on May 17 via Sub Pop and can be pre-ordered here. Judging by the lovely, fragile track Sara from the album, there is a vocal quality redolent of the excellent Tyler Ramsey. My penchant for all things slightly folky and with a North American twang must be pretty evident by now and here is another fine artist to accompany both sunny days in the country and, one suspects, cosy nights by the fire – intimate and personal stuff indeed.


Shotgun Jimmie


Another Canadian, this time from Sackville, New Brunswick and not such a laid back chap. His version of rock and rock is delightfully casual and a little sloppy (in the nicest way), rolling along very nicely like Spoon might do if they weren’t so uptight all the time. There is some good bio notes and all on You’ve changed Records, his label’s site right here. His latest CD Transistor Sister can also be bought through the site here and is well worth checking out.

Late Last Year

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