Friday, 13 July 2012

The Best Male Voices

The Falsetto

Some of the best loved falsetto voices were The Beach Boys surfing California sound. There is something inspirational and heaven ward in the beauty of the high male voice – much more so than the female soprano voice.
The best known church choirs are the young male choristers. The falsetto was also often heard in the soul and Motown songs coming out of America. Are these voices taking us closer to heaven? They can be sweet and tender and they appeal greatly to women who melt and swoon over it.  For women they offer empathy and show the sensitive side of men.
Other examples of wonderful falsettos are the singers from Earth Wind and Fire; Freddy Mercury of Queen; The Bee Gees.

One of the greatest male singers ever was Jeff Buckley who blended his love of Nina Simone and Led Zeppelin to weave his wild vocal expressions that have influenced a new generation of male singers. Hybrid masculine and feminine sensibilities.
Hyden Thorpe of the Wild Beasts feels the falsetto expresses the vulnerable hurting side of yourself and pulls him out of the everyday experiences with a freer way of singing.

While I also enjoy the more rough edged male vocals given the choice I prefer the soaring high male voice.
My favourite soul singer was Otis Redding, along with pop singers John Lennon and the Bee Gees.  

some quotes from the  BBC 'Imagine' Just One Falsetto'-



Warpaint impressed the audience and they played an ethereal sound and the band describe themselves as experimental art rock. First girl band I've photographed. They were in soft-blue stage lighting which wasn't so easy to photograph!

Warpaint is an American art rock group from Los Angeles, formed in 2004. The band's members are Emily Kokal (vocals, guitar), Theresa Wayman (guitar, vocals), Jenny Lee Lindberg (bass, vocals), and Stella Mozgawa (drums, vocals). Warpaint released their debut EP, Exquisite Corpse, in 2009, followed by their full length album, The Fool, released in 2010. "Shadows" was the first single release from their debut and was playlisted by BBC Radio 1 as part of the In New Music We Trust. Warpaint toured in the United States and Europe in 2011 to promote the album. They played at Bonnaroo, Glastonbury Festival, Reading and Leeds Festivals, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Rock Werchter and Electric Picnic.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Rachel Sermanni, Katie Sutherland and Laura Marling

Laura Marling

Rachel Sermanni
Katie Sutherland


Folk vs Pop? – the different routes into the business.
I first saw Rachel Sermanni at a Celtic Connections Open Mic at the Concert hall a couple of years back and noticed then her lovely voice and songs. That year she won the open mic at the festival.

Also here in Glasgow I went to gigs by Katie Sutherland in 2009, another 22 year old Scottish singer with a lovely vocals and catchy songs who also looked good. Katie, who was then calling herself ‘Pearl and the Puppets’, had put her songs up on myspace where they drew the attention of record labels. Katie has a mesmerising honey toned voice live.
I know of several other young people given major record label deals a few years back – the thing is they are little more than an advance and young people should be warned of the pitfalls here.
This year Katie has been recording an album and using Pledge Music to fund this and Rachel is playing several UK festivals this summer. I can’t help wondering comparing the two that going via the folk route can bring more ‘respect’ generally in the industry but can also mean less attention sometimes. It’s a very strange thing music. At the end of the day it should be all about the talent.  

Then there is also the very young Laura Marling – who sings slightly folk influenced songs. She has a distinctive image and sound which is also key and her father runs a studio. She is also Neil Young influenced and her voice has edge and depth in it. She has managed that valued cross over between being respected and also having commercial successes. Laura is from Hampshire and drew attention on the London folk circuit and it seems to be easier for younger artists in London to get the right label deals into the industry. Marling is playing at the London Albert Hall this weekend.

Even more worrying is the lack of many young male singer songwriters with much depth or much to say- where are they? Marling became prominent with the London folk scene, she has also toured with a number of well-known indie artists in the UK. Her debut album Alas, I Cannot Swim and her second album I Speak Because I Can were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2008 and 2010 respectively. She won Best Female Solo Artist at the 2011 Brit Awards.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Scottish Bands Oran Mor final night Westend festival

Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells – whose 2011 album “Everything's Getting Older” recently won the first “Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award 2012. 

For the final night if the Glasgow Westend Festival 2012 The Oran Mor staged an event featuring several new bands and artists across their 3 venues.
The event featured headliners We Were Promised Jetpacks and more…in the Auditorium. Also in this Auditorium were – Monoganon (surely shades of the Low Anthem here), Miaoux Miaoux (one man electronic band recently album of the week on Radio Scotland’s Tom Morton show), Three Blind Wolves and Remember Remember.
Performing in the Whisky Bar were The Dirty Beggars, a bluegrass band who performed also at Celtic this year; plus Apples of Energy and Wounded Knee.
In the basement Venue were Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells whose 2011 album “Everything's Getting Older” recently won the “Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award 2012". Moffat’s sound has a rough edged voice with a deep oak timbre and he surely is a fan of Dundee’s treasure - humorous and quirky singer songwriter Michael Marra!  While Well’s piano provided the perfect backdrop. Also in the Venue - Gav Prentice, Olympic Swimmers, John Knox Sex Club, guitarist R M Hubbert and singer songwriter Withered Hand.

There were strong folk and singer songwriter elements to the event with many of the artists on the line-up and with WWPJ providing more of a rock band finale to the evening. 

Worth checking out Withered Hand, Dirty Beggars, Monoganon and Aiden Moffat and Bill Wells. Sorry no photos for this event. I have covered many events at the Oran Mor over the past years with the venue being my closest and probably my favourite Glasgow music venue.  I always thoroughly review the musicians I shoot and take a lot of care over the reviews I post. 
Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat's “Everything's Getting Older” has been named the “Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award 2012. The duo won £20,000 for their work, which was eight years in the making, beating acts such as Mogwai and Conquering Animal Sound. The Scottish Album of the Year (Say) prize is a new award billed as the equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize. The winning album was awarded by the Scottish Music Industry Association at a ceremony in Glasgow Film City.