Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou – Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou
[tags: acoustic, folk, female vocalist, husband and wife duo, great, 2010]
Listen while reading:
It seems very odd to me that a label with two outstanding releases this year gets nearly zero blog coverage. I’m talking about Loose Records, well known for having artists like William Grant Conspiracy, Blanche or The Duke & The King on board. In 2010 it released the wonderful debut of Danny And The Champions Of The World called Streets Of Our Time, a country outlet with many outstanding tracks and a very own, unique character (read a review over at Songs: Illinois); and the self-titled debut of Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou, an absolutely breathtaking acoustic folk record I’m going to review in a second. Sometimes I don’t understand what’s going on in the blogosphere and if you read many blogs and you try to observe the structures, you will notice that there seem to be very few records that actually get much of what is called blog love. Sure, there are tons of tons of albums out there and all the blogs constantly feature tons of new artists and releases, but if you watch out for records that really get features, say, on at least 5 or 6 different blogs, you’ll notice that those albums are the ones that will be in most of the year’s end lists. I don’t want to say that the indie blogging scene got a bit flat, a bit monotonous, but there seems to be a secret mechanism that separates the often featured albums from the lost and forgotten ones. And I can tell for sure that quality isn’t a factor here. Just look at albums like Beach House’s fanatically praised (but relatively lame) Teen Dream or jj’s (much, much better) No. 3 or Owen Pallett’s (rightly lauded) Heartlands, not to mention Joanna Newsom’s (very good, but far away from perfect) Have One On Me or First Aid Kit’s (maybe the worst folk record 2010 so far and absolutely not worth any penny) The Big Black And The Blue or last year’s hyped The Antlers’ indie album Hospice and totally overhyped The XX’s debut XX. I could go on further and further, but you get the picture. I think every attentive indie and or folk blog reader will notice mostly all names and has listened to most of the records at least once. And also CFM featured some of the above mentioned bands here, because I liked the music and I wanted to share my thoughts on it with you. But the fact is, if I wouldn’t have done so, would there have been any loss? I don’t think so and still I like to write down my own thoughts, but this is another topic. What I try to show is, that the indie scene seems not to be so indie at all, for I bet that any upcoming album of the mentioned artists will get plenty of praise, equal if it is good or bad (and I don’t claim for myself being able to judge an album as objectively good or bad, because there is no such objective truth in arts). But I think you understand what I mean – and I don’t think, that this is really problematic, because that’s how the system works, the popular get more popular (The Mountain Goats on the telly…), the rich get richer blabla. And I also think that featuring popular indie artists is totally ok, because most of them really make good music (best example: J. Tillman); but as I thought about what blog love means, it seemed that this term only applies to artists and albums that don’t need much of it anymore for they are loved already – and by many. In the end all I wanted to say is: I’m startled why Loose Records’s Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou haven’t got some more blog attention yet, and why Loose Records wasn’t recognized more outside of the UK in 2010 while having released two really strong albums. What a stupidly long introduction!
The husband and wife duo from London/UK shows with the self-titled debut, that contemporary folk music from the UK is more attractive than ever – and they don’t need to be experimental or genre breaking to do so, because they just play solid folk music straight from the heart – and this creates the honesty in music I often speak of. Just take the album opener Allotment Song: some gently played acoustic guitar, two beautiful female voices, some harmonica at the end and very decent percussions, just to give some rhythm, very much located in the back of the overall sound. How does it work out?, well, it’s just beautiful and so is the rest of the album, sometimes a bit more reduced like in the minimalistic One Wednesday In June, sometime a bit more aroused, more vital as in Some Dreaming To Do. Listening to the tunes, you feel set back to the 70s folk music, some late hippie spirit, some more reflected lyrics, not just free love and dope. England is one of those tracks that combine both influences to a heart-warming track you can feel with, you can think about.
I wrote about Vashti Bunyan earlier and I clearly see some parallels in sound and song structure though not all tracks remind me of her. Heaven Knows is more of a folk-pop track with some gospel similarities, but not pop as in indie pop, but pop as in not like Vashti Bunyan. Recently featured Shelley Miller could be named, but without all the jazz. But maybe this comparison isn’t too good, because Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou are much more folksy. I really like the guitar and the banjo and the characteristic vocal intonation in These Are Your Days, with slightly country influences and again very decent and careful percussion work. Another outstanding track is Sally Took The Ivory with what seems to be nearly muted flute play in the back (maybe it’s a synthesizer but I don’t think so). This track also shows another very distinguishable feature of the whole record: the play with the volume. More than many other records, the band knew what have to be in the foreground, what in the back, the quietness as an essential part of the whole debut makes it a highly pleasant experience to listen to.
As I said, Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou created a masterpiece of subtlety, a folk record that stands out – but sadly without the impact on the scene I wish it had. But hey, so it’s a hidden gem and it waits for you to be discovered. And you maybe have to spend some time discovering the record, for it is not the most intuitive one, but after three or four rounds in your player, you’ll be glad you have this fantastic 2010 album in your record collection. To get one, head over to Loose Records and buy it directly from there – and while you are surfing Loose, just order a copy of the great Danny And The Champions Of The World CD too. You won’t regret it. Both albums get CFM awesomeness guarantee. Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou comes with hand pressed tomato-seeds – what else do you want? (Maybe to visit their band homepage or MySpace)