New To Me – New To You… snowbird

Todays NTM-NTY is actually more of a welcome back to a couple of long lost musical friends!

It’s easy to forget about musicians when they’re not huge names and don’t have huge budgets to promote new records or labels breathing down their necks to make sure their releases are frequent but not too frequent!

A quick look at the 2014 release schedule shows a number of old pals are coming back to see us. Stephen Malkmus has already popped up with what if nothing else is a strong contender for first album of the year! Wild Beasts returned via a new single and the promise of a new album. Though I think I’ve got a new contender for most exciting/further away release of the year, on November 10th (of 2014!) the ever wonderful Mark Kozelek releases not just a new album, but an album entitled “Sings Christmas Carols” which sounds frankly amazing!

SNOWBIRD

Who?
Well in some ways it’d be fair to say snowbird are no strangers to most of us. Snowbird are no less than Cocteau Twins instrumentalist turned Bella Union record boss (aka the greatest man alive) Simon Raymonde and American Singer-Songwriter (and apparently according to wikipedia knitware designer) Stephanie Dosen. Simon was Stephanie’s record boss when she released the excellent A Lily For The Spectre way back in 2007.

What?
They were born when Simon stumbled across a baby grand piano going free (minus the transportation costs) It was the first time he’d played in a while, and he soon wrote a number of short piano pieces. He sent them over to Stephanie who layered her beautiful vocal over the top and thus the snowbird sound was born! They were fleshed out by some special guests but it’s these piano pieces that hold the album together and really create the bands sound. In terms of reference points Bat For Lashes is top of the pile!

Where?
Well the musics from London, and the vocals are from North Carolina, which by my reckoning means they were made somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Which is weird because there aren’t many studios there.

When?
Simon first heard Stephanie back in 2006, and was her label boss for a bit, so it’d be fair to say they formed snowbird sometime between then and now. They released debut single Porcelain at the back end of 2013, and their debut album moon is out on January 27th. As well as the album, it will be accompanied by a remix album luna by electronic artist RxGibbs.

Why?
Well for starter there’s the list of special guests! No less that Philip Selway & Ed O’Brien from Radiohead for starters, add a touch of Midlake via guitarist Eric Pulido and drummer McKenzie Smith, a splash of Lanterns On The Lake’s Paul Gregory, and just a pinch of Jonathan Wilson. That’s a pretty impressive line up isn’t it? Plus Miss Dosen herself has a rather wonderful voice which I’m delighted is finally back in the public eye after disappearing off the planet for the last six years & it’s a welcome return from Mr Raymonde too!

Why not?
It’s pretty ethereal stuff, and might not be arresting enough for some, indeed it could be seen as a little too inoffensive to some more abrasion seeking ears. The remix from RxGibbs isn’t massively to my taste, though it certainly provides an interesting side note, and should ensure there’s something in it for fans of Jon Hopkins as well as his latest partner in crime Natasha Khan!

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