Friday, January 8, 2010

Three for Friday: Mike Coykendall, White Pines, Silent Paper Radios

Alright, I'm trying to get back in the groove after an unfortunately long absence, so I thought I'd start with three more under the radar singer/songwriters you might enjoy.

Mike Coykendall

You may not have heard the name mike Coykendall before, but you'll know the artists and bands he's recorded or performed with over the years, including M. Ward and Blitzen Trapper. Coykendall has also released his own music with various bands and even under his own name for years, though much of his stuff is apparently hard or impossible to find. I count myself lucky, then, that his latest effort, The Unbearable Likeness of Being, crossed my path recently as it's sure to go unfortunately unnoticed by most this year. On his new album, Coykendall's lo-fi pop sound covers territory ranging from psychedelia to folk to bluesy Americana in a brief but efficient 33 minutes that's consistently surprising and often fantastic. With highlights like the trippy haze of "Spacebaker Blues" and the alt-country balladry of "First Shot, Best Shot," he offers a generous amount of subtle yet impressive pop hooks and quirky, introspective songwriting that makes this record an enjoyably and genuinely unique experience.

You can hear/buy the album HERE.

White Pines

I'm a sucker for a good folk song, and Joseph Scott, recording as White Pines, has made several on his EP, A Face Made of Wood, released last year. Scott is a member of several bands (Canada, That's Him! That's The Guy!, and Saturday Looks Good To Me) that I haven't had the pleasure of hearing yet, but if this folk project of his is any indication, they're probably worth checking out as well. After extensive touring with his other groups, Scott took the time to record music as White Pines and then toured again for a while under that name with fellow indie folksters Cotton Jones. With its gentle, often sparse approach, this EP allows Scott's strong songwriting to shine over the acoustic guitars, banjo, and simple percussion that make up the instrumental backdrop to his introspective stories. Each of the five songs comprising the 22 minutes of the album are thoughtful and compelling, and if you haven't heard them already, you owe it to yourself to do so.


Silent Paper Radios

Dan Gubbins is a singer/songwriter out of London quietly making some truly beautiful music under the moniker Silent Paper Radios. After becoming disillusioned with creating electronic music, Gubbins fortunately turned to folk where he hopefully will spend some time as he's obviously found something in which he excels. With just a small assortment of acoustic instruments and his stirring tenor voice, Gubbins manages to captivate quite completely on his new and second EP, The Willow Tree, which he is releasing this month. Songs like the cold, dark "Upon Those Fields" and the more wistful "Willow Tree" have the kind of lonely, isolated sound you might hear on a Bon Iver record, though Gubbins more often sticks to the traditional side of folk for these five songs. He's still very undiscovered, but that's a fact I expect to change soon, so you might as well take a listen now to introduce yourself to this talented newcomer.