Niall Connolly has never shied away from his own artistry. In listening to his repertoire you’re unlikely to sense reluctance. Instead, the folk singer rushes headlong into his music, laying his soul bare for the world to witness. “In this house, if you wanna cry, you can cry,” he sings on his latest album, The Patience of Trees, out June 2. And with a shuddering breath, we believe him.
The Irish-born troubadour has been a steady presence in the New York City folk scene, telling his musical stories across the din of nondescript bars and Manhattan’s broad stages alike. At every Connolly gig audiences are ushered into his world of unflinching honesty and disarming resonance. Whether listening to him live or on recording, the listener is wrapped in a strange combination of isolation and warmth, a mix that leaves a profound effect: one of having been held and lonely at the same time. This is Connolly’s unique ability to transform his art into something capable of providing tangible comfort.
The album’s first single, “We Don’t Have to Talk About It”, approaches the topic of self-harm in this same manner. “I know you get tempted by the third rail late at night,” he sings, acknowledging and stripping the power away from one’s demons at the same time. The latest single, “It’s a Beautiful Life,” gives an unrelenting perspective of the struggles many of us endure and, ultimately, the love that attempts to pull us through. The song evokes the painful journey through mental health and offers a unique perspective of the collective’s ability to triumph by giving voice to our experiences.
“Out of the Light” feels like an offering at the altar of Leonard Cohen’s emotional legacy. Thoughtful and serene but also spare in its hints of loneliness as he observes “every kind of messy road that leads to love.” Similarly, “Orchids at the Supermarket” haunts like a Nick Drake ballad, making beauty out of brokenness. Yet despite the gentle presence of such ghosts, the presence of Connolly’s emotionality makes each song the kind of experience that only he can create.
The Patience of Trees is enriched by the presence of Connolly’s friends and collaborators, including Mick Flannery, Anna Tivel, E.W. Harris, Javier Mas, and Warren Malone. The arrangements of each track serve as an echo of their lyrical power, emphasizing the story at the center of each song. Expansively, the songs stretch out across the album to create a rich journey full of remarkable souls and powerful experiences. At once demanding and exquisitely comforting, The Patience of Trees takes us into our own depths and offers us solace.
“The clouds were forming question marks, like the sky was doubting me,” he sings in “A Cloud on the Summer Sun”. “I’ve got every right to be here, as much as everyone.” While his songs take us into the caverns of human struggle, likely to cause the sharp, stabbing breath of resonance as the days, weeks, years of tamping down our emotions burst to the surface, the underlying tenet of Connolly’s work is always hope. Aggressive fucking hope. No longer the lame figment to punk theology. His words and his music welcome us into a world where hope and kindness are the bravest of things. In his house, if we wanna cry, we can cry, but ultimately we will heal.
If you hadn’t heard, Thee Oh Sees are spending a massive amount of time on the road in 2023. They kick off the UK & Ireland leg of their tour this month, with Canada in June and apparently the rest of the world through September. Thank goodness, too, as we had been missing their energy, their sound perfectly executed by band members John Dwyer, Tim Hellman, Dan Rincon, Paul Quattrone, and Tomas Dolas.
Along with their live shows comes a re-examination of some of Thee Oh Sees’ former work. In 2012, the band performed at Emo’s East in Austin, marking their first appearance at Austin Psych Fest. This particular show is included in new vinyl releases titled Live at LEVITATION. Mixed by John Dwyer and mastered by JJ Golden, the music is being released on 12″ colored wax.
“Block of Ice” live from Emo’s East in 2012 is a remarkable example of the showmanship this incredible rock outfit has. Check out its premiere (to a mass audience) below.
The opening punchy power chords of Meg Myers‘ new single “Me” announces not only the forthcoming album T/IA but the importance of self-love. Waking from a fretful sleep, Myers opens her eyes to a sunny day with enlightenment on transcendent love. The simple solid bright colors of Myers’s little room create a happy vibe for its inhabitant despite its limited space, and it echoes a childhood imagination reminiscent of a grade school party this Valentine’s love season. Like the kids and Myers, we all yearn for love and acceptance. “Me” shows us how we can first love ourselves and always have this inner strength.
The part of one continues as Myers gazes out the window, not in lonely longing but in a happy daydream. Unafraid, she looks into the camera to assert her “someone else” is “me.” We see her lean into her mirror to kiss her reflection, demonstrating a joyful acceptance. From forehead to looking glass forehead, we see the singer enjoy her own company. She knows the transcendence of this relationship, and she claims this level of greatness for a potential romantic one.
Banging out those steady chords on a little blue piano, she maintains this love foundation. A mascara-covered eye opens over the lens so we can see from Myers’s perspective. We too can transcend the lies lobbed at us about dating culture so we can be rooted and ready to accept a suitable someone else. No more will Myers be a victim of manipulation. As she basks in her presence, she will carry on as strong as the “Me” beat, bright as her single room and transcendent of her self-love. Romance can take it or leave it.
Tennessee-bred indie rock outfit Colony House – expertly comprised of artists Will and Caleb Chapman, Scott Mills, and Parke Cottrell – celebrates the release of their new full-length The Cannonballers today. Equal parts thrilling and entrancing, the album is a wild ride from the intro of the initial track “Landlocked Surf Rock” to the very last notes of “I’m Not Dyin’.” Chapman’s vocals are smooth, the lyrics are relatable, and the indie rock edge is cut slightly with high production quality.
Admits the band: “We tried to stay away from getting stuck on a theme, but I think being back home for such an extended period of time after traveling so hard for the last ten years informed a lot about this album.”
In fact, their home base served as the main inspiration for the album. Says frontman Caleb Chapman: “We got to see the seasons change and experience our home again for the first time in a long time. I think I was falling back in love with Tennessee, and I started revisiting some old memories and old relationships in my head that pertained to certain geographical locations as well as just emotional places I had spent my most formative years.”
We suggest melting into tracks like “One of Those Days” and “Don’t Give Up on Me” when in a contemplative mood, and turning up the volume on tracks like “Landlocked Surf Rock” and the beach-worthy title track.
Singer, actress, and author Sophia Marie is no stranger to heartbreak. Or so the debut single from her sophomore effort, a song titled “Femme Fatale” would have you believe. With a distinct nod to late 80s/early 90s pop, this track absolutely glitters sonically from the first chord to the very last line. But the subject matter? A bit more tempestuous.
Admits Sophia Marie of the track:
‘Femme Fatale’ is an 80s-inspired ballad that depicts a narrator engaging in reckless, degenerate, and overtly flirtatious behavior because the one man that would make her calm, steady, and stable doesn’t love her back.
It’s a song that attempts to hide its insecurity but then blazes it out in the open, describing the narrator’s process of morphing into something she despises just to stoke envy in her lover’s heart. I was inspired by my own experiences, exaggerating my changes in personality when I became jaded or disillusioned with love, but I also drew heavily upon iconic historical and literary femme fatale figures like Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, and Moulin Rouge’s Satine to give it a sexy ambiance that causes dissonance with its depressing words.
“Femme Fatale” works up a frenzy lyrically, with a disarmingly smooth sound. Get your first listen below.
Pre-save the track here and keep up with Sophia Marie here.
If you want to be in your feels with me, this playlist is definitely for you 🙂 I love that all of these songs have a storytelling aspect to them that makes you feel like you are experiencing the moment/emotion with the singer. One of my favorite parts about music is that even if you didn’t go through exactly what the songwriter did, you’re able to understand and relate to the narrative in your own way.