photo grabbed from manchestertaper’s video recording

What can we say about Laura J Martin? Having heard her intricate, layered records we were somewhat surprised that she played this album launch with only a percussionist in tow. And only used him for two songs.

Feeding vocals, flute, mandolin, keys and a kalimba through a loop station, Ms Martin built up some dazzling textures that, unlike the work of some loop station devotees, always served the songs’ purposes rather than being used as purely novelty or embellishment.

And songs like these need no novelty effects to capture the imagination. Although her vocals might invite lazy references to Kate Bush and Joanna Newsom, there is something quite singular at play here: while the instrumentation and some of the subject matter conjure a very English rustic folkiness, there’s also a deep seam of oddness and otherness in these songs that pushes them into a territory that is very much their own.

Her set took in a good chunk of debut LP The Hangman Tree as well as a brand new song (“as fresh as your Sunday socks”) and culminated a colossal, dizzying cover of Kathy Smith’s It’s Taking So Long. I must confess ignorance of this particular song but I’m pretty sure the original cannot have sounded anything like this spiralling psychedelic layering of beats, mandolin, flute and vocal tics.

We got a great audio recording and a two-camera video recording of the whole gig and look forward to catching her set at the Sounds From the Other City festival in May.

Stream “Spy”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download complete show in FLAC format (click here)

Setlist:
Doki Doki
The Lesson
Fire Horse
Tom
Jesse
Sour Grapes
Spy
Salamander
It’s Taking So Long

If you download and enjoy this music we would fully expect you to support the artist by buying their records and attending their gigs. Laura J Martin’s official website is here and her debut album can be purchased from record shops of quality and distinction such as Jumbo Records and Piccadilly Records.

photo grabbed from manchestertaper’s video recording

Folks who were canny enough to arrive early to Laura J Martin’s sold out album launch at Dulcimer were treated to a short but captivating solo set from Jo Gillot.

Playing a borrowed guitar and winning over an audience impatient for the headline act, it’s easy to see why people such as Marc Riley and Steve Lamacq are singing her praises.

Her songs are a bewitching mix of the ancient and arcane and the everyday and mundane: just when you’re sure you’re listening to some antique folksong, she drops in a turn of phrase that brings you right back to the present. The overall effect is utterly beguiling: songs that feel like they’ve been around forever and yet get under the skin in a way that museum pieces never could.

We got a lovely clear recording and look forward to catching a longer set soon.

Stream “Staple You”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download complete show in mp3 format (click here)

Setlist:
Squirrel Away
Spectacular
The Sound It Makes
Travelling Raft
Beats the Leaves
Staple You

If you download and enjoy this music, we would fully expect you to support the artist by purchasing their music and attending their gigs. Jo’s recent album can be purchased here: http://jogillot.bandcamp.com/album/the-lido.

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