[TMN PREMIERE] Benjamin Francis Leftwich – In the Open EP

The mark of truly inspirational music is something that evokes a strong emotional response. This could be feelings of joy and excitement, the need to hang out with friends for an epic evening, or heart-wrenching sadness. Regardless of what that emotion may be, you know once you’ve experienced it that you’ve heard something truly great. Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s work does just that. His ethereal vocals and emotionally crafted lyrics dig deep into planes of your subconscious to bring forth previous experiences and the feelings associated with them.

In the title track “In the Open,” (which has been available for streaming for the past month) Ben has crafted an uplifting sound using soft acoustic guitar strumming, tribal drumming, and welcoming strings. His lyrics, as usual, do an impressive job at creating a story in your mind. It’s always important for a title track to be the shining star since it’s bearing the name of the EP, and this doesn’t disappoint.

“Break the Day Open” provides vocals that glide over strumming notes with wistful lament. This track gave us quite the emotional experience, as we wondered what experiences crafted these soul-gripping words. This was our favorite on the EP, and is the perfect track for deep personal reflection.

The remaining two tracks on the album are equally as impressive. “Manchester Snow” has a hauntingly calming sound to it, while “Is That You on That Plane” features painfully beautiful lyrics, and gorgeous added female harmonies.

We’ve always been a fan of BFL’s work, and this new EP (Out 11/19) bears our same level of appreciation as any of his previous bodies of work. You may have already heard the title track, “In the Open,” as he made it available to stream it a little while ago, but the three other tracks along with it are an exclusive premiere here on The Music Ninja. Take some time to digest his music, as he’s one of the best new songwriters out there.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich
In The Open
Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Break The Day Open
Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Manchester Snow
Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Is That You On That Plane
Related items:

[Folk Rock] Lady Lamb the Beekeeper – Rooftop

Originating from Portland, Maine is the folk artist Aly Spaltro, better known as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper. Having spent four years working at a DVD store which submerged her in a sea of films and soundtracks ranging from the Rocky Horror Picture Show to Spider-Man, this lovely artist has grown to produce a most unique and eclectic rock sound in the realm of folk music. Kicking off the tune with a lighthearted acoustic melody, the song progresses into a medley of upbeat instrumentals. Keep your ears to the ground for her debut studio album, Ripely Pine coming February 19th, 2013 via Ba Da Bing! Records.

Rooftop
Related items:

[Indie] Widowspeak – Ballad Of The Golden Hour

Brooklyn based folk-rock trio Widowspeak return with news of the band’s forthcoming sophomore album, “Almanac”, which is set for an early 2013 release. “Ballad Of The Golden Hour” is the first single to be lifted from the new long player and marks a step forward for Widowspeak. Recorded in a hundred year old barn in the Hudson River Valley, “Ballad Of The Golden Hour” builds from a dreamy, strummed introduction into a dynamic crescendo of sprawling guitars. Download the MP3 below and keep an eye out for Widowspeak’s Almanac LP, which drops on January 22nd, via Captured Tracks.

Widowspeak // Ballad of the Golden Hour
Related items:

[Folk] House of Wolves – 50′s

Los Angeles native, Rey Villalobos, is the genius behind solo project House of Wolves. Did you know his last name, Villa-lobos actually translates to House of Wolves from Spanish? Hey, you learn something new everyday. Rey grew up as a classically trained pianist, recalling Chopin as his main musical influence which pushed him to create such utterly sincere and engaging music.

After a long day of running around, arguing with annoying people and drinking too much coffee this track is the perfect way to relax. Rey’s voice illustrates beautiful peaks of high notes and the hazy piano notes being played with a small glimmer of the tambourine are making my nerves calm down. The lyrics to the track are romantic but up for interpretation, maybe you’re in a place in your life where music like this will stop you in your tracks and make you stop for a second. After purchasing his EP, Fold In The Wind, I have become a huge fan. House of Wolves is currently on tour in Europe, but let’s hope he comes to the states. Grab your copy of his EP here.

House of Wolves
50s
Related items:

[Folk Rock] The Amazing – Gentle Stream (Album Review)

The Amazing, a band hailing from Stockholm, Sweden is tough to categorize.  Their sound places them somewhere between a folk band and a jam band, producing an all-together unique sound. Interwoven guitars create beautiful melodies, punctuated by horns and wind instruments, and anchored with masterful drumming. The vocals drift effortlessly through each track, complementing the instruments perfectly. While The Amazing’s songs seem to draw from folk music, they are almost certainly a jam band. Out of the nine tracks on their album, Gentle Stream, five of them are six-plus minutes long. “Gentle Stream,” the title track of the album, which you can listen to below, is a perfect example.  At just over seven minutes in length, the song steadily builds to a melodic crescendo of electric guitars, horns, and drums.

While The Amazing may not produce songs that instantly draw you in with catchy pop hooks and predictable melodies, they make a different kind of music, the kind that is crafted down to every detail to provide the best listening experience possible. So, give them a shot and allow yourself to be taken in to the world of The Amazing.

The Amazing
Gentle Stream

Gentle Stream is out now via Partisan Records. Purchase it via iTunes.

Related items:

[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (November 2012 Round #2)

Time seemed to go by soooooo slllooooow as a kid. Minutes felt like hours, hours felt like days, and days (especially the ones counting down to your birthday or any holiday with gifts) felt like an eternity. And then one day you grew up. Now the days feel like milliseconds, the months about 5 to 10 minutes max, and the year?….Seriously, where does it go? Since most of our clocks tick with the fast forward button engaged it becomes way too easy to get lost in the blur. Unless, however, you bust out some your ninja skills on good ol’ grandfather time. Cause believe it or not, you have the power to slow down your pace, even if just for an hour or two. With a new weekly indie dojo as your arsenal, make a conscious effort to take a moment to yourself and absorb the world around you. The more time you make, the more time you will see.

Balthazar
The Oldest of Sisters
Mammals
Carried
Justin Paul Lewis
Salt
Songs for Walter
Tougher Than a Soldiers Boots
The Maldives
Blood On The Highway
The Daredevil Christopher Wright
A Man Of The Arts

 

Related items:

[Folk Rock] The Last Bison – Switzerland

If you dig traditional folk instruments, emotionally charged vocals and a band with sound that could fill an entire amphitheatre then you’ve just found yourself a new favorite band. Enter The Last Bison, a seven person ensemble originally from the deep marshes of southeastern Virginia. Folk rock at it’s very best, this group has been compared to the sound of Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes and the Avett Brothers. Listen to this track and you’ll understand exactly what I am talking about.

The poetic lyrics and gold dusted vocals in “Switzerland” will carry you out to a cornfield on a farm somewhere, reminding you that simple, artisan music still exists. The full five minutes of this track are deeply hypnotizing. What makes it that much better is Ben Hardesty’s vocals, especially when uttering the word “Switzerland” over and over again losing his breath while still sounding utterly perfect. The song is off their Inheritance EP, which came out on October 23rd. You can find it on their Soundcloud page. Support the artist and buy yourself the perfect Pumpkin-Spice-latte-sipping music out there.

The Last Bison
Switzerland
Related items: