Flaming June EP ‘In Pursuit of Happiness’ out now

Flaming June are perhaps one of the quintessential independent folk bands in the UK at the moment. Having won awards with previous releases (including FATEAs 2011 best EP award for ‘Nerves of Steel’) and supported some of the great and the good of UK folk, their reputation for thoughtful songwriting and fairy tale infused folk has seen them go far.

New EP ‘In Pursuit of Happiness’ picks up where previous EP ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ left off, albeit with added musical instruments and new layers. Thematically though, this remains a great example of how to combine pop melodies, folk sensibilities and story telling into one lovely package.

See the track above, ‘Freedom’s Fairytale for Girls’, for more proof – and head over to www.flamingjune.co.uk too.

Acoustic EP: Calming River – ‘The Ones That We Left Behind’

Arguably one of the most simple genres, acoustic folk is perhaps one of the most difficult to get right. Maybe it’s because any old fool can pick up a guitar and strum a few chords. However, real artistry in this genre is difficult to come by and it takes work and true talent to stand out from the crowd.

The new EP from Calming River is another example as to why this is one artist who stands out from the crowd. Recorded in Denmark, the EP comprises four tracks, each of which has something to recmommend it. Speaking generally, Calming River specialises in taking well considered lyrics and putting them to lovely, intricate finger picked acoustic chords. This in itself sets him apart from the rent-a strum crowd, but the fact that he utilises a full range of emotions, structures and tempos to deliver these qualities makes the argument even stronger.