Ones to Watch: Will Hanson

Every once in a while a new (or at least new-to-me) musical act settles into my collection as if they have been there forever, rather than just for a week or a month. Les Wampas was one such act, and Will Hanson is another.

Moving a Body (12/26 Records), Hanson’s first solo effort – he was formerly a member of Proxy – came out in late August, and while I have only been listening to the whole thing for a week or so, every time his voice floats up on shuffle, I feel like I’m visiting with an old friend.

Originally based in London, Hanson recently moved to Glasgow, Scotland to record his (mostly) dark and sometimes dreamy, sometimes noisy tunes with producers Jamie Savage (Chemikal Underground) and Oli Bayston (Keith, Howls) at Chemikal Underground. His work with them was funded by Creative Scotland, and Mr. Hanson has additional Scottish connections via his 6 piece Glasgow based band.

Here they all are performing one of my favorite tracks, The Bats:

Ones to Watch: Barry

Barry is a folk-rock band from Hume, New York, made up of three brothers: Patrick Barry (guitar/harmonica), Benjamin Barry (bass), and Bradford Barry (drums). Barry formed in 2011, in the wake of Patrick and Benjamin’s former alt-rock band, Navar.

Here are some reasons why I am extremely fond of their very first EP, Yawnin’ in the Dawnin’, presented in no particular order:


1) The title song, which has beautiful harmonies, sounds remarkably like a sea chantey. I love sea chanteys. I especially love sea chanteys about being very tired and wishing one had gone to bed earlier because that is me and my incorrigible accidental nocturnal tendencies to the bone.


2) The third song, Carnival(e) has a killer creepy sideshow Nightmare Before Christmas vibe, and they made a video for it, which also celebrates their upstate New York roots:



3) Drink One More, a song which features three carefully intertwined birth stories – one of my favorite genres of personal narrative – and is generally an exhortation to have one more drink and tell one more story, one for the road in both cases. I’m not much for beer but I do love a good yarn, and as far as I am concerned there are few finer pleasures than an evening of friends sharing stories.


4) Great Unknown, a song about second chances, which sketches a whole relationship in a series of tiny but telling details. It’s also about telling someone I don’t know where we’re going but I want to go there with you.


5) The harmonies, which I am bringing up again because they are in every song, not just the title track. Finally, these gentlemen have a lot of rock in their folk-rock, which is also a thing I appreciate.

Yawnin’ in the Dawnin’ is their first record, but evidently there is more coming soon! If you like what you hear, you can keep up with their adventures via Facebook.


Ones to Watch: AF THE NAYSAYER x Luke St. John

AF THE NAYSAYER x Luke St. John, photograph by Tyler Walker

AF THE NAYSAYER x Luke St. John are currently based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. AF THE NAYSAYER (right, above) is an electronic musician formerly of rap group Shuggie Watts, while Luke St. John (left) has a background in spoken word. Together they create groovy, funky jams.

They are currently hard at work on their first record, but you can get a preview of their sound in the videos below. The first song is The A. M., and the video was shot and edited by Tyler Russell; the second song is r.a.w. talent, and the video was filmed and edited by Jon Rogers. Both videos are of live performances: one at a club, where they are assisted by drummer Logan Leis and bassist Taylor Lee, and one at the Brec skatepark in Baton Rouge. The second video also features local Baton Rouge skaters.

If you like what you hear, you can keep up with their progress on Facebook. Other places to find them: AF THE NAYSAYER’s solo project, and the GRNOLA May 2011 Mix by DJ Def D. Also, Luke St. John has a mixtape you can listen to.