Julie Byrne - Not Even Happiness
For fans of the early work of Leonard Cohen, Vashti Bunyan, Joni Mitchell and Cat Power. American wanderer Julie Byrne's second album Not Even Happiness comes 3 years after her debut. A more confident beast, Not Even Happiness adds atmospheric instrumentation and electronic flourishes to Byrne's unusual guitar tunings and fingerpicked melodies, moving the songs from the front-porch into subtle anthemia. Julie Byrne has counted Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans and Northampton, Massachusetts as her transient homes in recent years. For now, she's settled in New York City, moonlighting as a seasonal urban park ranger in Central Park. Whether witnessing the Pacific Northwest for the first time (Melting Grid), the morning sky in the mountains of Boulder (Natural Blue), or a journey fragrant with rose water; reading Frank O'Hara aloud from the passengers seat during a drive through the Utah desert into the rainforest of Washington State (The Sea As It Glides), Not Even Happiness is Julie's beguilingly ode to the fringes of life. Her debut album was released back in January 2014 on Chicago based DIY label Orindal after initially being as two separate cassettes releases. Rooms With Walls and Windows went onto become a true modern-day word of mouth success story (it would have to be for an artist who shuns all forms of social media) and ended the year being voted number 7 in Mojo magazine's best albums of the year, with the Huffington Post calling it "2014's Great American Album". A collection of hushed intimate front porch psych-folk songs, that unknowingly recalled the greats, but felt very much for our time. The album is the first release on a new record label Basin Rock, based in the Lancashire / Yorkshire border town of Todmorden.