The Young Folks offers listeners three artists whose music deserves attention: Leland and the Silver Wells, Dol Ikara, and Lydia’s Castle. Although all three are stylistically different, the similarity is all feature female vocalists with distinct, bewitching voices, from the edginess of Leland to the Gothic textures of Dol Ikara to the sizzling potency of Lydia’s Castle.
Leland and the Silver Wells – Straight to Your Town
San Francisco native Leland Ettinger – singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist – releases her new album, Straight to Your Town, a uniquely, evocative collection of songs reminiscent of the Laurel Canyon artists of the ‘60s.
Her band’s name, the Silver Wells, was borrowed from Joan Didion’s marvelous Play It As It Lays, and includes a who’s who of musicians such as Kaitlin Wolfberg, Christof Certik, Joe Berardi, Danny Frankel, James Hazley, Nick Murray, and Bob Lee. Produced by Steve Gregoropoulos, half the album was recorded live in a single session, with the other half recorded entirely online.
Encompassing 10-tracks, entry points on the album include “What Comes Around,” which opens on a drum shuffle conjuring up Bonham on “When The Levee Breaks,” and then flows into a piano-driven, low-slung tune topped by Leland’s edgy vocals, at once languid and tinted with portentous tones.
Talking about the song, Leland shares, “‘What Comes Around’ is a song about being relentlessly pursued, be it by an ex-lover or a dark memory, and the comforting knowledge that no one can escape karma.”
“Love Is Blind” rolls out on pop-rock-lite flavors with hints of SoCal country-rock running through it. Glowing “aah aah” harmonies give the song a radiant dimension as Leland’s drawling voice infuses the lyrics with creamy textures, highlighted by brass accents.
“Take It Down The Line” features a loose, almost rambling rhythm, topped by Leland’s evocative voice, slightly rasping and brimming with striking dynamics. One of the best tracks is “Saving Grace,” a song about redemption, with its washes of layered leitmotifs emphasizing Leland’s haunting vocals.
The last track, “The Blue Sea” travels on undulating, gliding coloration, simultaneously rising and falling on delicious wave-like rollers, while tropical sonic savors ripple overhead. Leland’s voice, thoughtful and potent, gives the lyrics reflective timbres.
According to Leland, “‘The Blue Sea’ is a song about feeling smothered in a relationship. It employs the imagery of a horse being tethered to a wind-swept grey moor, and a net cast upon the limitless sea, with the horse, finally freeing itself and diving to its death and ultimate freedom in the Blue Sea.”
Innovative and almost prog-like, Straight to Your Town evokes hazy memories of when music was complex, and lyrics were poetic.
Dol Ikara – Lark / Saraph
Los Angeles-based Dol Ikara releases their new double-single, “Lark / Saraph,” Dol Ikara’s first release of 2022, just prior to placement in Season Six of Netflix’s Peaky Blinders. Dol Ikara’s upcoming debut album, Ophidia, will drop soon.
Dol Ikara explains, “‘Lark’ is a harder-edged song with softer vocals interplaying with more angular, rockier instrumentals. ‘Saraph’ was conceptualized with a single floating note triggered on a Moog modular system; I sang the entire vocal melody in a single go, and it eventually built into this dramatic and anthemic track.”
Inspired by the divine feminine, gothic and antique imagery, dark fantasy, and the fecundity of nature, Dol Ikara is the creation of singer-songwriter Claire Roddy, later accompanied by producer and multi-instrumentalist Alex Are.
Dol Ikara’s music paints a soundscape infused with silvery lilts and poetic ambiguities. These same poetic sensibilities brought about the name Dol Ikara – a neologism – something phonetically beautiful to serve as a blank canvas without any preconceived notions or associations.
“Lark” opens on dark, murky thrums of sound riding a rumbling, moody rhythm as Dol Ikara’s mystery-laced tones imbue the lyrics with shadowy timbres dripping with the gloomy dust of rumor. There’s a Mediaeval feel and drift to the music.
“Saraph” features a trembling, eerie intro topped by the femme fatale timbres of Dol Ikara’s vocals. Percolating rhythmic pulses add delicious risky cadence as the harmonics quiver with spectral leitmotifs.
Populated by fields of latent, suppressed energy, as if waiting to be unleashed, both “Lark” and “Saraph” smolder with stormy passion.
Lydia’s Castle – Self-Titled EP
Nashville-based heavy rock band Lydia’s Castle releases their self-titled debut EP, a five-track collection of music at once muscular and refined. Produced by Jack Daniels (Sicktones Studio), the EP was mastered by Mike Kalajian (Rogue Planet Mastering).
Vocalist Tonya LeeAnne shares, “The EP and our single ‘Search for You’ specifically are about one of the greatest losses of my life, and I wanted to channel that pain into something creative that can be shared with others and help myself, the band and so many others know they are not alone. The great thing about music and good lyrics is that the listener can make the song their own, and become attached to it in their own way, which is exactly how I got into music, to begin with.”
Made up of Tonya LeeAnne (vocals), Cody Denton (guitar), Jon Wysocki (drums), and Corey England (bass), Lydia’s Castle’s sound merges old school blues, the energy of metal, and the superior voice of Tonya LeeAnne – the ensuing result is raw, dense, and remarkably shifting.
Highlights on the EP include “Phoenix,” full of hefty, gnarly guitars and a visceral rhythm providing the matrix for Tonya’s deluxe vocals as she alters from soft, melodious timbres to penetrating emotional tones.
The gem on the EP is “Search For You,” which allows Tonya to demonstrate the range of her superb voice, vaguely reminiscent of Paramore’s Hayley Williams, only with more nuances and sonic compass.
Sans a lackluster track, Lydia’s Castle generates an EP well-worth attention because of its thick, compact dynamics, interludes of gentle melodicism, and the stellar vocal chops of Tony LeeAnne.