Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this edition of the Independent Spotlight, I’m going to be delving into a new artist, vocalist and performer Aurian. Her new self-titled four song EP is one of the most compelling independent offerings in quite a long time. Let’s dig into ‘Aurian.’
The 27 year-old performer was discovered by the international record producer Phil Rynhart. Once a team was established, ‘Aurian’ was recorded collaboratively with big-name players between London and Nashville. The record, as Aurian’s camp describes it, is set to be one of the ‘most exciting and poignant releases of the next year.’ The record is due out this month.
As previously mentioned, ‘Aurian’ is a four track offering. The album opens with ‘Gone With The Wind,’ a track very much inspired by Aurian’s favorite film. It couldn’t be a more perfect introduction to Aurian as an artist: she croons across a masterful backdrop of exceptional instrumentals. Harmonicas and violins craft a haunting landscape of emotion. The music feels somewhat folk inspired, but sounds more contemporary than folk. I’d align her as a singer-songwriter with a heavy pop influence. It’s worth noting that ‘Gone With The Wind’ has an infectiously catchy chorus. Hook writing is a difficult art, one that the songs on this EP master elegantly.
‘Daddy Hold My Hand’ is every bit as emotional as the title suggests. The vulnerability and raw feeling of this track is beautiful. Aurian’s vocal talent is unlike anything else I’ve heard in a very long time. She has the chops of a contemporary vocalist akin to someone like Idina Menzel, but there is also something softer and more tempered about her sound. I dig that her accompaniment is fairly simplistic with the delicate string sections and piano. It doesn’t need to be bombastic - it needs to be heartfelt. Aurian nails that.
The highlight of the entire record is ‘Homesick and Lonely.’ My goodness, what a track! This Nashville-esque ballad is absolutely unbelievably. It’s the best lyricism, instrumentalism, and performance on the entire record. It sounds like a polished cut off of Bob Dylan’s ‘Basement Tapes.’ The sound is reminiscent of songs like ‘I Shall Be Released.’ Every performance on this track is dramatically superior to the rest of the EP, which says quite a bit since the entire EP is very solid.
There’s also a bonus track on this EP as well, making it a formidable offering for new fans. Let me be one of the first to say it: Aurian will be huge. She has incalculable presence in these recordings. While all of them are wonderful, I can’t get over ‘Homesick and Lonely.’ That’s the track going straight in my favorite playlist. Check out Aurian this month when the EP drops; it’s very much worth your time.
Aurian's site: http://aurian.co.uk/AURIAN_HOME.html