Dear Reader and Hurray for the Riff Raff on The Moon

There has been a number of recent new releases from some talented and established female singer-songwriters, including fine new albums from Laura Marling and Valerie June, both previous offenders on The Moon, but I have been most taken by two artists new to the The Moon.

First up is Dear Reader, which was once a band but has become the solo project of Cherilyn MacNeil, a Berlin based South African. Initially they used the brilliant name of Harris Tweed and had success and awards with an album in their native South Africa. Sadly, they had to change their name due to legal action from the Harris Tweed Authority. This is her 5th LP as Dear Reader and 4th as a solo project, as she split with her original co-conspirator amicably when she relocated to Berlin in 2010  - according to Wikipedia. 

Her new album is constantly great and is modern folk music that is very much reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens at his most melodic.  All her albums are available on Spotify despite the latest being released via Drag City, but it is not on Microsoft's Groove Music for some reason, thankfully it is also available to stream in full on Bandcamp from any old device below.

Hurray for the Riff Raff - The Navigator

Hurray for the Riff Raff is another "band" that has become the project of Alynda Segarra, who comes from New York, but with Puerto Rican heritage. Her parents split when she was two and she was brought up by her aunt, but ran away to "train hop" aged 17, ending up in New Orleans. Interestingly, her mother ended up a Deputy Mayor to Rudy "Trump asked me how to make the Muslim ban legal" Giuliani.  You can find out a lot more about her story and on new album in this excellent article from the Observer newspaper on the Guardian Website

It is the 6th Hurray for Riff Raff album, but this one is a step up with five star reviews all round. I did check out the last one, which also had great reviews but it did not float my boat as I found it overly retro. She has recruited a new band and the sound is closer to her first two albums, but  bigger sounding and with songs that grab you instantly, rather like a Jenny Lewis record or the excellent last LP from Angel Olsen 

Check it out via Spotify below and in all the usual places, along with most of the back catalogue, it is also downloadable from Bandcamp.  

Trending on The Moon