Haunting new work from Amy's GhostBy Linda Serck
May 03, 2012
Amy Barton, frontwoman of Reading’s Amys Ghost, positively floats into the BBC canteen with me, all smiles and large blue eyes.
She looks every inch the Titania-esque fairy queen, dressed in white and with her platinum locks loosely held up with floral clips.
She evidently does not reserve this look just for the stage, where she performs a blend of tribal and mystic pastoral folk with her band.
They are real stand-out musicians, playing the BBC Introducing stage at Reading Festival 2010 and working with late producer Martin Rushent just before his untimely death last year.
They also are staunchly DIY – creating their own label First Circle Records and producing all their own artwork.
So it comes as quite a surprise that renowned producer and sound engineer Mark ‘Tufty’ Evans (who’s worked with Girls Aloud, Will Young and Boyzone among many others) has been adding his “commercial” touch to three of their tracks.
“We really want to give this album the best chance, we’re so proud of it,” she says on why they want to sound a bit more mainstream.
“I think we all felt a little nervous at first, but Tufty just put us at ease.”
The band visited his Berkshire-based Wispington Studios where they “had a cup of tea” while Tufty let them listen to one of their remixed tracks.
“He just made everything sound clear as a bell but without taking away all of the production Adam (Smith, Amy’s husband and band member) has put in and all of our parts that we have worked so hard on. He’s just made it sound really shiny!”
The three promotional singles will be Peaceful Sleepers, Cut Like Knives and Here.
They will appear on Amys Ghost’s second album – Sartre’s Flowers – though the album’s release date is not yet confirmed.
So has their tribal mystic sound been maintained on this second offering?
“Definitely,” says Amy. “I do think our second album is still going down that route but we’ve found ourselves more.
“There is still the tribal but we’ve gone a little bit more electronica, there are a lot of choirs involved (using the band’s overlayed vocals), and loads of string sections.
“It’s much fuller and a little bit more experimental.”
While the band are taking a break from gigging, you can watch the amazing video for Peaceful Sleepers via www.amysghost.com.
Filmed by Amy’s cousins in Reading and Braziers Park near Wallingford, it involves band musician Tiki doing a lot of running – something he had to train for by running three miles every other day.
He even broke two ribs during filming, such was his dedication to the cause.
The video has a bit of a twist at the end, but you’ll have to find out what it is for yourself by watching it.
Also, as a thank you to their fans, you can write into firstname.lastname@example.org with a message saying “yes please!”, and you will be sent a free track.
Fantastic news that Newbury’s Dry The River, Sony-signed and with debut album Shallow Bed out now, are playing the Radio 1/NME stage at the Reading Festival!
The rousing pastoral alt-folk outfit, who are friends of BBC Introducing Berkshire, are playing on Saturday, August 25.
See you down the front.
Slow Club are playing at Sub89 in Friar Street, Reading on Monday.
You can hear my interview with Charles from the Sheffield duo by going to the BBC Berkshire iPlayer and searching for BBC Introducing.
They are currently promoting their album Paradise and new single The Dog, but Charles reveals they are going down a more soulful route for a forthcoming EP.
Tickets for the gig are £10 and doors are at 7.30pm.
The extremely talented performer and songwriter James Ewers has revealed he will be releasing his solo album at the end of June.
The former frontman with My Luminaries, the Reading indie band who sadly split some years ago, said the album has been mixed and mastered.
He tells me I’ll be the first to be able to play a track on my BBC Introducing Berkshire show, so I’ll hold him to that.
On Wednesday, May 9, the hugely talented Karima Francis is playing at South Street Arts Centre.
The Blackpool-based singer is out on a 22-date spring tour to promote her second album The Remedy, filled with more autobiographical lyrics that are brought to life by her wonderful voice.
Tickets £6 in advance, £8 on the door.
Listen to Linda Serck every Sunday at 7pm on BBC Radio Berkshire. Send you music news to email@example.com