Category Archives: Folk

Making you feel right at HOME

Home cover art

‘Back and forth I’ll go.. one day i may know.. what its like to stay in one place.. but for now.. back and forth I’ll go. Up and down the coast.. highways get me lost.. but I never forget my home.. as I go up and down this coast.. ” – The Novel Ideas

Last year I was raving about The Novel Ideas – Summer Demos as one of of the greatest compilations of music ever. Some people out there – ie. Matthew Bishop – argue that I say that for most, if not all music, however it’s important for me to distinguish just how special The Novel Ideas truly are.

Their latest work “Home” came out a few months back and set off in a new direction and a new sound for the Boston-base crew. It is a beautifully crafted album that showcases all the unique talents possessed by each and everyone of the Ideas. The album thrives off its heart and sincerity — as the carefully chosen words, sounds and harmonies make for a warm-and-fuzzy listening experience.. one that you won’t want to listen to JUST once.

I’ve sprinted to their shows in Boston after getting off of 30 hour flights.. Lizzie and I have their album cover pasted to the back of our front door in Cape Town.. and putting this album on, no matter where I am in the world, makes me feel.. right at..

Plum’s Picks

The Novel Ideas – Promise   A powerful, pop-y soul soother.  “i’ll protect you, if i had to.. so the bad parts.. never get through”

The Novel Ideas – Back and Forth    This song hits home for a traveller like myself.. gets me a little choked up even. (see quote above)

[NAME YOUR OWN PRICE and get the album below!]

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Posted by on December 1, 2012 in Folk


My buddy woke up in India today.. and heard this song.. you should too.. where ever you are..

It will make you happy..  it is beautiful music.

Thanks Ash.

The Black Atlantic – Fragile Meadow

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Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Folk, Indie


‘Beatenberg’ unleashes some new tunes from South Africa.. at last!


” .. its pretty neat when you find a band that can create the musical representation of the coziness of winter combined with the happiness of summer in just a few songs.. Of course it has to come from South Africa.. where they get a perfect blend of both!.. ” – Plum



I tried chasing them down when they lived in Boston, but was unable to see a performance! (one was supposed to be in my very own house — duh!) But this sweet sounding posse from Cape Town released their first full length album in the past few weeks and have loaded up their schedule with concerts touring the southern tip of Africa.

Their sound is full of rich acoustic chords and hoppy riffs, similar to Bedouin Soundclash, but the vocals are much stronger and crisper.

You can buy their amazing album here. One that I have been looking out for over the last 8 months on a regular basis.

Beatenberg – Die for You

Beatenberg – The Beaufort Scale

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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Folk, Indie


Concert review! Chad VanGaalen

Chad VanGaalen @ TT the Bears, Cambridge, MA

opener: Nat Baldwin (song attached below too!)


This Western Canadian quad-unit was quick to energize the crowd with a Stanley Cup acknowledgement and a Canucks chirp (which is normal when you’re from Calgary and a Flames fan — big rivalry). They were also quick to make a chirp towards the US health care system by saying they were afraid of trying to ride a skateboard here because if they fell and broke their pinky, they would be $30,000 in the hole. haha. I appreciated that immensely, but had to smile to myself amongst the chirps of other kinds (crickets). haha.

(translation notification: chirp is a Canadian term for ‘making fun of’ or ‘disrespecting’)

Musically, had some pretty good jams..  all of which I gather tended to be their older stuff.  Most of the new stuff was pretty heavy on the 3 guitars (especially the bass) and the drummer was made background noise, though he was awesome when he came through in a few songs. Very humble and very engaging with the crowd, these guys blasted few about 2 albums worth of material and had the pretty small crowd fairly engaged for a Wednesday night at a super small Cambridge, MA venue. But rock they did.. and dance we did.. and chatting with the guitarist afterwards about the upsides of Calgary and downsides of Vancouver made me remember the few weeks I spent in Calgary as a toddler. Can’t say I ‘remember’ a whole lot from those days. haha. Such a unique sound though.. it often sounded like there were 2 or 3 different songs playing.. but when it came together and sounded like ONE song.. it sounded really cool. Well done guys!


Hailing from the very same city as the dude who writes this blog (me!.. and Calgary, Alberta being the place), Chad is a musician/artist that occasionally emerges from his basement cave to play some live shows.Very folky, very indie, very cool!

The Story

I heard about them today for the first time! Actually.. Emily Smith, local music guru that has been known to rock out with me at shows around down and even out of town, had told me about Chad about a year ago, but I had delayed on the listening component of that music share.. but thanks for bringing me out tonight on a rainy gloomy night Emily!

What is ripe?

Chad Van Gaalen – Phantom Anthillis

Nat Baldwin –  A little Lost  (personally, I think Nat stole the show tonight. Vocalist and bassist, he has a very Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) sound that had the whole crowd swaying. Really cool stuff!


Posted by on June 23, 2011 in Folk, Indie


Two Gems.. Thanks to Vio/Mire.

“..this warm and fuzzy trio from Providence, RI sport some awesome sweaters and hair doos, but aren’t distracted from creating sweet and simple songs that will have you quietly bopping from side to side in front of your fireplace..also wearing an awesome sweater..wait how did that happen..?..” – Plum

The Story

Vio/Mire was first discovered by yours truly when they were invited to play in my HOUSE as a part of one of our “HMS Putnam Presents” shows back in 2010. Their sweet and simple sound in a big tipsy house, with warm lighting and a pleasant crowd to boot, these guys put on a very special show in our dining room.. that I’m sure the rest of Cambridgeport went silent to try to catch a few magical notes spilling out through the windows.

Video below of live version (minus Glockenspiel).

Two songs here:

Vio/Mire – Shrinking Coasts (with Glockenspiel)

Vio/Mire – A Nice Spot Somewhere in the Woods   (you really need to wait until 2:16 of this song to experience the banjo and co. rockout of the song.. really..)

And the video!!

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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Folk, Indie


The Novel Ideas – “Summer Demos” (mini-album)

“.. the latest release from the Novel Ideas, “Summer Demos” is so ridiculously appropriately named by being a) THE BEST SUMMER MUSIC EVER and b) being a demo for all the amazingly talented music they have in store for us in the months/years to come.. this album is a unique blend of indie pop, folk and rock that will take you back to that one summer day you experienced love and everything felt just perfect..” – Plum


Hailing from the environs of Boston, Mass (though really..Newton, Mass), this dynamic set of musicians have sought to explore different genres and sounds over the past few years with two full-length albums, and most recently on ‘Summer Demos’ by carefully crafting each song with tender love and care from the sounds to the lyrics. They enjoy singing songs about “books, girls, summertime, and the ambiguous hours between night and morning”.. and let me tell you, the do a very VERY good job of that.

The Story

I’ve known Alex, Daniel and Will from the band for about a year, but have sadly only managed to see them ONCE live!! I would have seen them a second time but I was just minutes off of the plane from Kenya and I was lucky enough to get home before passing out from exhaustion. In retro, I regret not having gone.. because watching these guys perform is a real honest treat, and it should be savoured whenever you get the chance to see them!

The song ‘Artichoke Heart’ on this mini four-song album is on my list of Top 10 Songs ever. The lyrics are simply amazing… as is the dialogue between the Doctor and the Man is just epically romantically optimistic.. “I THIN I”LL TAKE MY CHANCES THEN!!”.., as is the ‘ohhh wa ohhh’s’ belting out at the end.

The song “On Fire” is filled with energy and powerful lyrics that will give you goosebumps.

Thanks to the band for creating such happy-times music!!


Posted by on June 9, 2011 in Folk, Indie, Pop

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