Marlon Williams

Best Tracks of 2017 According to MFL and Friends

It’s that time where I go to two of my favorite music aficionados, Mark Levy and Brian Haviland for the tunes they can’t live without. If you’ve been following MFL for the last few years, you’ll recognize these names. We each picked 6 or 7 songs that we couldn’t stop listening to in 2017 but I’m not going to tell you who picked what. It’s more fun that way. ENJOY!

 

NEW PLAYLIST: Winter Vol I

My inbox has been bursting at the seams with tunes that have been dying to reach your ears. Get cozy, because this is a long one! If you prefer a more visual experience, feast your eyes on some select music videos.

Something I wanted to note about the following playlists is that there is a music video in there for a song called “Anxiety (In the Depths of Northwestern Ontario)” by a band called 1971. In February of this year, they lost the founding member, bassist, brother and friend, Cameron Glen Cranston. They will no longer be a band but have decided to release the last recordings they did with him.

Happy holidays to all you music-loving folks. I hope you all enjoy this time of year doing whatever it is you do.

 

 

Album Review: Marlon Williams’ self-titled debut

Marlon Williams began his musical career in a church choir ensemble in Christchurch as a child and had a short stint in the University of Canterbury’s classical music program until him and other old choir boys created The Unfaithful Ways. The band garnered a decent amount of attention but later on the band dissolved and Williams moved to Australia, drawn to the music scene in Melbourne. The rest is history.

Strap in, because this record doesn’t hesitate. It opens with “Hello Miss Lonesome”, a blue grass-inspired wild ride of a track. It immediately ejects you at high speed into what is an incredible sonic road trip through nine unique stops, each displaying a “different character”, according to Marlon Williams. New Zealand-born singer/songwriter says that each song, once written, no longer belongs to him because in the moment of writing he is creating these characters, then releasing them. “Even if it’s a very personal song, it doesn’t belong to me once it’s written,” says Williams. This is truly audible on his debut self-titled record. Each track exists separately from each other track with the only overlap being Williams’ ability to whisk you away with his incredible voice.

Later on is “Dark Child”, a lilting beauty, Williams’ voice intoxicating. This track is a favorite of mine as it builds from its melancholic beginnings to a loud, unexpected rock n’ roll-oriented climax. The track comes with a mesmerizing and simultaneously disturbing video. Body bags are hauled out of an apartment where a crowd of cops and neighbors have gathered as something appalling has happened inside, though we never know what happened inside that apartment.

And from here, you move to another time with Williams. His timeless voice takes you back several decades during “I’m Lost Without You”, a song that could very well have come from the 50s or 60s, until the synthesizer during the latter half of the song reminds you of what year it really is.

Among many original works, Williams covers the Bob Carpenter song, “Silent Passage.” Despite the material not being his own, he inserts his own flavor and the track fits flawlessly with Williams’ blue grass, early country and rock-inspired genre.

With each listen, this record blossoms and becomes something bigger than it was upon first listen. Williams’ songwriting abilities are captivating and regardless of lyrical content or mood, there is something absolutely haunting woven through this album. This is magnified by the influence of Williams’ time in the church choir, showcased by perfect gospel harmonies in songs like “Everyone’s Got Something to Say” and the literally haunting track, “Strange Things.” “Strange Things” is a tragic tale woven by Williams about the passing of the main character of the song’s wife, Lucy. The song is accompanied by a music video where Williams plays the character who loses his wife. He chases around the uncannily realistic ghost of his lost wife. There is something ghostly about the howling of the backup vocals mixed with spine-chilling strings and descriptions of eerie happenings in the “house where Lucy died.”

The album closes with the exquisite and poetic, “Everyone’s Got Something to Say.” The simplicity of this piece allows Williams’ voice to soak in at a depth that is not reached on any other track on the record.

Williams is currently touring the US and you can find all his tour dates here.

 

 

 

 

New Zealand’s Marlon Williams joins Dead Oceans roster!

With a voice of velvet and true eccentricity in both his storytelling and lyricism, 24-year old Marlon Williams is on his way to taking blues, folk and country to a new level. Below is a music video for the song “Strange Things”, a tragic song with a maniacal story of a man who’s lost his mind over losing his lover:

Williams started making music as a teenager thanks to his father back in Christchurch, NZ and quickly gained momentum. Fast forward to 2014 when he released his incredibly well received debut EP. Now, Williams has been nabbed up be record label, Dead Oceans and will be releasing his sophomore record in 2016.

Need more convincing? Watch this video of him performing “Portrait of a Man” live:

You can find Marlon Williams making his debut appearance in North America at CMJ this October or at any of the other locations he’ll be playing this fall:

Marlon William Tour Dates:
(North America shows in bold)
Wed. Oct. 1 – Napier, NZ @ St. John’s Cathedral
Fri. Oct. 2 – Tauranga, NZ @ Holy Trinity Anglican Church
Sat. Oct. 3 – Auckland, NZ @ Holy Trinity
Sun. Oct. 4 – Auckland, NZ @ St. Mary’s at Holy Trinity
Mon. Oct. 5 – Wellington, NZ @ Old St. Paul’s
Tue. Oct. 6 – Wellington, NZ @ Old St. Paul’s
Thu. Oct. 8 – Christchurch, NZ @ St. Michael All Angels
Fri. Oct. 9 – Christchurch, NZ @ The Cardboard Cathedral
Sat. Oct. 10 – Dunedin, UK @ Knox Church
Mon. Oct. 12 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bardot [School Night]
Tue. Oct. 13 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right [NZ Music Commission, 7pm]
Tue. Oct. 13 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rockwood Stage 2 [Communion, 9pm]
Wed. Oct. 14 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge [CAA, 7pm]
Thu. Oct. 15 – New York, NY @ Pianos [Atypical Beasts, 12:30pm]
Thu. Oct. 15 – New York, NY @ Living Room [School Night, 6:15pm]
Thu. Oct. 15 – New York, NY @ Productive Studios [Sofar, 9:15pm]
Fri. Oct. 16 – New York, NY @ Elvis Guesthouse [Secretly Group Showcase, 8:15pm]
Mon. Oct. 19 – London, UK @ The Lexington
Tue. Oct. 20 – Bristol, UK @ The Gallimaufry
Wed. Oct. 21 – Manchester, UK @ Eagle Inn
Fri. Oct. 23 – Dublin, IE @ Academy 2
Sat. Oct. 24 – Belfast, IE @ McHugh’s Bar
Sun. Oct. 25 – Edinburgh, UK @ Sneaky Pete’s
Mon. Oct. 26 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
Wed. Oct. 28 – Paris, FR @ La Mecanique Ondulatoire
Thu. Oct. 29 – Gent, BE @ Trefpunt
Fri. Oct. 30 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso – London Calling Festival
Sat. Oct. 31 – Hamburg, DE @ Mojo Jazz Café
Sun. Nov. 1 – Berlin, DE @ Gruener Salon
Thu. Nov. 5 – Perth, AU @ Four 5 Nine
Fri. Nov. 6 – Bunbury, AU @ Prince of Wales
Sat. Nov. 7 – Fremantle, AU @ Fly By Night
Sat. Nov. 8 – Dunsborough, AU @ Clancy’s Fish Pub
Thu. Nov. 12 – Maroochydore, AU @ Sol Bar
Fri. Nov. 13 – Currumbin, AU @ Solid Lounge
Sat. Nov. 14 – Brisbane, AU @ Woolly Mammoth
Sun. Nov. 15 – Byron Bay, AU @ Byron Theare
Mon. Nov. 16 – Bellingen, AU @ St Margaret’s Hall
Fri. Nov. 20 – Newcastle, AU @ The Small Ballroom
Sat. Nov. 21 – Sydney, AU @ Oxford Arts Factory
Sun. Nov. 22 – Milton, New South Wales @ Milton Theatre
Tue. Nov. 24 – Wollongong, New South Wales @ Rad Bar
Wed. Nov. 25 – Canberra, AU @ Transit Bar
Fri. Nov. 27 – Melbourne, AU @ Prince Bandroom
Sat. Nov. 28 – Hunter Valley, New South Wales @ A Day on the Green, Hunter Valley NSW #
Sun. Nov. 29 – Mount Cotton, Queensland @ A Day on the Green #
Thu. Dec. 3 – Adelaide, AU @ The Gov
Fri. Dec. 4 – Darwin, AU @ Railway Club
Sun. Dec. 6 – Yarra Valley, VIC @ A Day on the Green #
Thu. Dec. 10 – Geelong, VIC @ The Workers Club
Fri. Dec. 11 – Newport, VIC @ The Substation
Sat. Dec. 12 – Barossa Valley, AU @ A Day on the Green #
Sun. Dec. 13 – Kings Park, AU @ A Day on the Green #

# w/ Paul Kelly, Lucinda Williams + Kasey Chambers