I have a soft spot for the extended English folk-pop movement. It may not be the deepest music ever made but for whatever reason, it just sounds fucking good to me. So, here’s a new member to the scene, A Boat to Row. The single today is the demo version of the single from their new album. For a listen to the album version and the beautiful “114 Miles” look to the first player; for a track from their last release, Autumn Glow, look to the second:
I’m not actually a huge Damien Jurado fan; I don’t dislike him in any way, he is a prolific and incredibly talented artist, but I still haven’t given it enough time to get hooked. With that said, I’m really loving Damien and his brother Drake as Hoqiuam, especially at their most Ugly Casanova minimal. Clocking in at a minute and a half, it is my personal favorite off the album.
Until now I was unsure how “old” a song I would allow myself to publish on here; the point is to be publishing the newest music, but some truly great artists often slip through the cracks. So, from here on out the blog will retain its focus on new music but allow for randomly interspersed finds from the past few years, particulary music that never got the coverage it deserved; diggin’-in-the-crates tracks, if you will. Just because a song wasn’t released this month doesnt mean that (a) you’ve heard it before, or (b) it’s no longer interesting. So, here is one I found yesterday on Last.fm that caught my ear. Ferraby Lionheart is based out of L.A. and is currently touring with Vandaveer. (Just ask if you want a download)
I genuinely fucking love The Dodos but I’m still back and forth on 2009’s Time To Die (something about Phil Ek’s production, honestly). No Color was a serious return to form for them, continuing all the way through to “Don’t Stop”, the last track on the album. When I interviewed the band last July (a year after TTD and about 8 months before the new record dropped), Meric Long said “Our goal with this next record is to make, like… it’s funny, our goal was actually the same for the last record, but this time I think we know how we want to do it- which is to make the heaviest acoustic record we can.” And, that’s pretty much what happened. (By the way, if you’re also iffy about Time To Die, or Phil Ek’s production, then you really should read that interview to see how surprisingly much Meric Long would agree.)
Austrialia’s hidden gem (and, to be fair, the country’s most prominent Fleet Foxes sound-alike band) released their first EP, With Emperor Antarctica, in November 2010 and have since toured the world with Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling.
Villagers is the mostly-solo project of Dublin’s Conor O’Brien, formerly of The Immediate. He plays most of the instruments and did the cover art himself. He also signed to Domino Records, who is known for Franz Ferdinand, The Arctic Monkeys and Animal Collective…
[Edit: Villagers just released a split 7” with Charlotte Gainsborg, including an O’Brien-penned single by Charlotte and O’Brien’s own cover art. Listen to his half, “Set The Tigers Free”]
From Creep On Creepin’ On, Released Apr. 10th 2011
I loved Timber Timbre’s self-titled (BONUS ROUND: my favorite track off that album: “Demon Host”), and Creep On Creepin’ On keeps it all going. Canada’s Timber Timbre (A.K.A. Taylor Kirk) gives us a sunny break from his usual spook-folk weirdness and damnit it sounds lovely. This is the “Official First Single” off the record.
From Pearly Gate Music. Easily one of my favorite single tracks of 2010.
In 2010, Zach Tillman (brother of J.Tillman) put on one of the most intense punk rock shows I’ve ever seen. Then he turned out to be a really cool fucking guy. Then he gave me his CD and I was confused/elated to find such beautiful (and noticeably slower) folk. That CD, Pearly Gate Music, turned out to be one of my favorite records of the past couple years…Thank You, Zach.
Little Scream is the solo project of Laurel Sprengelmeyer, who has been performing under the moniker for years without ever releasing even a cd-r. Emerging from the Montreal scene with a slew of local friends she finally released 2011’s The Golden Record (named after these), with Laura leading on vocal, guitar, violin and piano and featuring members of Arcade Fire, The National, Stars, Silver Mt. Zion, Snailhouse and Bell Orchestre. This track itself was produced by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry and features The National’s Aaron Dessner. And, just to make the whole thing that much cooler, the album cover is an original oil painting by Laura herself. For a beautiful live version of the track, look here.
One of my favorite new bands, Yellow Ostrich, is the mostly-solo bedroom project of Brooklyn’s Alex Shaaf. The Mistress is incredible and the whole extended discography is available for pick-yr-price download at the site. For one more, enjoy his cover of Beach House’s “Zebra”:
From Deadmalls & Nightfalls, released July 20th 2010
Aside from plucking songs from the pool of “to be released” singles, I would also like to highlight great (recently released) finds. My first pick is from Frontier Ruckus, a small band out of Michigan led by the lyrically intensive Mathew Milia. A single rolling poem, tumbling over itself like a symbolist Kerouac more than the oft-referenced Dylan, all laid over string and brass. To be honest, I’m really just a sucker for eccentric writers sometimes…