Dig it man!
It’s been awhile since I posted, so I’ll give a little taste of what I listened to over the holiday weekend and what I’m diving into right now. Some of this music I’ve written of here before, but I’m okay with that.
The Greencards – These two songs, I hope, give an indication of how tough it is to classify this trio. I think I’d call them bluegrass, but they dabble a bit in country stylings as well. They do everything really well on Fascination, their second album. My easiest frame of reference here is Nickel Creek for a comparison, but I think their sound warrants a dissection of its own. The first song, “Fascination,” offers a steady beat and some nice strumming of what I think is a mandolin. The second, “Davey Jones,” is more a ballad that showcases lead singer Carol Young. Enjoy, and check out their album, which came out in April on Sugar Hill Records.
The Wooden Birds – I liked American Analog Set from the moment I heard their hushed, urgent and beautifully constructed music. The Wooden Birds are AmAnSet lead singer Andrew Kenny’s side project, and they make the same kind of elegant and understated indie music. The Wooden Birds, though, focus less on instrumentation and bring Kenny’s sometimes-whispered vocals to the forefront. And then add in fellow AmAnSet member Leslie Sisson’s vocals on certain tracks, and it’s just breathtaking. The Wooden Birds make pretty and instantly loveable tracks such as the two I’m posting here, which are both from the band’s album Magnolia, which came out May 12 on Barsuk Records.
The Rural Alberta Advantage – I have a lot of respect for this band, who hails from (you guessed it) Alberta, Canada. They self-produced Hometowns, their debut album, and waited for a label to realize they were fantastic. Conor Oberst’s Saddle Creek Records did that, and the album was re-released on May 26. The drumming of percussionist Paul Banwatt (who is also a member of Woodhands, another very interesting band) makes many of these songs tick, but Nils Edenlof’s sometimes-nasally vocals might be what draws the comparisons to Neutral Milk Hotel. These songs are about the beauty and anguish of love – both of home and of another – and they are just brimming with energy and angst. It took me about half of Hometowns to start smiling like a goofball, because that’s what I do when I’m loving a band. Just check out these songs, and check out the album. It’s great.
STRAY TRACKS (return these to your local music shelter, or find them a home in your music library)
“Ambivalence Avenue” by Bibio (From Ambivalence Avenue, out now on Warp Records Limited) – Solid tunes from a previously primarily instrumental artist.
“I’m Going Away” by The Fiery Furnaces (From I’m Going Away, out 7/14 on Thrill Jockey) – A dose of funky punk attitude from eclectic duo.
“Swimming Pools” by Thao and The Get Down Stay Down (From We Brave Bee Stings and All, out now on Kill Rock Stars) – Thao Nguyen has one of the most unique female voices out there, and her stuff is really compelling musically and lyrically.
“How Long” by Andy Shauf (From Darker Days, out now on Hopeless Records, Inc.) – Shauf was part of the Artist Discovery series over at Paste Magazine. Mostly just a man and his guitar, with some pretty cool lyrics. Something tells me if I invest some more time in Mr. Shauf’s music, I’m going to like it a lot. Enjoy this one.
“Nobody Says I Love You Anymore” by Rhett Miller (From Rhett Miller, out now on Shout!) – The Old 97’s frontman with his third collection of solo material. I disagree slightly with the premise, I think everybody says I love you nowadays. Maybe he’s asserting that not enough people mean it. Good song, though.
“Swing Tree” by Discovery (From LP, out now on XL) – What do you get when you combine Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend and Wes Miles from Ra Ra Riot? On this track, the answer is a heavy dose of funk.
Alright, that’s it for now, kids. I’ll try to get back to regular posting this week. As always, leave comments!