Sunday, July 26, 2015

Weekend Music Roundup

Back from a trip abroad, which shockingly was one that did not include music in any sort of way. The summer heat regulated my days to swimming in rivers and pools and long lunches complete with beer. I'd loaded a bunch of new music to listen to, but never got around to it, choosing to read in those spare moments instead. Now that I've been back for a few days, I've been feverishly trying to catch up and satisfy the void of song that the trip has left. The good thing is that there are now a ton of albums for me to choose from and I should be bringing some wonderful new sounds to you. Enjoy.

Samantha Crain - Under Branch & Thorn & Tree: Perhaps the album I've most been looking forward to this month is the the fourth full length from one of my favorite singer songwriters of the last half-decade. Just out last week, this is another wonderful record from the Oklahoma native with the amazing voice and gift for constructing folk songs of emotional depth. An artist that truly deserves a wider audience, I really hope this builds off the momentum of her last record and becomes a breakout release for her. "You or Mystery," "Kathleen," and "If I Had a Dollar" are among my favorites.

The Legendary Pink Dots - The Wednesday Mass: The latest in the UK psychedelic legends archival releases capturing live shows throughout their decades long history. Recorded in 2000, this album is another stellar piece of ambient psych that gives flashes into the kind of music Syd Barrett might have made in these modern times. There's also a bit of Burroughs' Interzone in the stories told. I absolutely love this band, and their range of sound that is at times Happy Mondays, at times Joy Division, at times Brian Jonestown Massacre, but always unique and unlike anything else. 

Hardy and the Hardknocks - Drownin on a Mountaintop: T. Hardy Morris (of Dead Confederate) returns with his second solo album, this time with a new backing band. Released last month, this is one of those records I was looking forward to because he never seems to disappoint. That holds true once more with this exceptional followup to his 2013 record. A mixture of lo-fi americana and some higher tempo rock, this is one of those albums that is full of great tracks. "Young Assumption" and "Likes of Me" are stand outs.

The Tallest Man on Earth - Dark Bird is Home: The Swedish Bob Dylan returns with his fourth album, released back in May. Though his early offerings felt more Zimmerman than this one, the spirit of Dylan's scratchy voice remains in these more melodic efforts which feel more in line with Langhorne Slim than Bob. This is perhaps my favorite of his and proves that he continues to mature and evolve as his career goes on. "Timothy," "Beginners," "Singers," and the title track are standouts for me.

Jenny Lysander - Northern Folk: The debut from the Swedish folk artist is a beautiful lazy day record that takes its roots in 70's folk while being very much contemporary. There is a softness to her voice that is carried over to the music, bringing to mind rolling streams, light breezes, and a distant sun that keeps everything just warm enough to enjoy. A timeless feel that reminds me of Nick Drake, especially on tracks like "This Boat." A promising beginning to a career and well worth checking out. 

Goblin Hovel - Goblin Hovel: In my continuing exploration of this fantastic and innovative folk metal band, I recently enjoyed their self-titled release from 2013. I seem to be working my way backwards through their four year catalog. Of all of their albums that I've listened to so far, this one is the most "metal" leaning musically. Though it still maintains the otherworldly fairy tale tone that makes their music so appealing to me, and my current goblin writing project. Definitely check them out on Bandcamp.

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