February slowed things down a little on the music front, and wouldn’t you know it, was dang cold too. But there was still a lot of music to keep warm with. February saw the release of 3 albums that really turned my ear. Each is vastly different in sound than the other two. In fact, the only commonality these 3 albums share, other than my enjoyment, are the cohesive listens provided from start to finish.
The National Lights - The Dead Will Walk, Dear
Jacob Berns has crafted a fine addition to the American folk canon with his band’s debut album, which is being released today (2/27) through Bloodshake Records. His songs are delicate and beautiful, filled with fetching melodies that hide some pretty dark, gothic subject matter. More a collection of thematically linked songs than a concept album, the album takes the idea of Neil Young’s “Down By The River” and spreads it out over the course of 10 songs. It’s the sound of a lazy, secret river, a few traces of regret, and some carefully scattered hearts and bones. Murder ballads have hardly sounded prettier.
The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse
Combining the strange bedfellows of 60’s influenced harmony with 70’s influenced prog-rock, The Besnard Lakes released a stunning album on February 20th. There is a strong emphasis on vocal melody running through all 8 songs, but it is also dark, ominous, and fateful. Call it the feel good soundtrack for the end of the world.
MP3 - And You Lied To Me
Read the Pop Headwound album review here.
Deerhunter - Cryptograms
I got on board late with this album, and by late I mean a few weeks. There was early buzz galore among the blogging community, and a great review on Pitchfork, but early tracks didn’t grab me. Still, their name kept popping up, and eventually I decided to give them a good listen. Turns out Cryptograms is worthy of the hype. It’s a dense blur of hypnotic, shoe-gaze noise, not easily penetrable at first (6 of the first 8 tracks don’t really have vocals). The songs do reveal themselves in time, some easier than others, and combine to make a balanced listen, despite stemming from 2 separate recording sessions held months apart.
Deerhunter - myspace