New Music - Castanets

Castanets first 2 releases, 2004’s Cathedral and 2005’s First Light’s Freeze, while well-received and widely available, never found their way to my ears. It wasn’t until In The Vines dropped last week that I explored this band’s catalog, and since then I’ve listened to hardly anything else. Led by singer-songwriter Raymond Raposa, the band plays a slow and meditative form of American music - equally inspired by Appalachian folk as they are by experimental sounds. Think Califone led by Tom Waits and you’re getting warm. In The Vines has very quickly emerged as a strong candidate for whatever end-of-the-year list I put together.

Album opener “Rain Will Come” begins with a real downer - “so it’s going to be sad and it’s going to be long and we already know the end of this song” - played over gentle and buzzy acoustics. Raposa’s voice is a perfect instrument for music that sounds like it was recorded outside at night in the middle of nowhere - deep and rich but creeky; harrowing and inviting at the same time. The song devolves over its final third into a wall of noise that would scare away anything getting too close in the dark. “This Is The Early Game” follows it and I’ll be damned if that isn’t Matthew Houck (of Phosphorescent, but I don‘t have proof) wailing in the background - not so much harmonizing as yelling to the same microphone as Raposa from the next room. It’s beautiful in every sense of the word, a classic folk melody brought back to life over brushed drums and pedal steel guitar.

MP3 :: Rain Will Come
MP3 :: This Is The Early Game
(from In The Vines. Buy here)

Bonus MP3 :: All That I Know
(from First Light’s Freeze. Buy here)

Bonus MP3 :: Three Days Four Nights
(from Cathedral. Buy here)

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