Posts Tagged ‘Country’

Trummors – “Silver City Blues”

A sun-streaked new track slips out today in advance of the new Trummors LP, Dropout City on Ernest Jenning Record Co. The song is a faded-denim dose of cosmic country that ambles in on auburn strums and swooning harmonies. David Lerner and Ann Cunningham left the city steel for New Mexico’s grand expanses a few years back and the desert dust makes its presence felt on the low-light simmer of “Silver City Blues.” The song slides in on buttery leads, breezy harmonies, and a sense of ease that’s hard to resist. The band’s been building up to a release that sounds this effortless and lived-in over the past few years, but it’s hard to deny that this is a high-water mark for their brand of alt-country saunter. Keep an ear out for more from Dropout City as this is only a taste of what the band’s put together for 2020. Move it to the top of the watchlist.




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Mapache

The sophomore LP from West Coast duo Mapache doesn’t knock the wheel too far from the road they set down in 2017. While the temper (and tempo) doesn’t rise from the comfort of that first LP, the colors do deepen. From Liberty Street is rife with shades of earthen ochre and dust-kicked sandalwood. There are more than a few pale blues that stretch far and wide as the skies that tie Los Angeles to the Baja. There are deep set oranges and amber golds that bake in the sun and seep into the copper rimmed strings of their guitars. Moving against any and all prevailing winds at the moment, the record is full of an endless summer bliss — capturing the kind of lost weekend aimlessness that feels either blissfully ignorant of its own innate good fortune or imbued with the charm to talk its way into those good graces with gambler’s finesse.

The pair swaps seamlessly between Spanish and English as if border hopping between small towns in an era less locked with tension. With the kind of stubbled yet square jawed vocal harmonies that made Fleet Foxes a household name, the band reaches back to a Canyon croon that’s embroidered over every inch of this record. There’s a bygone feeling beat into the bones of this album — patched and faded like a thrift store Nudie suit jacket missing its presentational partner but pulling the outfit together all the same. There are tales of hammock swung afternoons that feel flush with melodies traded back and forth like pot-luck parcels. Half-hewn notes of Gene Clark, The Fist National Band, David Crosby, and a much less Anglophile Heron seem to flutter through the speakers in patchwork perfection. While the band haven’t really shaken the roots that took hole from their beginning, the combination of calm winds across a few different eras all seem to blow this one in the right direction. Seems like if you’re looking for a bit of relief right about now, this is a damn sure bet.



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Arbouretum – “Let It All In”

Arbouretum cross lines of country, psych, and folk on their new LP for Thrill Jockey — a position that they’ve long occupied, but while much of Let It All In graces the grander schemes of folk and only touches the psych shores, the title track makes its home there. The song, pushing well past the eleven-minute mark, works a nugget of groove into a gnarled, smoldering pile of riff and rumble. The track unfurls over the expanse of its timeframe, pushing into the kind of ribbon of groove that’s locked into a seance sweat and looking to work the rhythm section to the bone. Over a hammered lock-step beat the guitar grit of Dave Heumann finds its wings, stretching into the embrace of volume with little regard for where the winds might take him. The band’s been at it for some time, and at a point when many can write off a release as just another album in the chain, this alone proves that Arbouretum still have a nail to crush into the coffin of their contenders.




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Mapache – “Me Voy Pa’l Pueblo”

Ah some warm relief to the endless crawl of winter days. Mapache release their second taste of the upcoming Liberty Street and this time they apply their layered harmonies and laconic strum to a classic song from Los Panchos. The ache that the pair bring is hard to ignore as the song lilts on the breeze, barely letting itself alight in your heart before it flutters on down the shore. They pair it with a sepia saturated video that breezes by in the same spirit of the song, directed by Laura-Lynn Petrick. Chances are if you were already easing into the band’s last sunkissed offering, this may be just the thing you’re looking for. Record is out March 20th from Yep Roc.
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Mapache – “Life On Fire”

Shortly after bringing the country croons of their eponymous 2017 LP back into print, Yep Roc announces a new LP from Mapache, From Liberty Street, due out March 20th. The distinctly West Coast duo spent their last record distilling the country-folk foldings of Flying Burritos, Gene Clark, Beachwood Sparks, and The Byrds, and they’re continuing to find footing in the salt-scrubbed eddies of similar terrain on “Life On Fire.” With veteran collaborator Dan Horne (Cass McCombs, Allah-Lahs) in the mix, they settled down into a home-recorded setting that only gives the songs more intimacy. “Life On Fire” is practically reclining in its urge to strip the stress from your day. The song dips just below the horizon, squinting against the afternoon light and letting the bittersweet bliss sigh out in every direction. If you missed the last LP, catch up and get this on your calendar.



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SUSS

There’s a sense of cosmic wonder built into the sinews of Suss’ latest LP, High Line. The veteran NYC band blends a mix of ambient textures with a high plains country crawl that slices Bruce Langhorne with Barn Owl for a trip down an otherworldly rabbit hole. The album has a hermetic magic to it, lonesome, melancholy, but all consuming and engrossing in a way that seems to transcend more than just just feelings. Like a great work in sound design, Suss’ album seems to be narrating a journey, a wander through mystic corridors that’s beyond this plane. The songs ache with the hollowed marrow of driftwood — a life leeched by the sea and left to burn up in the sun – yet the discarded pieces of pulp have tales to tell, a world left behind in their sunbleached bends. High Line is an album marked by erosion and exfoliation, something that seeks to sink deeper into the strata beyond the dip of the horizon.

The band slinks from mirage to mirage, never explaining but always beckoning with a silent wave of the hand for the listener to follow deeper. It’s as if some truth might be uncovered over the next ridge, but there’s always a next ridge. Somehow when the glare recoils we’re left only with ourselves alone in a parking lot wondering if it was all shimmer and shine, or if those epiphanies were tangible and touchable. It doesn’t matter in the end. We’re changed and the sun sets a few degrees to the North from here on out. New maps are forged while the rest of the world sleeps. The album is the band at their peak, feeling out the lay lines of a new and dire era. For those who can see the cartography, this one’s gonna be a stunner. The rest will just hear the wind rustling and wander lost.




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Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn

Canadian psych keystone Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn has a seemingly infinite reserve of boundless energy, already lending his talents to two solid releases for 2019 (The Cosmic Range, Sacred Lamp). Add in touring duties with U.S. Girls and this would stretch most songwriters thin, but this month he’s following up on his two(!) excellent solo albums from last year with another bout of faded singer-songwriter gems. Lightbourne made the biggest impression in the press, but it was swiftly followed by the equally sun-streaked Some Horses Run, which tumbled out just a few months later, and might rightfully get chalked up as one of 2018’s most overlooked record. Continuing to mine his country-flecked, rambling pop predilections on Upper Canada Blues Dunn douses the speakers in a honeyed drawl and low simmering arrangements that pull back from his more psychedelic output.

Dunn’s solo records tend to run the early ‘70s ambitions of Van Morrison through a denim wash that dries deep on the line in the Laurel Canyon sun. Dunn’s versatility as a sideman (tightening the turns for U.S. Girls, lending airy atmosphere to MV & EE) come crashing through on Upper Canada Blues. The arrangements are lush to the point of quenching an invisible itch. As the slides saunter in on “Ribbons” there’s a smell of wet grass, hot coals, and rain on the air. Dunn has an ability to instantly feel familiar, like an artist you’d grown up with – crackling from the AM speakers on an uncle’s truck, humming on the hi-fi of an older sibling, somehow always around and waiting to be found when your ears aged to the proper temper.

That familiarity never rubs off as stagnant, though. The easy entry to Dunn’s work is only further rewarded by its richness. The leather lounge of “Save Our Grace,” the hip-swing wink of “The Beast,” the exhale ease of “Running Right Out” – Dunn’s crafted another afternoon sipper of an album. This is the kind of record that slips off a hard day every time and its likely you’ll be thankful for Dunn’s gravitas. The last couple seemed to slip away from folks, I’d warn not to let this one fly under cover as well. Its too good to miss.



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Daughter of Swords

Dawnbreaker eases in spare and stark, just Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and a guitar, with just a crackle of static in the background. It was originally how she intended the rest of the album, a simple emotional connection with little artifice. The rest of the album did wind up more fleshed out, adding in the voices of her former Mountain Man bandmates Amelia Meath and Molly Sarlé, the stringwork of Ryan Gustafson, and arranging from Phil Cook, but the record still reverberates with the spirit of Sauser-Monnig on a road trip with her guitar. The fuller sound pulls her away from pining folk and into a country ramble that’s dipped in evening sunlight – awash in amber hues and a dousing of verdant cool that battles the slight heat-ripple ramble of summer. The record is full of quenchers straight through. Though her songs are about loss and transition, there’s no woe in sight. The songs are comforting and resilient, the kind of songs that comfort without cradling. Each one is an exhale of strength, the resolution to get up and move on confidently, no matter how many butterflies of uncertainty have housed themselves in one’s restless soul.

There’s a theme of breakup throughout the album, but its not a breakup album. Those tend to wallow and pick at the hurt. This is not the kind of album that let you know its ok to cry, one that lets the burning ball of hurt come rising to the surface. Rather, Sauser-Monnig faces loss with a fresh dawn determination. Her songs sparkle with the sun-dappled brilliance that Mountain Main wove between every harmony. As much as they’re the soundtrack to a new life they’re also the wind outside the window as a hand skims through the cool air in sine-wave sweeps. They’re the rumble of the seat lulling the pain away with each mile. They’re the horizon line ever receding but always promising. With Dawnbreaker on the speakers it feels like that next hill’s going to be the one that lets you cross over the threshold.



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Nick Mitchell Maiato on Rusty Kershaw – Rusty…Cajun in the Blues Country

The new wave of Cosmic Americana brought in a lot of quality cuts last year, but one of my favorites had to be the debut from One Eleven Heavy —the softly choogled psych outfit that brought together members of Wooden Wand, Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura, Royal Trux, and Hans Chew. The band’s record shelves, undoubtedly stuffed with RSTB bait, seem like the perfect fodder to riffle through for the Hidden Gems feature. In fact, James from the band contributed a pick a little while back, long before things had solidified with the Heavy. So with their sophomore LP on the horizon I figured it was time to ask co-founder Nick Mitchell Maiato to dig into his collection and pick out a record that hasn’t cast nearly enough shadow on the majority of the listening public. He picked out a country classic, that, despite being a key Neil Young influence, hasn’t always been elevated to its proper due. Check out how the record came into Nick’s life and the impact its had on his songwriting.

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House and Land

Sarah Louise, fresh from the opalescent vision of her solo LP earlier in the year, is back in league with her folk foil Sally Anne Morgan for a new album under the House and Land banner. As with their last album, the duo makes a sizeable impression with a palette of sparse folk on Across The Field. They exhume traditional folk songs from another time, but much like fellow traveler Jake Xerxes Fussell, their delivery doesn’t feel antiquated. There’s a timelessness inherit in their work, blending their more experimental sensibilities with the weathered and worn material to soothe the heartache of the modern music listener. They’re running Elizabeth Cotton through a Loren Connors filter – finding the starkest kernel of folk and blues and baking it in the sun.

The album leans directly into sorrow, choosing songs that are steeped in a sadness that resonates across eras. Morgan’s fiddle is strident, holding court without showing a shred of lost love, but the pair’s voices can’t help but hang with a delicate dourness. The weight of years pulls heavy on these songs and House and Land etch them straight into the skin, turning the soul to scrimshaw and laying out the burden of decades in intricate detail. The songs on Across The Field seep into every pore on first listen, but they don’t suffocate. They may be achingly sad, but they never seem to wallow. Instead, as the album comes to a close the listener is purged, washed clean of longing and lowness – each rinsed away in the stream of strings and song that the pair have poured out through the album. Their sophomore release proves the pair are brilliant interpreters of song, and you’d do well to get acquainted with them.



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