Posts Tagged ‘North Americans’

Design Inspiration: Brian Blomerth

Checking in here with another round of Design Inspiration, and this time its from a longtime favorite. Brian Blomerth has popped up in a lot of familiar corners with his idiosyncratic psychedelic style, rooted in his “Adult Contemporary Dog-Face” characters with a proclivity for lush color surroundings. His work has dotted tour posters, comics, and album covers alike, working early on with artists like Videohippos before gracing Anthology compilations and Ryley Walker LPs. Last year he penned an ambitious graphic novel that depicts a historical account of the events of April 19, 1943, when Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann ingested an experimental dose of a new compound known as lysergic acid diethylamide. He’s also, incidentally, the designer of the North Americans’ cover from the review earlier this morning. While his style is a feast for the eyes, its inherent psychedelism makes its perfect for the album cover and I’d asked him to pick five favorite covers of all time for the Design Inspiration column. Check out Brian’s picks below and if you get a chance to pick up any of his work outside of his albums and books I’d highly recommend it. Keep an eye on Pups In Trouble to snag limited run shirts in lush tye-die that are nothing less than amazing.

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North Americans

Aiding an expanded focus at Third Man on another side of guitar based records, North Americans’ Patrick McDermott follows up 2018’s Going Steady with his most transcendental work yet. The previous album was rooted in American Primitive, with a bubble of outre synth and experimental touches rising just below the surface. He drew in Julliana Barwick, Dylan Baldi (Cloud Nothings), and pedal steel player and fellow Driftless alum Hayden Pedigo into his orbit and the resulting record had an immediate feel like a woolen blanket for the soul. For Roped In he’s extending the comfort and calm, spending the majority of the record elevating the serene with pedal steel player Barry Walker, though this time friends Mary Lattimore and William Tyler add harp and guitar respectively. Largely, this is a landscape built and maintained by the gentle lap of Walker and McDermott and the world they envision is radiant, rippling in all directions with the slow pick of strings and painterly melt of slide passages.

That Tyler appears on the album is fitting as Roped In evokes many of the same communal cares as his own aching entry from 2019, Goes West. Every song feels like it might have beamed from the players to tape fully in tact as dawn rose over the hills. The playing is nothing if not verdant — alive with a natural fragility and reverence for the meditative state. Every opportunity the record hits the speakers time and trouble seem to melt away. McDermott roots the album in the same American Primitive that brought him to focus in the past couple of years, but its now mixed with a New Age thrum that’s slowing the fingerpicked pace, buoyed by Walker’s weeping slides that land somewhere between harmonious drone and mournful sigh. I mean that in the most complimentary way possible, too. This is the kind of new age that Laraaji is born from, the true believer strain that smooths the edges of angst. While Walker has his own gem of a record on the way later in the year, here he and Patrick have pushed North Americans towards a bliss that cannot be ignored. Quite simply there may not be more beautiful records than this in 2020.



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North Americans – “American Dipper”

Another gorgeous slip into the grooves of North Americans’ upcoming LP for Third Man lands today and its just as elegiac as their first bits that found their way out a couple of weeks back. McDermott and Barry Walker diffuse all the tension in the room with the hushed huddle of “American Dipper.” North Americans’ past work captured the golden hour glow of natural surroundings, but the addition of Walker’s slides make this an even more aching and tender portrait of complete calm and aural transcendence. The video adds a nice touch of mountain air to the song, giving it the right context to radiate serenity to the very core. The record is out October 9th.



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North Americans – “Furniture in the Valley / Rivers That You Cannot See”

The last outing from Patrick McDermott’s North Americans was a meditative, pastoral record that found the artist pulling in contributions from Meg Duffy (Hand Habits), Julianna Barwick, and Dylan Baldi (Cloud Nothings). Focused more on McDermott’s prowess with American Primitive, the record proved to push North Americans into a larger stage that seems likely expand only further with his upcoming record for Third Man. Perhaps inspired by their last outing in pedal steel, the venerable Nashville label hooks in McDermott and North Americans for a new LP that pairs him with Northwest pedal steel player Barry Walker, who also released a record on North Americans’ former home Driftless.

The first taste of Roped In comes with a long, somber video that pairs album tracks “Furniture in the Valley” and “Rivers That You Cannot See” with a narrative of Mennonite travelers, eclipse viewing, and plains states desperation that feels like Noah Hawley might have a hand I there somewhere (he doesn’t just to be clear). The two tracks scratch at the heart of loss, quivering with sadness, sobriety, and human frailty. The album boasts further contributions from Mary Lattimore and William Tyler, and the feel of this is not so far off from the latter’s own First Cow score that was released earlier in the year. The record lands October 9th wrapped again in gorgeous art from Brian Blomerth.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

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