“Mark, you’re the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem … Of all the Mark Kozeleks in the world, you’re the Mark Kozelekiest.”
There’s no topping that for now. Happy holidays, y’all! Thanks for a great year!
Psychedelic and prolific folk rock outfit Big Blood have recently released their second album this year, and you can stream it via the widget above. The title of this thing: Unlikely Mothers.
It’s a double album that features a series of long, patient, and droning psych folk dirges that are both eerie and gorgeous. The album’s cover art and concept directly reference the aunt and mother of frontwoman Colleen Kinsella, both of whom were nuns during Vatican II; however, Colleen’s mother left to pursue other things–you know, like being a mother.
While some of the tracks–and this record, generally–feel unnecessarily long-winded, there’s something twisted and alluring about the nine songs here.
Check a review for an older Big Blood album here.
Singer-songwriter J. Tillman, a.k.a. Father John Misty, just dropped a simple, kaleidoscopic video for the song “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins),” which is one of the many tracks that will be featured on his upcoming album, I Love You, Honeybear. It’s currently looking at a February release via Sub Pop Records.
While I find the video underwhelming, I’m completely swept off my feet by the song. Tillman’s voice is lovely and inviting, and horn section on this thing has a spice whose origin I can’t quite put my finger on. Is it South American? Middle Eastern? Maybe a mix?
The instrumentation is wonderfully layered, and the story told in the lyrics is worth diving into as well. Definitely looking forward to this record.
Stream: Sun Kil Moon – “The Possum”
After all that War On Drugs business, it’s nice to hear Mark Kozelek taking SKM back into less controversial territory with this new single titled “The Possum.” It’s a nine-minute cut that, like much of the material on Benji, focuses on life’s little learning experiences. This particular one involves an injured possum and a Godflesh concert. Mark tries to match the ferocity and excitement of the situation with straining, impassioned vocals and a steady drum beat from Steve Shelly. However, that’s just the first third of the track.
The song shifts from one mournful guitar passage to another in its final moments. It would seem as if the concert served as a fun distraction from what would otherwise be Mark’s uneventful movie binges. Then his mind drifts back on the possum walking his last walk, and Mark reflecting on youth and old age.
It’s certainly an interesting track, and tackles a lot of familiar themes with an even more ambitious approach to structure.
Wildbirds & Peacedrums return with one of their catchiest efforts yet.
UK-based art pop outfit alt-J releases an even more obtuse followup to their popular debut album.
Ethiopian-born Finnish singer-songwriter Mirel Wagner very quietly released her debut of creaky, stark folk music with a self-titled record in 2012. The whole thing was very minimal and dark and somber, so it isn’t too much of a surprise that it didn’t catch too much buzz (which is unfortunate, really). But now, Wagner has signed to Sub Pop for her sophomore record, When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day, and has released a new song.
“The Dirt” follows a similar pattern to her debut songs, but it has a richer production and songwriting value, with Wagner’s voice really shining throughout, with just the right dab of reverb. It has a bluesy strut (blues has always been a clear influence on her brand of folk), and the electric guitar that comes sliding in has a rustic, rickety feel that fits the song perfectly. It’s nice to hear Wagner’s songs get a couple more musical elements embedded into them; she does a nice job with these small but important assists. And when she closes the song with the chilling, “You’ll be in the dirt / You’ll be the dirt,” it just gets me all scared and excited.
When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day is out August 12 via Sub Pop.
A soft, uplifting piano ballad from Marketa Irglova, which is the name of a Czech singer-songwriter who currently resides in Ireland, I believe. She’s about to drop her sophomore full-length album, which is titled Muna, in September. Look for this LP on ANTI-, and just allow yourself to be enchanted by this track.
New York singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten tests patience with a slow burner of a new record.