The daylight is vanishing and year is getting close to the end. Some are probably already sketching their aoty lists, but I still have a whole lot to do to even mention all the albums I’ve enjoyed during the year. So I’ll carry on sharing songs and my love for the songs.
William Matheny’s debut album Strange Constellations is one of those that I’ve failed to mention even though I really like it. The album came out on Misra Records back in February and I bought a download soon after and it has stayed with me throughout the year. If all my beloved sad bastards have temporarily overstayed their welcome in my heart and depression tries to grow too much, this album is a damn fine kick in the ass. Sure William Matheny also delivers some gorgeous country-tinged ballads, but this one contains a whole lot of energy and rock’n’roll and even a softie like me needs that occasionally. There’s a little bit everything actually. The man has the ability to create beautiful pop melodies, convincing folk storytelling and Hold Steady-ish indie rockers. Maybe some songs fall into good-but-not-that-special category, but doesn’t really matter at all. 99.99% of albums have some of those, but only a selected few have such awesome ones like Blood Moon Singer and Teenage Bones.
Canadian The Burning Hell wrote the song that I’ve loved the most during the past decade, but let’s not get into that again because there’s a brand new The Burning Hell album Revival Beach available on BB*Island. My early favorite song is this great combination of warmhearted smiles and nostalgic tears and it’s called The River (Never Freezes Anymore).
Simon Joyner from Omaha, Nebraska is one incredible songwriter and he is now back with a new album Step Into The Earthquake that is out now on Ba Da Bing Records (USA) and BB*Island (Europe). I completely fell in love with his previous album Grass, Branch & Bone and these days it’s one of my favourite albums of this current decade. Step Into Earthquake probably doesn’t become as important to me and quite frankly that’s pretty much impossible. However, this new double is also a magnificent album and a master-class of songwriting. I’ve had most of these songs on rotation for months, because I bought the Phoenix demos during the ACLU benefit on Bandcamp, but they’ve kept their magic throughout the year. This is Earthquake from the new Simon Joyner album.
I shortly featured this one back in May, but I thought a revisit is in order because a) I still love it b) I just saw that it’s on Bandcamp these days. Back then I couldn’t find it anywhere else than on the Idee Fixe Records website where I bought it.
Canadian singer-songwriter Simone Schmidt aka Fiver spent a few years going through the old case files (from 1854-1881) of patients at the Rockwood Asylum for the Criminally Insane and turned her findings into fictional folk songs. The songs found a home on her new album that is mesmerizing in an unsettling manner and one of the most powerful and breathtaking albums of the year. It might not be an ideal choice as background music for lazy afternoon, but I highly recommend taking the time to listen to this traditional folk album. This is Pile Your Silver from Audible Songs From Rockwood.
I haven’t really followed power pop and garage rock circles that closely during the recent years. Kind of a shame, because that’s the foundation of my music taste and everything I have going on in here is still more or less built on that. One thing that did caught my ear was the new album Impossible Dream from Chicago-based The Rubs that is out now on Hozac Records. I bought a download a while back and have been listening to this a lot on my way to work and back. That sentence doesn’t sound very rock’n’roll and therefore wrong on many levels, but hey being caught in the treadmill of adult life doesn’t stop me from being young at heart. The Rubs helps the task by taking a few years off the clock with their insanely infectious late 70s type of power pop songs. The label recommends it to fans of The Nerves, The Toms, Nick Lowe, The Real Kids etc so that should get you on the correct ballpark. I couldn’t personally think of a much better ballpark. This is Why Did Your Love Run out? from the new Rubs album album Impossible Dream.
A while back The Weather Station did a playlist of her favorite lyricists for The Dowsers. I highly recommend listening to it, because it’s a beautiful collection of songs. There was a lot of my personal favorites like Michael Feuerstack, Marine Dreams, Nap Eyes, Jennifer Castle and Fiver, but also a few that I had not heard before. Out of those new-to-me songs, the one I loved the most was Blue Skies Don’t Care by Ryan Driver and after a few spins I ended up buying the download of the album Who’s Breathing. I’m even a little suprised how easily Ryan won my heart over, because beforehand I hadn’t really spent a lot of time laying in the arms of experimental jazzy ballads. So besides releasing an incredible self-titled album, The Weather Station carried me into new musical horizons and for that I’m grateful. Finding new music through artists that I adore is actually a thing I really love and one of my favorite ways to find new music. If I had some courage I’d start doing interviews and I would always ask my favorite artists to recommend a song as a part of the interview or even as the only feature. Probably won’t ever happen though, because the self-doubt remains too strong and I don’t believe I would be able to find a unique or even remotely interesting angle to them.
Tonight I saw on my Bandcamp feed that there’s a new Ryan Driver album coming out on Tin Angel Records in late November. The first outtake from the forthcoming album Careless Thoughts actually features The Weather Station and it’s absolutely wonderful. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the album when it hits the stores and our hearts on the 24h of November. This is It Must Be Dark Tonight
I also have to use this opportunity to post the brand new The Weather Station video You and I (On The Other Side Of The World) from her self-titled masterpiece that’s out now on Paradise of Bachelors.