Spring/Summer Album Release Update

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release | Posted on 05-12-2010

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Over the last few months I’ve posted quite a few notices of Album Releases spread across April, May, and June. Here’s a re-cap for your pre/late ordering pleasure all in one convenient place:

April

6th/ Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame

buy: [CD][Vinyl][Digital]

I only recently became a Dr. Dog fan, but since I finally gave their 2008 album Fate a listen, they’re basically ALL I’ve been spinning. I also had the pleasure of catching their live show in Austin a couple weeks back, and it was THE BEST rock and roll show I’ve ever seen. If at all possible catch this tour – the light show is mindblowing.

Dr. Dog - I Only Wear Blue

 

20th/ Horse Feathers – Thistled Spring

buy: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

The third album from this acoustic folk outfit from Portland dropped late last month. I received my vinyl copy a few weeks ago, but haven’t had the chance to fully enjoy it yet. This one sounded good on the first pass:

Horse Feathers - Vernonia Blues

 

May

4th/ Josh Ritter – So Runs The World Away

buy: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

I’ll be honest, So Runs The World Away kinda bored me on the first listen. The second time through, the latter half of the disc sounded better – especially this one with it’s busy acoustic guitar:

Josh Ritter - Lark

 

11th/ Sam Quinn + Japan Ten – The Fake That Sunk 1,000 Ships

buy: [CD][Digtal]

Sam’s first solo endeavor, The Fake That Sunk 1,000 Ships showcases the heartbreaking songwriting ability we all came to love with The Everybodyfields.

Sam Quinn + Japan Ten - So Strong

 

18th/ Band of Horses – Infinite Arms

pre-order: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

I’ve given this one a few spins since picking it up and I like just about everything I’ve heard. This one seems to be a more melodic record than previous Band of Horses albums.

Band of Horses - Laredo removed by request

 

18th/ The Black Keys – Brothers

pre-order: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

The world’s best Blues/Rock duo has done it again with Brothers, the band’s 8th studio album. They continue to invent the grooviest of grooves, but Brothers isn’t as raw as the rest of their catalog – Dan’s songwriting shows through nearly as strong as on his solo album.

The Black Keys - Howlin' For You

 

June

8th/ Deer Tick – The Black Dirt Sessions

pre-order: [CD][Vinyl]

Following their meteoric rise over the last two years, the Providence Grunge-Folk Rockers Deer Tick release their third full album. They opened for Dr. Dog this month in Austin and from the sampling we heard, this one should be stellar.

Deer Tick - Twenty Miles

 

22nd/ Various – Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows (John Prine Tribute Album)

pre-order: [CD]

An All-Star cast of today’s best folk musicians came together to pay tribute to one of folk music’s best songwriters of all time. Whether it’s Justin Vernon, Josh Ritter, Willie Watson, or John McCauley doing the singing, the simply perfect melodies never let you forget you’re hearing a John Prine song.

Old Crow Medicine Show - Angel From Montgomery

Horse Feathers Prepare Third Album

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release | Posted on 03-03-2010

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Portland’s Horse Feathers has released details on their newest album, entitled Thistled Spring. It follows 2008’s House With No Home, which made my Top 10 Albums of 2008. I haven’t had the chance to check out the entire disc, but if it’s anything like the band’s (originally a duo, now a four-piece) first two albums, it’ll be exquisitely peaceful. Their unique brand of classical acoustic folk music, although draped with somber lyrics, evokes an elegant positivity. Check out a post I wrote on Horse Feathers back May of last year.

Thistled Spring (out April 20 via Kill Rock Stars)
1.  Thistled Spring
2.  Starving Robins
3.  Belly Of June
4.  Cascades
5.  This Bed
6.  The Drought
7.  Vernonia Blues
8.  As A Ghost
9.  The Widower
10.  Heaven's No Place

Pre-Order through Amazon

 

For now, Pick up the Cascades 7″ that includes a cover of Gillian Welch’s Orphan Girl.

A Further Look: Horse Feathers

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 05-21-2009

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My latest music acquisitions have consisted mainly of Ryan Adams 7″s, a few tracks here and there, or newly released vinyls yet to hit my doorstep. For this reason, I’ve spent quite a bit of time going through the buttload of music I picked up last year. Some of the latest additions to my library in 2008 were the two albums from Portland’s Horse Feathers. I quickly adjusted to their mellow, almost classical sound and promptly added their 2008 album, House With No Home, to my best of the year list at #8. In retrospect, my only regret so far is that Horse Feathers weren’t placed higher in the list.

Upon my re-examination of the band, I’ve come to realize that the depth at which they make music is a testament to the varied talents of the revolving cast of musicians, the only piece remaining constant being lead vocalist Justin Ringle (pictured). The primary songwriter and guitarist, Justin is the defacto brains behind the operation. For the recording sesions of both their debut, Words Are Dead, and House With No Home, Justin employed the help of brother/sister duo Heather and Peter Broderick while the band’s live shows often consist of different musicians (Nathan Crockett, Catherine O’dell, Sam Cooper…). This varying lineup leads to a unique sound that comes across as both sparse and plentiful. The songs are often very music-driven – violin being a big part – allowing Justin’s vocals to escape the spotlight. The soft, airy delivery in his words only add to this effect; these elements coming together to create a fresh, truly enjoyable sound (check out this interview with Justin in which he speaks on some of these vocal choices, whether deliberate or not).

The most recent output I’ve found from Horse Feathers was this remarkable video from BaebelMusic.com:

The additional players present here are Sam Cooper (banjo) and Nathan Crockett (fiddle). Justin can be credited with not only vocals and guitar, but also some very well-timed tambourine-under-foot. This video is further evidence for my theory that the best bands tend to be three-pieces.

Horse Feathers – Finch On Sunday
from Words Are Dead (2006)
Horse Feathers – Albina
from House With No Home (2008)

Buy Words Are Dead (Lucky Madison) – [Vinyl/CD] [eMusic]
Buy House With No Home (Kill Rock Stars) — [Vinyl/CD] [eMusic]
Horse Feathers on MySpace
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More Horse Feathers on This Mornin’…
New Digs (11-11-2008)

Top 10 Albums of 2008 (Part I)….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, album review, best of 2008, lists | Posted on 12-27-2008

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Just in time, i bring you my list for the Best Albums of 2008. Throughout this year-end list process, i’ve come to realize i don’t like making lists. Maybe next year i won’t order them.

i will offer some limited justification for my picks after naming each album, so i won’t go on too much here in the preamble. But i feel like i should explain some of my decision making processes. Since really getting into good music in the last couple of years, one of the biggest changes i’ve gone though is to deeply respect the concept of an album. An album shouldn’t just be a collection of songs thrown together haphazardly; an album should have an overall theme, a prevailing mood, a focused direction. Like any good story, an album should have a distinct beginning, middle, and end. It should feel like a completed project. In most cases, albums represent what a band/artist has to show for their talent and inspiration for that year. Often though (as for the group that takes the top spot on my list), bands put out multiple albums in a year. In these cases where the artists’ muses are set to overdrive, you get to see a maturity and musical transition from a much closer viewpoint.

Most of my picks – the top 4, for example – were fairly easy decisions. The rest of my list however, required much more deliberation. i made this list about six times, and albums 5-10 changed form as much as Texas weather. With time running out, i forced myself to come to a final count. Some really good albums didn’t make the cut – even some i was subconsciously rooting for. But i will stick by picks (for at least the next week).

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10. Bombadil – A Buzz, A Buzz
4/29/08 ~ Ramseur Records

The guys in Bombadil were some of the first folks to reach out to this new blogger back in April. They thought i might be interested in their music and subsequently sent me a promo copy. What i heard was one of the most youthful and unique albums ever. Eight months later, A Buzz, A Buzz remains just as refreshing as day one; and just as unconventional as the first time i heard that Peruvian flute put to use. Read my original Bombadil post.

Julian of Norwich

Purchase: [Amazon][Direct][iTunes]
(Website/MySpace)

9. Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight
4/14/08 ~ Fat Cat Records

One of the latest additions to this list, The Midnight Organ Fight obviously didn’t require much getting used to. This Scottish band has found a perfect indie-rock sound that doesn’t come out trite or overdone. Immediately impressive guitar licks provide a background for thoughtful lyrics sung with barefaced emotion. Read my New Digs from November 11th with a feature on FR.

Head Rolls Off

Purchase: [Amazon][Direct][iTunes]
(Website/MySpace)

8. Horse Feathers – House With No Home
9/9/08 ~ Kill Rock Stars

Another late applicant for this list (read the same New Digs with a feature on Horse Feathers), House With No Home is a sparse, rustic folk album. The outward simplicity in the songs allows the true musical talents of this trio (sometimes a quintet+) to shine through. Horse Feathers toes the line between Classical and Bluegrass to bring you a sophisticated yet still earthy effort.

A Burden

Purchase: [Amazon CD /Vinyl][Direct CD /Vinyl][iTunes]
(Website/MySpace)

7. The Dedringers – Sweetheart of the Neighborhood
7/10/08 ~ Dedcrow Records

My local pick for this year goes to Austin/Houston’s own Dedringers. At first this album didn’t seem like a year’s best, mainly due to the fact the majority of the songs on Sweetheart had been floating around Sean and Jonny’s setlists and Myspace page for the last couple of years. Finally finding a profitable avenue through which to release a full-length disc, The Dedringers grabbed the best of those older songs and combined them with a handful of new tunes (including #6 on my Best Songs List as well as a groovy cover from the side of Townes Van Zandt that is often overlooked). Their strong folk influences are sometimes clouded by other… dirtier, electric ones, but the guys found a perfect balance between the two on Sweetheart of the Neighborhood. If you’ve been a regular here for a while, you know you could have picked up the album FREE a while back.

Institution

Purchase: [Amazon][iTunes]
(Website/MySpace)

6. Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson – Rattlin’ Bones
9/16/08 ~ Sugar Hill Records

One of my most anticipated 2008 releases did not disappoint. What was said to be Kasey (and husband) returning to their musical roots was just that. Often stripped down, always well-crafted songs center around themes of Heaven and Hell in this AIRA-winning album. The title track received the #2 spot on my Best Songs List. Check out Nelson’s more in-depth review over at A Fifty Cent Lighter… If you don’t know about Kasey, check out my Artist Spotlight.

Jackson Hole

Purchase: [Amazon][Direct]
(Website/MySpace)

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New Digs…..

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, new digs | Posted on 11-11-2008

Tagged Under : , ,

My new music radar has been on sleep mode for a while. i had to sort through a multitude of Fall releases and begin making a year-end list as of late. But yesterday, i was jonesin’ for some new aural pleasure. i had 4 band names in mind when i went to The Hype Machine for some research. What i heard was instantly gratifying. 2 are very folky, 1 is crazy ambient-punk, 1 is Eurofolk – all are uber-hipsters.


Horse Feathers

Portland, Oregon indie-folk outfit Horse Feathers released their sophomore album in September on the eclectic Kill Rock Stars label (The Decemberists, Deerhoof, Colin Meloy). Sporting traditionally bluegrass instruments, Horse Feathers are refreshingly anything but bluegrass. Justin Ringle leads with airy vocals a la Sam Beam, while Heather and Peter Broderick, Nathan Crockett, Catherine O’Dell, and Sam Cooper offer their talents on loads of unusual instruments. Their sound is perfect for a rainy Fall day like today. Peter and Nathan both play the violin, and in this setting, it is truly classical violin. Often ominous, but always tastefully done, this element gives the Horse Feathers a truly unique sound. (MySpace/Official Page)


Horse Feathers – Working Poor

Buy House With No Home

Frontier Ruckus

Together, Matt Millia and Anna Burch sound like a younger Sam Quinn and Jill Andrews – with more energy to boot. Add wandering banjos, horns, a harmonium, an ebow, and additional harmonies from the rest of the gang and you get… well, a ruckus on the frontier. This Michigan folk group released The Orion Songbook earlier this year as a follow-up to a their now out-of-print debut EP, I Am The Water You Are Pumping. Bonus points for effective employments of a musical saw. i just received a promo copy of the new album, so i may write another, more in-depth post on these guys. (MySpace/Official Page)

Frontier Ruckus – Rosemont
Buy The Orion Songbook

Deerhunter

Bradford Cox and band don’t fit the mold of my usual tastes here at This Mornin’… – too electronic and borderlining NOISE – but at the recommendation of a friend, i checked ‘em out. What i’ve heard from their new release Microcastle isn’t bad. It’s tame enough to allow me to listen with inventive melodies often lacking in their genre. i don’t see myself purchasing this one, but i might kick a few songs around a while and see what happens. (MySpace/Official Page)

Deerhunter – Never Stops
Buy Microcastle

Frightened Rabbit

Scottish indie-pop/folk band Frightened Rabbit put out their second full-length album this year. The Midnight Organ Fight is essentially Euro-pop and still very relatable for me. Climbing tempos stall to highlight emotive lyrics while engaging beats are accented with both acoustic and electric guitars. Frightened Rabbit has remained busy throughout their short existence. Five EP’s surround their two releases and, most recently, the band put out a live album. (MySpace/Official Page)

Frightened Rabbit – Good Arms vs. Bad Arms
Buy The Midnight Organ Fight