Like a stone eroded by years in the arroyo, Gun Outfit's enveloping "Western expanse" aesthetic of guitar levitations and honky-tonk hexes has become gradually smoother over time. Their fifth LP ranks as their most brutally beautiful statement yet. Drawing from mythologies both classical and postmodern, Out of Range builds a world in which Brueghel the Elder, St. Augustine, and the ancient goddess Cybele ride with John Ford, Samuel Beckett, and Wallace Stevens on a Orphic-Gnostic suicide drive towards the hallucinatory vanishing points of the Southwestern desert, debating the denouement of the decaying American dream.
Dreamers wielding slide guitars. A tradition-warping band, with a punk aesthetic deep at the center and double-guitar desert-rock psychedelia at the surface. - The New York Times
With its echoing grooves, drifting landscapes, and new textures - bits of bluegrass banjo, homemade electric sitars - it has the blue-sky sensibility of a soul-searching road trip. You want to get lost inside of it, to turn it up on a road trip that lasts for weeks. - Pitchfork
Peyote for the ears... Expansive, arid, and dusty. - Uncut
On their most refined and ruefully elegant album, Gun Outfit perfect their incandescent sonic signature: a dusky, canyon-cult blues fueled by melodic dual-guitar weaving and seductive male/female incantations at zero hour. It's the nocturnal sound of desert-damaged L.A. burnout, a soured American surrealism in rock and roll creole: white line fever, paint fume flashbacks, a stranger wading out alone into the black surf. Featuring Henry Barnes (Man Is the Bastard/Amps for Christ) on homemade sitars; engineered and co-produced by Facundo Bermudez (Ty Segall, No Age, King Tuff.)
"Wonderfully evocative, channeling a line of road-worn blues that exudes Zen-like calm and collectedness. Sublimely textured guitars spin off one another into an ether of faded memory, next to skeletal patches of warm, crawling psychedelia. One of the most overlooked guitar bands going." â€“ Jenn Pelly, Pitchfork
"Dylan Sharp is starting to remind me more and more of Lee Hazlewood as both a singer and writer, and Carrie Keith's voice has bent into something between Stevie Nicks and Courtney Love, rasping with beautiful, weatherbeaten soul." - Doug Mosurock, Dusted
"Beautifully miserable."â€“ Impose Magazine
The music of L.A.-based guitarist, singer, and songwriter Kayla Cohen is mutable and multivalent, richly allusive of the hermetic worlds of private-press canyon-cult mystics and East Coast noiseniks alike. Her adept fingerstyle guitar work - nimble but unshowy, always at the service of framing her plaintively unspooling modal progressions and gorgeous, moonlit voice - centers these melancholy pastorales in a hazy, heat-mirage space equally suggestive of familiarity and distance, community and anomie. Itasca's enchanting, acid folk-inflected PoB debut is also the first to feature a full band.
Entrancing guitarist and singer Jake Xerxes Fussell follows his celebrated self-titled debut (produced by William Tyler) with a moving new album of Natural Questions in the form of transmogrified folk/blues koans. This time these radiant ancient tunes tone several shades darker while amplifying their absurdist humor, illuminating our national, and psychic, predicaments. Featuring art by iconic painter Roger Brown and contributions from three notable Nathans - Nathan Bowles (Steve Gunn), Nathan Salsburg (Alan Lomax Archive), and Nathan Golub (Mountain Goats) - as well as Joan Shelley and Casey Toll (Mt. Moriah).
RIYL: Michael Hurley, Bob Dylan, John Prine, Dave Van Ronk, Jim Dickinson, Raccoon Records, Joan Shelley, Nathan Bowles, Nathan Salsburg, William Tyler, Daniel Bachman, Wilco.
"The professor you always wished you had, the human jukebox, the guitar player and singer who makes any band that he's in better. He's a southern scholar and gentleman in the tradition of Jim Dickinson, George Mitchell, & Les Blank. He's a Dave Van Ronk for SEC country." - William Tyler
"A singular combination of pedigree, experience, education, and talent." - The Oxford American
"Beautifully loose arrangements of playful, resilient songs." - Uncut
"Music that takes us to a deep place in the American spirit." - Art Rosenbaum
On his third and most finely wrought album yet, guitarist, singer, and master interpreter Jake Xerxes Fussell is joined for the first time by a full band featuring Nathan Bowles (drums), Casey Toll (bass), Nathan Golub (pedal steel), Libby Rodenbough (violin, vocals), and James Anthony Wallace (piano, organ). An utterly transporting selection of traditional narrative folksongs addressing the troubles and delights of love, work, and wine (i.e., the things that matter), collected from a myriad of obscure sources and deftly metamorphosed, Out of Sight contains, among other moving curiosities, a fishmonger's cry that sounds like an astral lament ("The River St. Johns"); a cotton mill tune that humorously explores the unknown terrain of death and memory ("Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues"); and a fishermen's shanty/gospel song equally concerned with terrestrial boozing and heavenly transcendence ("Drinking of the Wine").
Drawing from British folk, avant-rock, and jazz traditions alike, Wintres Woma-- Old English for "the sound of winter"-- is James Elkington's debut solo record, but you've likely heard his masterful guitar playing and arranging, even if you didn't realize it. Elkington (an Englishman living in Chicago) is an inveterate collaborator who brings his lyrical compositional and improvisational sensibilities to any group. He has toured, recorded, and/or collaborated with Jeff Tweedy, Richard Thompson, Steve Gunn, Michael Chapman, Joan Shelley, Nathan Salsburg and Brokeback, to name just a few of his many enthusiastic admirers. His assured album, recorded at Wilco's Loft, is baroquely detailed and beautifully constructed, featuring both his baritone vocals and some of Chicago's finest, including Tomeka Reid.
RIYL Steve Gunn, Michael Chapman, Kevin Ayers, Bert Jansch, Ryley Walker, Jim O'Rourke, Scott Walker, Talk Talk.
"Jim is a great guitarist and a tremendous, empathetic listener." -- Richard Thompson
The second album of astonishing duets by guitarists James Elkington (who has toured and/or recorded with Jeff Tweedy, Richard Thompson, and Steve Gunn, among others) and Nathan Salsburg (an accomplished soloist deemed by NPR "one of those names we'll all associate with American folk guitar") is a sublime suite of nimble, filigreed compositions by two singular stylists. Belying its title - "ambsace" is the lowest throw of dice; snake eyes - the record thrives on a gentle empathy and generosity of spirit, sitting sneakily protean original compositions alongside gorgeous arrangements of songs by Duke Ellington and The Smiths at the same big hand-hewn table.
"Their playing and guitar tones are so complementary, so perfectly wed that I wouldn't hesitate to put the duo up there with some of the very best acoustic guitar partnerships: Stefan Grossman and John Renbourn come immediately to mind, as does the work of Richard Crandell and Bill Bartels." - Work & Worry
A sublime meditation on mortality and memory, ghosts and grief, Angels of Death casts a series of spells against forgetting and finality, in the form of mystic-minimalist country-soul torch songs about writing, time travel, and spectral visitations. Castle wrote and recorded this breathtaking follow-up to the acclaimed Pink City (2014) in a 19th century church near the shores of Lake Erie, where her family also lived and experienced a constellation of losses that inhabit these bruised musings.
"Castle reaches a pitch of mystical transport so gorgeously ethereal she seems about to drift off into lands that don’t appear on any map." - Greil Marcus, The Believer
"Castle's music is not so much of the earth as floating above it, untethered to the natural order of time and space. Her songs live in that gray area where observation mutates into rumination, and where the physical world dissolves into psychic terrain." - Pitchfork
"Ravishing, soulful ... stands comparison with the best of Judee Sill and Joanna Newsom." - Uncut
The first-ever reissue of the private-press country-rock rarity by Colorado auto body painter, Marine, and garage band lifer Kenny Knight—he played in the original `60s Black Flag—Crossroads recalls a homebrew American Beauty-era Grateful Dead in its world-weary, low-key mood and indelible songwriting. Faded, anxious, melancholy, and beautifully woozy, this out-of-time document belies its 1980 release date. Produced in collaboration with Numero Group, it features liner notes by writer and collector Michael Klausman and Kenny himself.
Mega Bog is the fluid musical moniker of songwriter Erin Elizabeth Birgy, who has spent the last ten years channeling, capturing, and releasing her unique bouquet of fragrant, sci-fi pop experiments with a handful of bicoastal collaborators. She is joined on her fifth and finest album (and first for PoB) by members of Big Thief, Hand Habits, and iji, who help her spin a manic web of emotions into beautiful, abstract future poems and thrilling genre perversions.
The masterful follow-up to his universally celebrated 2017 albumâ€¯50,â€¯Michael Chapman’sâ€¯True Northâ€¯finds the elder statesman of British songwriting and guitar plumbing an even deeper deep and honing an ever keener edge to his iconic writing. This authoritative set of predominantly new, andâ€¯utterly devastating, songs hews to a more intimate sonic signature—more atmospheric, textural, and minimalist thanâ€¯50, stately and melancholy in equal measure. Recorded in rural West Wales,â€¯True Northâ€¯unflinchingly surveys home and horizon, traveling from the Bahamas to Texas to the Leeds of Chapman’s childhood, haunted by the mirages of memory and intimations of mortality. Joining him on this introspective journey is a cast of old friends and new disciples: once againâ€¯Steve Gunnâ€¯produces and plays guitar, and fellow UK songwriting heroâ€¯Bridget St Johnâ€¯sings, collaborating with cellistâ€¯Sarah Smoutâ€¯and legendary pedal steel playerâ€¯BJ Cole, who has accompanied everyone from John Cale to Scott Walker, Elton John to Terry Allen, Felt to Björk to Brian Eno.
After five decades of recording and touring, veteran British songwriter and guitar sage Michael Chapman has finally made what he calls his "American record," and the aptly titled 50 now stands as his late career masterwork, a moving legacy statement by a legend. Backed by a collaborative group of friends and acolytes - Steve Gunn (who also produced), Nathan Bowles (Pelt, Black Twig Pickers), James Elkington (Jeff Tweedy, Richard Thompson), Jason Meagher (No-Neck Blues Band), Jimy SeiTang (Rhyton), and fellow UK songwriting luminary Bridget St John - Chapman tears into both bold renderings of new songs and radical reinterpretations of material from his revered catalog, the crack band adeptly scaling the same rarefied sonic heights of classic Harvest albums like Fully Qualified Survivor, guided by a true survivor's instinct, wit, and wisdom. The result is a sublime chiaroscuro self-portrait, more shadow than light, as an invigorated Chapman wrestles with weighty themes of travel, memory, mortality, and redemption, his world-weary whispers assuming the incandescent power of prophecy.
The deluxe LP package includes tip-on jacket, printed inner sleeve, lyrics, and download card with two bonus tracks; the CD features a gatefold jacket, lyrics, and two non-LP bonus tracks.
The new album by the ever-evolving project of Jaime Fennelly is his most ambitious and spellbinding set of roiling, meditative recordings to date, and the first to supplement his foundational arsenal of Indian pedal harmonium, analog synthesizers, and incantatory voices with a full ensemble, including Janet Beveridge Bean (Eleventh Dream Day, Freakwater), Jim Becker (Califone, Iron and Wine), Haley Fohr (Circuit des Yeux, Jackie Lynn), and Jon Mueller (Death Blues, Volcano Choir). Undying Color braids folk and formal, praise and play, within its heady swells and troughs, invoking American vernacular musical traditions and pulsating avant-garde electronics alike. With prayerful patience and ceremonial gravity, it conjures and celebrates the cyclical rhythms of nature: tidal surges, human breathing, cicadas in the wilderness gloaming.
Deluxe LP edition features 140g virgin vinyl, heavy-duty matte board jacket, full-color printed inner sleeve, and download code for the entire album. CD edition features heavy-duty matte gatefold jacket and LP replica artwork.
A twelve-faceted sonic inquiry into celestial cycles and the illuminating nature of darkness, Bellowing Sun is the majestic culmination of composer, harmoniumist, and synthesist Jaime Fennelly's immersive explorations of the natural world's sensory dimensions and the dialogues between musical traditions-acoustic and electronic, vernacular and avant-garde. Commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago for its world premiere performance, and recorded and mixed by Fennelly with John McEntire (Tortoise), it features Janet Beveridge Bean (Freakwater), Jim Becker (Iron and Wine), and Jon Mueller (Death Blues).
Nova Scotia's Nap Eyes is the greatest band you've never heard, and Whine of the Mystic is their first full-length album, a brilliant small-batch brew of crooked, literate guitar pop refracted through the gray Halifax rain. Recorded live to tape with no overdubs, it's equal parts shambling and sophisticated, with one eye on the dirt and one trained on the starry firmament, inhabiting a skewed world where odes to NASA and the Earth's magnetic field coexist easily with songs about insomnia and drinking too much.
Nap Eyes' keen sonic signature cruises briskly and beautifully along the dog-eared axes of jangle-jaded Oceanic pop music (The Clean, The Verlaines, The Go-Betweens), and through the backpages of Peter Perrett (The Only Ones, England's Glory), via all things Lou Reed and Modern Lovers, without ever sounding very much like anything else happening today.