On his playfully subversive fourth solo album, Nathan Bowles (Steve Gunn, Pelt, Black Twig Pickers) extends his acclaimed banjo and percussion practice into the full-band realm for the first time, showcasing both delicate solo meditations and smoldering, swinging ensemble explorations featuring Casey Toll (Jake Xerxes Fussell, Mt. Moriah) on double bass and Rex McMurry (CAVE) on drums. As he considers the cycles of deceit and self-deception that shape both our personal and political lives, a mixed mood of melancholy and merriment permeates Bowles's own compositions as well as the interpretive material, which draws from traditional Appalachian repertoires and the diverse songbooks of Julie Tippetts, Cousin Emmy, and Silver Apples.
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
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).
The acclaimed Canadians return with an ambitious, allusive third album that achieves a new sonic clarity, depth, and range to match the effortless melodies and extraordinary writing. It's the band's most transparent and personal set of songs to date, in which singer Nigel Chapman interrogates social, psychological, and spiritual milieus for clues about the elusive nature of knowledge. The deluxe 140g virgin vinyl LP features heavy-duty reverse board jacket, color inner sleeve with band photos and lyrics, and high-res Bandcamp download code. The pink vinyl edition (the first-ever PoB color pressing) is limited to 575 copies. The CD features six-panel gatefold jacket with LP replica artwork and lyrics.Brimming with passion & protest. Immediately familiar, yet bracingly distinct... one the most intriguingly idiosyncratic lyricists this side of Dan Bejar. - Pitchfork
One of the best rock bands in business today. - The FADER
One of the most fascinating songwriters we have today. - Newsweek
Purveyors of beatific, sun-drenched roadtrip tunes. Nigel Chapman is owner of one of the most beautiful voices I've heard in years. - NME
Unvarnished diarizing in lean, art-pop songs. - Uncut
Concise, understated alt-rock with cryptic, literate lyrics for Go-Betweens/Bill Callahan fans. - MOJO
The London-based, Cornwall-bred band brings a windswept energy and daylight to a contemplative, gorgeously rendered suite of songs about inhabiting the landscape, and our bodies, in joy and pain alike. Informed by songwriter David Morris's spiritual practice, and recorded largely live in the studio, this is the band's most ambitious and emotionally affecting work to date: atmospheric but deeply rooted, equally concerned with investigating the concrete and the cosmic, both quiet details of the everyday and looming matters of faith.
"So damn pretty â€¦ Always but a squall away from breaking apart." - NPR Music "Fuses folk-rock's past with its future. Red River Dialect is a language open to all." - The Quietus "Brave and different." - Uncut "Evocative songs of Cornish coastal contemplation." - MOJO "Strangely life-affirming sorrow ... a tribute to the power of healing and reconciliation." - AllMusic
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 her fourth (and tellingly self-titled) album as The Weather Station, Tamara Lindeman reinvents, and more deeply roots, her extraordinary, acclaimed songcraft, framing her precisely detailed, exquisitely wrought prose-poem narratives in bolder and more cinematic musical settings. The result is her most sonically direct and emotionally candid statement to date, a work of profound urgency and artistic generosity.
"Timeless... Measured, perceptive storytelling. A singer with an unmistakable & communicative voice, able to convey hope & hurt with equal clarity." - Pitchfork
"She writes literate songs with unusual precision & sings them in an understated, open-hearted way that lends good poetry the directness of conversation." - Uncut
"Bob Dylan aside, the singer-songwriter I've listened to most over the past year, & to whom I expect to be paying attention for many more to come, is Tamara Lindeman, who, under the name the Weather Station, performs songs notable for a conversational fluency, a diarist's powers of observation, & a quiet refusal of emotional simplicities." - Richard Williams, The Guardian
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
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
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.
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.
Legendary Texan artist Terry Allen occupies a unique position straddling the frontiers of country music and visual art; he has worked with everyone from Guy Clark to David Byrne to Lucinda Williams, and his artwork resides in museums worldwide. Widely acclaimed as a masterpiece, his deeply moving (and hilarious) satirical second album, a complex memory palace to his West Texas hometown Lubbock, is often cited as the urtext of alt-country. Produced in collaboration with the artist and meticulously remastered from the original analog tapes, this is the definitive edition: the first to correct the tape speed inconsistencies evident on all prior versions; the first U.S. vinyl reissue; the first CD to restore the full track listing; and the first to contextualize the record within Allen's 50-year career. Deluxe 2Ã—LP package includes tip-on gatefold jacket with lyrics, printed inner sleeves, download code, and 28pp. book with related artwork and photos, an oral history by Allen, and essays by David Byrne, Lloyd Maines, and PoB. 2Ã—CD edition features replica jacket, sleeves, and tipped-in 52pp. book.
5 stars; '50 Essential Albums of the 1970s.' Eccentric and uncompromising, savage and beautiful, literate and guttural. - Rolling Stone
Raunchy, pithy, and deeply redolent. - Pitchfork
Riveting. - NPR
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.
On his exquisite third solo album, Nathan Bowles (Steve Gunn, Pelt, Black Twig Pickers) again augments his mesmeric clawhammer banjo pieces with piano, percussion, and vocals. Instead of the programmatic place-based narratives of its predecessor Nansemond (PoB-16), Whole & Cloven offers a stoic meditation on absence, loss, and fragmentation, populating those experiential gaps - the weighty interstices and places in-between - with stillness and wonder. Straddling Appalachian string band music and avant-garde composition but beholden to neither idiom, Nathan proves himself heir to deconstructivist tradition-bearers like Henry Flynt and Jack Rose.
Legendary Texan artist Terry Allen occupies a unique position straddling the frontiers of country music and visual art; he has worked with everyone from Guy Clark to David Byrne to Lucinda Williams, and his artwork resides in museums worldwide. Widely celebrated as a masterpiece - arguably the greatest concept album of all time - his spare, haunting 1975 debut LP Juarez is a violent, fractured tale of the chthonic American Southwest and borderlands. Produced in collaboration with the artist and remastered from the original analog tapes, this is the definitive edition of the art-country classic: the first reissue on vinyl; the first to feature the originally intended artwork (including the lithographs that accompanied the first edition); and the first to contextualize the album within Allen's fifty-year art practice.
Deluxe vinyl package includes expanded tip-on gatefold jacket, printed inner sleeve, download code, and 24pp. book with artwork, lyrics, and essays by Dave Hickey, Dave Alvin, and PoB. CD edition features replica jacket, sleeve, and 48pp. book.
A master lyricist. - New York TimesEccentric and uncompromising, savage and beautiful, literate and guttural. - Rolling StoneThe single greatest concept album of all time. - PopMatters Like Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger as reimagined by Tarantino. - AllMusic
Recorded live to tape, with no overdubs, on the North Shore of Nova Scotia, Nap Eyes' quietly contemplative sophomore record refines and elaborates their debut, offering an airier, more spacious second chapter, a bracing blast of bright oceanic sunshine after the moonlit alleys of Whine of the Mystic (PoB-20). But the briny, cold Atlantic roils beneath these exquisite, literate guitar pop songs, posing riddles about friendship, faith, mortality, and self-doubt.
For fans of The Only Ones/England's Glory, The Modern Lovers, The Clean, The Verlaines, The Go-Betweens, Bedhead, and all things Lou Reed. With lyrics, color inner sleeve, and download code.
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
Nashville's finest purveyors of febrile root-work psychedelia return with a dizzyingly accomplished second album that highlights an expanded band (including members of the Paperhead and Fly Golden Eagle); bigger, bolder arrangements featuring more and louder guitars, squally strings, and Steve Gunn; and road-ripened songwriting that veers between the frenetic and tender, recalling Jim Ford, the Pretty Things, the Grateful Dead, Dennis Linde, and the Byrds at their most eight-miles-fried.
Reminds me of Eggs Over Easy & the Link Wray albums - a version of country-rock that isn’t too glossy, that still has gravel stuck in the boot toes.- William Tyler
What the Byrds might have sounded like had Gram Parsons joined the band a year or two earlier. Exemplary!- John Mulvey, Uncut
It has that wonderful bar-band sound. Really fresh!- Ann Powers, NPR
Brisk country-rock tunes that might make a young Gram Parsons kneel down and pray.- PopMatters
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
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.