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    Wednesday, December 31, 2008
    New changes coming in 2009, a happy new year to you, and thank you for reading in 2008!
    posted by joseph kyle @ 4:35 PM   1 comments
    DM Stith Curtain Speech
    Monday, December 15, 2008

    Having heard the lovely and subtle "Around the Lion Legs," I felt compelled to purchase this extremely inexpensive EP from DM Stith, a record that has quickly become a favorite. David Stith has a voice that's vulnerable yet mysterious, and though comparisons will be made to Nick Drake (ugh), his style is much darker than that; he's aided by several friends with big reputations, though their influence on his sound is minimal. There are three big tracks here, with two shorter bits in between. The big one here is "Just Once," a large, grandiose yet humble seven minute epic. The rest of the songs are all darker folk, with guitar picking that reminds me of James Blackshire and a sound that's very reminiscent of This Mortal Coil. "Hoarse Sorrows and the Whole Blind Earth..." has some wonderful whistling and a sad feel to it; it sounds like the closing scene to a melancholy Bergman film.

    Something tells me this guy is going to be BIG in 2009. I hope so! Curtain Speech is a lovely little introduction to a very talented young man. Hope so! I like this little record.

    Listen To: "Just Once"

    Just Once is available now on Asthmatic Kitty

    Labels: , ,

    posted by joseph kyle @ 9:25 AM   0 comments
    Odetta: Requiescat in Pace
    Wednesday, December 3, 2008

    Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

    Listen To: "Waltzing Me All the Way Home" (from The 6ths' Hyacinths and Thistles)
    posted by joseph kyle @ 12:16 PM   1 comments
    Desolation Wilderness White Light Strobing

    My first taste of Desolation Wilderness was their 3-song single, Until Forever. I didn't say it in the review, but I made a mental note to make sure and get a copy of that "forthcoming K album." Well, that album's here now, and I have to say that it's a stunner that quite easily outshines that EP.

    Okay, so that previous review pretty much holds true for White Light Strobing, except expanded. The hazy atmosphere is stil there, but the atmosphere is much less amorphous, while the songwriting is much more lucid. Occasionally, such as on "Forget Everything" or "Horizon Star," the record sounds as if it were recorded in a cathedral. Desolation Wilderness's lackadasical style reminds me of Galaxie 500; haze and muffled lyrics mixing together to create a sound that's both warm and cold. Honestly, I hadn't quite expected this direction for the full-length, but I'm certainly not disappointed by it. To me, it's the little things that make me like White Light Strobing so much; the gentle, hushed slide guitar in "Jupiter" is charming, the laid-back country strumming of "Road Song" makes me feel like I'm moseying down a dusty Western road, and the closing "USA Highway" is simply sublime in almost every way.

    White Light Strobing is sublime; it reveals its beauty over repeated listens. It's certainly one of the prettiest records I've heard this year.

    Listen To: Road Song

    White Light Strobing is available now on K Records

    Labels: , ,

    posted by joseph kyle @ 8:02 AM   0 comments
    Jonquil Whistle Low
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008

    I recently stumbled upon Oxford's Jonquil's newest EP, Whistle Low. This seven-song EP has really made my day, because its vibe is just so darn sunny and bright. And I do apologize for having to make the comparison, but their music has a rustic, harmonic vibe not unlike Animal Collective. (Thankfully, I don't think Jonquil derive much of anything from AC; I simply see a similar melodic style.)

    But, really, who cares about what other bands Jonquil might sound like? I enjoy Whistle Low for what it has to offer: quiet, somewhat pastoral experimental folk with a hint of "pop" like XTC used to do. Just check out "The Weight of Lying on your Back" and tell me otherwise! Their experimental side comes out on "Water is Yours," a gorgeous instrumental that reminds me a bit of Stars of the Lid or Hammock. But the overall downhome, humble vibe found on "Parasol" and "Night Time Story" reminds me most of Paul McCartney's first two solo albums, McCartney and Ram--experimental, yet poppy; beautiful, yet unrefined. Yeah, yeah, there I go again, but the point is this: Jonquil deserves consideration in such a pantheon, because, well, Whistle Low is a wonderful--and wonderfully diverse--record. I do hope to hear more from this group; something tells me I shant be disappointed!

    Listen To: "The Weight of Lying On Your Back"

    Whistle Low is available now on Acuarela Discos

    Labels: , ,

    posted by joseph kyle @ 7:45 AM   0 comments
    Zak Riles Zak Riles
    Monday, December 1, 2008

    Last review, I talked about Grails's excellent mini-album, Take Refuge in Clean Living. I mentioned its mellowness, and one of you fine readers informed me that if I liked that record, then i simply must check out the solo album by Zak Riles. I would like to extend a gracious "thank you" to the person who told me that, because this solo record is a nice compendium to Grails' heavier side. For his solo work, Riles mainly eschews the heavier side of Grails, focusing on the softer side. Don’t think it’s less dark because it’s easier on the ears; Riles can still conjure up a disturbing, dark atmosphere—he just uses different methods. Like on “Res Extensa,” he uses vibes and what sounds like a mandolin to create an atmosphere that makes me think of the scene in The Shining where the family is running away from the axe-wielding father. But the record provides many moments of quiet meditation; I’m really fond of the one-two punch of "Pacific Siren" and "Confluence"—two songs that simply draw you in with their beauty. Both songs are not unlike James Blackshaw, but both are original in their own way. My favorite, though, is "Chloe," which is a beautiful song tempered by the sound of thunder. It almost feels like an instrumental love song, because the melody simply feels warm and loving. For those who like Grails, this is an interesting and wonderful little sidebar. I hope Mr. Riles makes some more solo records—this one is superb….

    Listen To: "Chloe"

    Zak Riles is available now on Important Records

    Labels: , ,

    posted by joseph kyle @ 9:31 AM   0 comments
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