It’s December! And I hands down love this month, it’s even now virtually snowing as I’m typing on wordpress. A post on Christmas songs is coming soon, if you’re keen to get in the mood my top songs on 2011 on tumblr, including Withered Hand, Olympic Swimmers and Slow Club.
In the meantime screeds of top album lists have been flying around so I’ve been taking stock of some exceptional releases which I almost missed this year. Found through the labels and blogs I follow, or by happy coincidence, here are some things to treasure.
Records to Remind you…
About the Importance of Discovery
Willis Earl Beal – Acousmatic Sorcery
Hailing from Chicago Willis Earl Beal materialised in the music world after he flyered the city with illustrations of himself, listing his likeable character traits and song singing ability, in the hope of finding friends and/or a girlfriend. FOUND magazine uncovered his enigmatic story and a 17 track album lying completed. Now titled Acousmatic Sorcery it was released on Hot Charity earlier this year. A powerful display of talent, Beal’s unusually pitched voice combines with minimal and delicate backing to create a straightforwardly beautiful collection: simple, heartfelt, significant songs.
A screen test for ‘Wavering Lines’
Of Simple Things
Bonnie Prince Billy – Now Here’s My Plan EP
Will Oldham’s Bonnie Prince Billy material has long since fused the best of musical things: an Americana premise, themes of love and lovers, heartache and betrayal and a deep, gruff vocal.
Released back in August ‘Now Here’s My Plan’ is a collection of six artfully rearranged tracks, which see Oldham and his cohorts demonstrate a rare ability to cocoon the listener in honest, fervent music. Shifting from the freewheeling country of ‘I Don’t Belong to Anyone’ to the heartfelt notes of ‘Beast For Thee’ and yearning ‘After I Make Love to You’ it’s charged, weighty music which does something rare: transports you somewhere completely different. For me that place is a dimly lit Texan bar, where there’s the type of band you want to slow dance to, the odd brawl and plenty of whisky drinking.
Going through his old songbook I found his first single, released under Palace Music, a crackly folkish tune Ohio River Boat Song…
School of Seven Bells – Put Your Sad Down EP
This newly released five track EP from the New York dream pop band School of Seven Bells almost slipped right past me. It does however do exactly what you’d expect from the title, all swooshing, hazy melodies, ethereal vocal, synths and plucked beats.
Listen and be happy!