Roo & the Howl – Me/We

rooandthehowlSo I have a habit of clicking on the supporters of an album to see their collection, something I’m sure we all do. I tend to be more interested in people whose taste only vaguely corresponds with that of my own, because that’s a way of seeing through a window I wouldn’t have otherwise looked through. And by doing that, I listened to Roo & The Howl, a great artist name by almost any standards you can possibly care to mention.

For reasons I’m not entirely sure of, I haven’t listened to much music lately. What I have listened to hasn’t formed any coherent thread, either. Even so, a very tastefully produced country flecked indie-americana album would not have been high on my list of suspects as ‘worth dusting off my blog’ for.

If you imagine a mellower, country-er Heron Oblivion then you’ll be getting somewhere close, at least given my very limited knowledge of this particular field, a limitation which makes it impossible to give you any further references. Maybe I’ll edit some in later.

I’m not sure if she’s got anything else coming as the website seems to have not been updated in a while, but if she does, I’ll be most interested in seeing which way she travels.

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Medicine Moon – Tales Of An Umber Earth

medmoonIn complete contrast to the post from this morning, I bring you the rich and textured neo-folk of Medicine Moon.

(You can just tell I’m planning a series of contrasts, can’t you?)

This music is gorgeous. Shantel Amundson and Sammy Fielding bring tunes to sooth you and lift you, whilst hypnotising you somewhat at the time. I don’t want to assume which member is the male and the female because there’s ambiguity there*, so I’ll just say that the male vocal is a rich, deep voice, harmonised beautifully by his female companion. (I’m guessing that Sammy is the bloke, but I have met girls called Sammy in the past, and I’ve never seen the word Shantel before). They describe this as cavernous drones and nocturnal serenades, which doesn’t do too bad a job. I’ll add that it also works when listening on headphones at work whilst looking at spreadsheets.

It’s not a million miles away from the absolutely marvellously wonderful Horse Cult album of last year – indeed, I think it was their recommendation that led me to try this out.

*my web search only brought the bandcamp page or their ****book page, and the latter won’t show me nought without I login, and I don’t have or want an account.

Wovenhand – Blush Music

.blushmusicWe interrupt this trip around the music I’d like to buy with a nod to a great album from 2003. Apparently, this was music that David Eugene Edwards wrote for Ultima Vez, a Belgian dance company, which may have something to do with having a less overtly religious theme than his usual fare.

It is also more laid back than the usual Wovenhand approach to things, which has been increasingly heavy in its southern gothic approach to americana. Check out the 14 minute version of Ain’t no Sunshine. There are occasional moments of upping the volume, though, and the contrast increases their power, a good example being Your Russia (without hands).

His previous outfit were 16 Horsepower, who made the absolutely wonderful Sackcloth & Ashes, a proper hoedown of an album with quite a preaching from the pulpit feel to the lyrics, all apocalyptic imagery and burn-in-hell admonishments. Despite that, I fackin love that album; the songwriting is astonishingly brilliant all the way through, and the arrangements are top notch.

 

Charlie Parr – Hollandale

hollandaleIt never occurred to me to look for Charlie Parr on Bandcamp. It was after I did the recent post on Daniel Higgs that I had a look at the supporters collections – something I sometimes do – and found a follower called Charlie Parr. Could it be the same one, I thought?

See, I have in my digital archives an album called Roustabout by said artist released some years ago now, and I think it’s wonderful. Kind of a shit-kickin’ bluegrass thing going on, modern country blues, I suppose. Don’t ask me about genres and all that. So I did the search in the artist box and whaddya know… I don’t know if the supporter of ‘viv’ is the same one, I’m too stupid to figure it out (can you get to One Dog Clapping from my profile? I’m not sure you can), but nevertheless, there’s lots of Charlie Parr on Bandcamp.

This here Hollandale is actually somewhat unlike most of the recorded stuff I’d previously heard him do, in that it is largely improvised and somewhat more in the ‘American primitive’ tradition (another crap genre name – why is it that an American person sitting down with a guitar and jamming stuff out is labelled primitive?), I’ve heard similar stuff from John Fahey. But it is very hypnotic, not wholly unlike the way Crow Tongue hypnotise me.

And whilst you’re there, go over and listen to God Moves on the Water from Roustabout. I fackin love that one.

Creech Holler – The Shovel and the Gun

 

crehol   This was probably my favourite album of 2008. Probably. I don’t honestly have an exhaustive list of albums released in 2008, and I’m not sure I’ve got round to listening to all of them yet anyway.

This is lo-fi shit-kickin back porch electrified alt-country gospel blues at its rawest and finest. They do versions of standards like John the Revelator and The Cuckoo, but they also write some cracking tunes of their own too, such as Devil’s Eyes and The Color of Bone.

Because there doesn’t seem to be a page where you can listen to the whole album, I’m going to find you some YouTubes. Unlike the other day, I doubt I can find the whole album…

Raymond Lee:

Devil’s Eyes:

Jeff Zentner did an acoustic version of this on this album

John the Revelator:

Live version of The Cuckoo:

Live version of When the Temptor Calls:

 

I think you can listen to all the album at Last FM, but I think you may also need a spotify account which is a new restriction and yet another reason to pay it less attention, as I no have that account and nor am I likely to get one. Also, I’m on an enquiry desk again so I can’t actually test it.

Creech Holler don’t seem to have released anything further since this album, their preceding work With Signs Following, was very nearly as good. Jeff Zentner’s solo stuff is much more mellow, being predominantly acoustic.