Thursday, November 26, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Is the myth of folk music gone? No, quite the contrary as a matter of fact. All around the world musicians are looking to their folk roots and establishing themselves as folk based artists. Dalarna, Sweden is no exception to this either. Under the moniker of The Tallest Man on Earth, Kristian Mattson has stepped into the scene. What sets Mattson apart from other contemporary folk artists, (Trapper, Oberst, Iver) is his traditionally based sound. Mattson is a humble man who would never compare himself to Bob Dylan as anything more than an inspiration, however his wounded howling stripped vocals, delightfully melancholy acoustic strum fits, and brilliant lyrics would put him far above many of the striving artists currently in circulation. I won't go as far as to title him as the "Dylan of this age" but i will be so bold as to call him the one with the potential to breath life back into the genre as a widely accepted one again, much as what Iver has the potential to do as well. Through Tallest Man, Mattson is able to speak freely and truly, as an artist hopes to as best they can. His sincere affection is apparent in cuts like The Gardner, and The Sparrow and the Medicine, both off of his much enjoyed 2008 release, Shallow Grave after his well received self titled 2007 E.P. He also more than holds his own with his more playful tracks, Like Honey Won't You Let Me In. His traditional side flourishes in the beautiful raw power of Pistol Dreams, with his vocals at their peak soul provoking, modest cowboy folk singer levels. He is a quiet, modest artist who stays out of the media for the most part, so not much is known regarding his next release. But with how well produced and lovely Shallow Grave came to be, it is not hard to comprehend that it probably wont be for long until the next one drops. For those interested, he finished a tour with Bon Iver in the begining of this year, and the videos are on google video. So is Mattson the new poster child of the folk world? That's for you to decide, but in my opinion, as much as i Love Oberst, its about time a new face stepped in...
The use of the layered keys and rhythms makes their sound limitless with ideas such as these which can also be seen in Highways Like Veins the closing track off their 2000 release From the Vapor of Gasoline. Even in their earliest works, these boys have been dealing out the heaviest, deepest melodic masterpieces and only continue to do so. Now they haven't had a release since A Data Learn, but they dropped a release date on their new album Chez Viking, said to come out November 24th, of this year. If they can manage to keep up the solidity of their sound, and stay true to their experimental groove session roots, then this new album has the capability to put them back in the mix and show everyone just why they are a band to watch out for, as they are changing the face of modern music in an incredibly good way.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
In exception to modern drag, and vocoder teeny bopper mania, exists a working act truly in need of much deserved hype. The Black Keys, of Akron, Ohio are one of the best, if not, the front running act in indie music in regards to under appreciation. Since 2001 they have released six studio albums, channeling stevie ray vaughan mud blues, cream-esque gritty guitar licks, and thick, edgy rhythms. The muffled production (courtesy of producer/drummer Patrick Carney) gives off an extra air of throwbacky goodness. At first glance, hearing certain tracks (especially chulahoma era and Thickfreakness era sound) would lead one to take this as just another rock act struggling to preach their pretentious, trite attempts at political asylum in the young audience, but given a deeper look, the sould is there. In full. The emotionally connected and tortured vocals of Dan Auerbach (lead vocals/lead guitar) lace in so gracefully and effortlessly, its nothing short of pure genius when linked together...or pure madness depending on your particular take on them. For avid music lovers, or downloading pirates, they cannot be judged by just one album. As they are a powerfully swift duo, their sound is never stable and careful, it has spanned from backwater gumbo blues, i.e. Thickfreakness, garage jam band, i.e. Rubber Factory, to politically active children of the revolution, i.e. Magic Potion, to edgy roadhouse blues blasting, i.e. Attack & Release.
Hopefully they will continue to gain momentum in the music community, and continue to play bigger and better shows. Speaking from experience, viewing them at Roots Picnic this year was quite the spectacle, they destroyed an entire amp stack on a Strange Girl inspired jam freak out. These fashionable young blokes know just where they come from and what their sound is. If they can hold steady and keep going this will definately be an act to follow these next few years.
Definately Give these cats a listen, but really, shell out the 11$ or so to buy these albums so they can keep em coming;