Staff Picks: Music
A friend from Seattle turned me on to the music of Damien Jurado a couple of years ago so I was excited to stumble on a new cd of his, Maraqopa, as I browsed the KPL new music section. Now I can't stop listening to this mixture of what Larry Fitzmaurice at Pitchfork calls, "soft-psych freak-outs, rainy folk, haunted 1960's pop, and slow-burning oddball sparseness." I googled Jurado and found out I'm a Johnny-come-lately to his music as he has been around since the mid 90's, releasing albums with Sub Pop Records and now with a label based in Indiana called Secretly Canadian. If you like Neil Young and the Fleet Foxes give Jurado a try or come and browse our music section and see what you discover.
One of the best alt-country CDs of 2012 was Rhett Miller’s, The Dreamer. Miller, the longtime front man of the Old 97’s, has once again proven that he is one of the best songwriters in music. What I love best about Miller’s solo material is that he is not afraid to dabble in many different music styles, like power pop and folk. The Dreamer is pure alt-country and closer to a new Old 97’s record than his previous releases.
The first track “Lost Without You” starts slow then picks up with a twangy edge that mixes perfectly with Miller’s voice. The song “Out of Love” blends aspects of power pop with the unmistakable instrumentation of bluegrass. “As Close As I Came to Being Right,” a duet with the great Rosanne Cash, is as close as you can get to a perfect alt-country love song. Miller is an underrated talent that deserves more accolades for his contributions.
After listening to The Dreamer you will realize that at its core, Miller has crafted a letter to the idea of love in all its forms. Check it out and treat yourself to a late Valentine.
Rhett Miller - The Dreamer
I love the annual “Best of 2012” lists. As a huge music fan, I pour over these lists and compare what I picked up over the year to what is actually on the list. KPL staff have been posting our lists each of the past few years and I hope you have had a chance to check out my favorite CDs (The list only contains CDs in KPL’s collection.) In my opinion, 2012 was an incredible year for music! What impressed me the most is that one-third of the list contained debut albums. Below is a “mixtape” of my favorite tracks from each album on the list.
“The Way We Move” by Langhorne Slim
“Hold On” by Alabama Shakes
“Pretty Girl From Michigan” by The Avett Brothers
“Clear Eye Clouded Mind” by Nada Surf
“The Crane Wife 1, 2, and 3” by The Decemberists
“Sixteen Saltines” byJack White
“Mountain Sound” by Of Monsters and Men
“Flapper Girl” by The Lumineers
“North Side Gal” by JD McPherson
“Emmylou” by First Aid Kit
“Lost Without You” by Rhett Miller
“Duquesne Whistle” by Bob Dylan
“Here in the Deadlights” by Brendan Benson
“Lakeside View Apartments Suite” by The Mountain Goats
“Take A Walk” by Passion Pit
langhorne slim and the law