With only so many hours in the day and with so many albums being released, sometimes a stable equilibrium is difficult to achieve. But that’s no excuse. Here are five great albums that should have been reviewed.
Various Artists – Remembering Mountains : Unheard Songs By Karen Dalton
Like sad songs? Like Karen Dalton? Then love this album. Some of the finest women performers take unheard Karen Dalton lyrics and put them to music. The only thing better than the idea is the delivery itself. With contributions from no lesser artists than Lucinda Williams, Sharon Van Etten, Patty Griffin, and Julia Holter, the quality is very high. And what’s really nice is that some of the best performances are by the not-quite-so-well-known figures. Diane Cluck’s offering is a particular favourite.
Tomás Pagán Motta
Tomás Pagán Motta is either a hard-bitten Mexican-Irish revolutionary leader with plenty of years of action behind him, or a fey folk singer who’s likely to be blown away by the merest breath of wind. Listen to only a few chords of his new album and the puzzle is solved. Channelling Nick Drake, Tomás Pagán Motta delivers a set of fragile and quite beautiful songs. They’re hardly rousing campfire songs for budding revolutionaries, but they’re affecting all the same.
Sóley – Ask the Deep
Another gem from the land of Eyjafjallajökull. Previously a member of Seabear, Sóley Stefánsdóttir sounds like Emiliana Torrini’s evil twin sister. The melodies are just as catchy and the phrasing on a song like ‘Ævintýr’ is very similar to her Emilananess. But there’s more of a creepiness to Sóley. On Ask The Deep, she shows us the dark underbelly of Icelandic pop. And it’s still very pretty.
Little Wings – Explains
Kyle Field, the brains behind Little Wings, is now on the excellent Woodsist label. Seems like a liberating experience. The musical palette appears bigger. Though these things are relative. The overall tone is still hushed. But the words just flow out. And on a song like ‘Fat Chance’ there’s just no stopping them. No idea what they mean, but totally compelling nonetheless.
Vetiver – Complete Strangers
Andy Cabic is Vetiver. And Vetiver are masters of gentle, catchy, folky, poppy melodiousness. Even though they’ve left Sub Pop label, Complete Strangers picks up where its predecessor, The Errant Charm, left off. Great production. The songs get stuck in your head in that good way that songs do.