Well, my hard drive died, it became 2009, the Colts lost to the Bolts, my computer has been resurrected, school starts today, and Breslin Bowl III comes to a resolution tomorrow. Amid all this, I've had the chance to buy, be gifted and listen to much new music over the break. Here is some of it, all highly recommended:
The Welcome Wagon- Welcome the Welcome Wagon
Sufjan-produced and label-backed (Asthmatic Kitty) husband/wife- PCUSA pastor/church planters play gospel songs, originals, and covers. Sounds like a sequal to Seven Swans. GREAT! Stand-outs: Sold! To the Nice Rich Man, Jesus, Up on a Mountain, Half a Person, But For You Who Fear My Name.
Annuals- Such Fun
Raleigh/Chapel Hill band. Kind of a gumbo of Copeland, Bright Eyes & Death Cab for Cutie, if that makes sense. Stand-out tracks are Hardwood Floors, Down the Mountain, Always Do, & Confessor.
Chuck Ragan- Feast or Famine
Lead singer of now defunct Hot Water Music (Gainesville, FL). Acoustic/Folk. Polemical in a protesty, Seeger-sessions-Springsteen kind of way. Good driving music, solid fiddle and accordian. Stand-out tracks are Geraldine, Do You Pray?, It's What You Will.
Daniel Martin Moore- Stray Age
Kentucky-folk guy, on tour now with Ben Sollee. This one is super mellow and carries many well-crafted lyrics. Similar to Stand-out tracks include: Stray Age, It's You, Who Knows Where the Time Goes, The Old Measure, Every Color and Kind. "You read to me and I steep leaves for you. The like a cure for the like. The ear for the words, the sky for the birds..."
William Fitzsimmons- The Sparrow and the Crow
Sufjan Stevens-without-the-horns. Uses banjo and swoons heartbreak in nearly every song. No doubt this beardo will end up on some primetime tv drama soundtracks. Pensive Lyrics+Pretty Music+Unobtrusive Voice+Love/Love Lost=Greys Anatomy. But that's still okay. Stand-outs: After Afterall, I Don't Feel It Anymore, Even Now.
Okkervil River- The Stand Ins
Austin, TX indie rockers. Solid indie music in the vein of Arcade Fire, Spoon, and pretty much any other Merge band or band that Pitchfork likes. Not really sure how needle-point album covers became so hip. Stand-outs are Lost Coastlines (can't get enough of this one), Singer Songwriter, & Bruce Wayne Campbell Interviewed.
Blitzen Trapper- Furr
Sub-pop group that brings brit-pop sensabilities to the Indie scene, mixed with Neil Young. Good workout music. Just when you think they belong in an iPod commercial they hit you with some solid, straight folk tunes. Stand-outs are: Furr, Black River Killer, Not Your Lover, Saturday Night.