The war broke out and I dropped my camera.
Superwolf - Beast for Thee - When, a few months back, Matt Sweeney (formerly of Chavez, and Zwan) announced his collaboration with Will Oldham (operating under his Bonnnie "Prince" Billy moniker"), to be known as Superwolf, people knew to expect something special. They would use a songwriting style that Oldham had devised working on split EP's back in the day, approaching songwriting as a duel, treating each song written as a challenge, and using each song of his own to force his partner/opponent to new heights. And in Sweeney, he's met his match and then some, because Sweeney is one fucking hell of a songwriter. "Beast For Thee" is proof. I BELIEVE (if what I understand of the track order is correct), that this is a Sweeney song. And it's a fine one. It's quiet, strummed guitar and violin, and nearly whispered vocals. It's a song of love as servitude - not as submission, but rather that implicit understanding, that for those you truly love, you can carry any burden. It's a song of unrequited, constant devotion, and of the sort of selfishly selfless acts to which we're driven constantly. Sadly, this album is not availiable for pre-order yet due to Drag City's minimalist web design. It will be out on Jan. 17 in the UK, and Jan. 25 in the States. Buy it.
Grizzly Bear - Deep Sea Diver - In their early press release materials, Brooklyn trio Grizzly Bear referred to their sound as "cave-core" as a joke. They got taken seriously, and now lots of press folks are hopping on and calling them genre forming visionaries. It's not hard to see why - Grizzly Bear have taken elements of the burgeoning freak-folk scene - particularly mining depths earlier explored by Animal Collective and Sufjan Stevens, and fused it with the sort of echo-laden, soaring baritones that are found in the 80's revivalism abound. It's Shoegazer music without the distortion and feedback, Glam without the flash, and Folk without the singalongs, and the result is something that really does sound like it might deserve the name of "cave-core." The band has tapped into something primordial, with vocals that sound like they're being alternately whispered from mere inches, and yelled from miles away, at the heart of the vortex that constantly threatens to pull everything in. This music is constantly expanding and contracting, at one moent, open and full of space, silence humming between notes, and the next full of sound and noise and crashing down upon itself.
Grizzly Bear - La Duchess Anne - Also from Horn of Plenty, Grizzly Bears debut LP, is La Duchess Anne, which is an odd sort of song. It starts off as a little acoustic lullaby, but there are signs that something is not quite right - the vocals go out of sync, and develop subtle distortions - they come in and out of focus. As the song reaches it's conclusion, it's clear that something isn't right, as a refrain of "how could you fit in?" is repeated until the worlds lose all meaning and the song falls apart. Something is disentegrating on record here, and I only wish I was able to figure out what.
[Buy Horn of Plenty from Insound.com!]