Tag Archive | "Sun Kil Moon"

Top 20 Alternative/Independent Albums of 2014

Tags: , , , , , ,

Top 20 Alternative/Independent Albums of 2014

Posted on 16 December 2014 by Joe

Welcome to our annual celebration of the year’s best independent and alternative albums. Many of our releases are  by artists you may not have heard of. If that’s the case we urge you to read our full reviews, visit their websites and Youtube channels and go and see them live and buy their albums if you like them. There is some great talent out there on independent labels and we are proud to do our bit to help bring them to a wider audience. So sit back, pull up a gig guide, get Youtube on standby and enjoy our favourite independent and alternative releases of the year.

20. Junkboy – Sovereign Sky

Come take a barefoot run across the Sussex Downs, sandals in hand, kaftan lapping in the wind as we head with Junkboy down to the coast. These are the images that this hidden 2014 gem from brothers Rich and Mik Hanscomb conveys with its echoes of flower-power California and good old fashioned British folk and pop. Read our full review here.

junkboy500

 

19. Steven Malkmus and the Jicks – Wig Out At Jagbags

One of the most accessible and satisfying releases from the former Pavement man and his band, who has learnt to curtail his fret meandering leanings in recent years. One of the year’s most solid indie rock releases. Read our full review here.

Wig Out at Jagbags

 

 18. Co Pilgrim – Plumes

Nestled in Winchester is Mike Gale, one of the UK’s brightest song writing talents.  This third album with his band Co-pilgrim is full of beautiful alt-country, Beach Boys harmonies and Pernice Brothers and Teenage Fanclub indie alternative melodies and is a gem. We think its about time you started to discovering Gale’s wonderful music. Read our full review here.

copilgrim

 

17. Avi Buffalo – At Best Cuckold

Four years on and California’s Avi Buffalo have finally released an album to match their breakout single What’s It In For. Full of 1960s pop references and sunny West Coast melodies Avi Buffalo, now of Sub Pop, have arrived as a major creative force in independent music. Read our full review here.

Avi-Buffalo-at-best-cuckold

 

16. John Howard – Live at the Servant Jazz Quarters

You can’t get more independent than John Howard, the singer songwriter who’s first career in the 1970s with CBS stalled before it began. Now from his home studio in Spain he writes, records, arranges, distributes and promotes each release with fierce independence. Here is a fantastic introduction to his work past and present that re-energised our appreciation of the live album.  Read our full review here.

John Howard at the Servant Jazz Quarters, London, 2013.

John Howard at the Servant Jazz Quarters, London, 2013.

 

15. Owen Pallett – In Conflict

Following a tour with The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle, who specialises in autobiographical lyricism and story telling, Pallett has taken a more personal approach with this album. Gone is the fantasy imagery to be replaced with his most personal release to date. As you’d expect from a multi-instrumentalist who is equally at home conducting an orchestra or behind a synth the music is beautiful.  Read our full review here.

Owen-Pallett-In-Conflict-500x500

 

14. New Mendicants – Into the Lime

The New Mendicants are a harmony-pop supergroup of sorts formed in Toronto by Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub/Jonny), Joe Pernice (Scud Mountain Boys/Pernice Brothers) and drummer Mike Belitsky (The Sadies). It will be no surprise to anyone familiar with the work of any of their bands to hear that Into the Lime is a string of melodic pop gems with beautifully sung vocal harmonies. Read our full review here.

The New Mendicants - Into the Lime

 

13. Bob Mould – Beauty & Ruin

With Jason Narducy on bass and Superchunk and Mountain Goats man Jon Wurster on drums Bob Mould arguably is now in his best ever band. This is the second solo Mould album recorded with the pair and shows a veteran performer re-energised and at the top of his game. If you liked Sugar you will love what Mould is doing right now on this album and last year’s Silver Age.

Bob-Mould-cover

 

12. St Vincent – St Vincent

Art rock stalwart St Vincent, aka Manhattan’s Annie Clark, recently revealed that she tries to live ‘at the intersection of accessible and lunatic’. If her latest, eponymously titled, album is anything to go by, this is something she achieves with great success. Read our full review here.

stv-600

 

11. Hospitality – Trouble

This second album is as stunning as their self titled debut and shows a band progressing well, with guitars and synths powering them through an album full of influences from the 1970s world of progressive rock. As with their debut they have some darn fine tunes too. Read our full review here.

hospitality_promo

 

10. Guided By Voices- Motivational Jumpsuit

Each year we lose count of how many albums Robert Pollard puts out, either solo or with his legendary band Guided By Voices. For sake of argument let’s say its about 20 albums a year. This was the pick of his 2014’s releases and sadly one of the last releases by GBV, who’s brief reunion ended this year. Read our full review here.

Motivational Jumpsuit

 

9. Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita

Despite having 20 years experience under their belts this 13th album from the San Francisco punk act manages to give the impression it is a debut by a group of youngsters. Its bold, enthusiastic and packed with a gigantic palette of genres like a band starting out and finding their feet in the world. Read our full review here.

Deerhoof

 

8. New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers

Hailed as a return to form by many reviewers, we say that the Canadian power-pop supergroup never lost their form. It’s another superb release from Carl Newman, Niko Case and co as they continue to pack a punch. Read our full review here.

Brill Bruisers

 

7. Withered Hand – New Gods

If you have yet to discover the songwriting talents of Scotland’s Dan Willson you’ve been missing out. But there’s still time, just buy this fantastic latest release from the singer songwriter, go see his shows and then discover his back catalogue. One of many jewels on indie label Fortuna Pop’s roster. Read our full review here.

withered-hand

 

6. The Phantom Band – Strange Friend

By coincidence with stick with Scottish talent for the next release in our annual run down of the best albums. Listen to the stunning indie rock, pop and synth magic of this album and then join us in wondering why they aren’t one of the UK’s biggest acts around. Read our full review here.

CHEM207-Banner

 

5. Alex Highton – Nobody Knows Anything

Now signed to fledgling UK label Gare Du Nord, Cambridgeshire based singer songwriter Alex Highton has taken his honest folk style to new levels for his second album. One of the most ambitious folk albums you will ever here. Read our full review here.

a0336284569_10

 

4. Happyness – Weird Little Birthday

This album from London based trio Happyness  quickly established itself as one of our favourite debuts with its sardonic wit and Pavement indebted take on indie rock. Among highlights are the superb ‘Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same’. Read our full review here.

Weird Little Birthday

 

3. Sun Kil Moon – Benji

It’s quite an ability to write 11 songs about grief and death and make it one of the year’s most uplifting releases. On each of the songs on Benji, Mark Kozelek, under his Sun Kil Moon moniker,  takes us through some downright horrific tales of loss, but we emerge at the end treasuring life and ultimately happy. Arguably Kozelek’s best album to date. Read our full review here.

Benjisunkilmoon

 

2. Eyelids

When Robert Pollard chose to bring his Boston Spaceships project to an end (the band that released our favourite album of 2011) the core of the band stayed together and formed Eyelids. Headed up by Chris Slusarenko and John  Moen the band play a classic hook laden rock that evokes Big Star, The Byrds, Teenage Fanclub and Velvet Crush across yet another debut to grace our list. Read our full review here.

Eyelids 854

 

1. Papernut Cambridge – There’s No Underground

Two years ago the Tigercats topped our end of year list with Isle of Dogs, a perfect collection of songs about urban London life. Here Ian Button, formerly of Death In Vegas, has created the perfect suburban pop album to complement it. Full of the imagery of his native south east London suburbs and packed with musical influences spanning the last forty years this is one of  the most life affirming,  feel good rock and roll albums of recent years. It is also the second on our list to be released on Gare Du Nord, the label that Button is a founder of. Read our full review here.

outside cover

Compiled by Neonfiller’s writers.

Share

Comments (0)

Green Man Festival 2014

Tags: , , , , ,

Green Man Festival 2014

Posted on 19 August 2014 by John Haylock

Prior to any festival, is it me or does every song you hear on the radio seem relevant to the possible weather options awaiting you? In the week before Greenman I unfortunately heard amongst many, Only Happy When It Rains by Garbage, She Brings the Rain by Can and Before the Flood by Bob Dylan.

Were these dreadful cosmic portents ? Or just unfounded climate based fears? Fortunately the latter, because apart from a little rain on Sunday morning it was unusually fantastic weather for Wales.

HGman

A sold out, grinning crowd of 20,000 descended like hippy bees to the musical honeypot that is the Greenman Festival, greedily anticipating the honey/music analogy I’m trying uselessly to express. Another line up of mind melting music awaited the faithful. Tent up, boots on, beer ready, let’s go.

Starting with some laid back beats from Babe in the Walled Garden, this act were kicked asunder by some kick-arse-moody-quiet-loud sonic mayhem from our Neonfiller.com favourite Happyness. They probably frightened a few of the more sedate members of the Walled Garden community, who were ensconced in deckchairs and seemed to think they were at the seaside.

Happyness

Happyness

Later in the evening Tuung were a revelation. They played a set of joyous, happy-clappy pop that was reminiscent of The Go Betweens. Tuung hadn’t played here for seven years, and were received mightily as they performed the the aural equivalent  of a chocolate box of love (minus the horrible coffee creams). Been here six hours, mind blown already.

Hailing from North Carolina, supercool skinny guy in shades, Jonathon Wilson and his band, cherry pick beauties from his first two solo efforts. Both albums of his proving conclusively that he’s one of the best singer-songwriters currently on the scene. Most impressive tonight were his rendition of Desert Raven with it’s lovely, lilting melody and his stunning lengthy version of Valley of the Silver Moon, complete with a staggering guitar solo that could have melted the South Polar ice shelf. Another name to be to added to the great pantheon of West coast, Laurel Canyon luminaries.

On the other hand Mark Kozelek and his band Sun Kil Moon, who’s current album Benji is the latest instalment in a body of work that goes back to the 1990s when he was the frontman for the Red House Painters, proved to be slightly disappointing. Kozelek writes confessional lyrics that can bring you to tears. It is unfortunate then, that where he usually surrounds himself with an acoustic backdrop in the studio, this afternoon the band want to be Metallica, the mix is too far in favor of the instrumentation when it should be the other way round, his vocals are barely audible in the sound man’s migraine of recorded sound. Oh well, let’s move on.

Toy only have one song. Fortunately it’s not that bad even if it feels like it goes on for five days. Better by far were the much lauded Policia. Access into the Far Out Tent for their set was impossible without a crane and winch. It was absolutely rammed and rightly so due to their polished and well executed happy Portishead vibe. The Augustines, however, are the polar opposite. Brash American, anthemic-punk, full of bravado but unfortunately not full enough to keep me from my bed as this correspondent collapsed from exhaustion and combined white wine overdose only to be awoken at 2am by what appeared to be The Ministry Of Sound next door, kids nowadays etc.

Angel Olson

Angel Olson

Saturday saw tremendous performances by the tiny Angel Olsen. Don’t be fooled by her demeanor, you wouldn’t get into a fight with Angel, not if her lyrics and psychotic country and western stage presence are anything to go by. Also covered by the word ‘riveting’ was Sharon Van Etten, slightly more rocky and atmospheric than Angel but equally fabbo.

My annual ‘ getting blown away by someone you’ve never of’ moment came at teatime as I strolled past the Cinema tent. Inside playing against a ludicrously trippy montage of images and films were a three piece called Thought Forms. If you like the Acid Mothers or Ride or Sonic youth or just the sound of out of control visceral guitars crashing into skyscrapers at 500 mph this was it. They’re from Bath, they’ve been going 10 years and are incredible.

Also on Saturday the beautiful Viv Albertine was interviewed in the literature tent, she has an incredible story to tell. An original member of the first all girl punk rock group The Slits, she recounted tales that were funny, frank, and touching of her formative years hanging around with the Sex Pistols and The Clash. She spoke of her band and all the shit they had to put up with over the years, her battle with cancer and 10 years of IVF treatment. It’s all documented in excruciatingly painful detail in her autobiography ‘Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Boys, Boys’. Go buy a copy of ‘Cut’ the slits debut as well, it still sounds fresh as a punk daisy. Just a lovely, lovely lady.

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs and Mercury Rev were a headlining double whammy of mellow psychedelia. The former have changed beyond recognition since their last appearance a couple of years ago, embracing a more upbeat, throbbing, euphoric guitar driven, Byrdsian vibe. But as good as they were though, Mercury Rev had the edge and were just stunning as they recreated their 1998 opus ‘Deserters songs’. Led by their enigmatic frontman John Donahue, they were uplifting and heroic, heartbreaking and delirious and a perfect end to a perfect day.

Sunday, and a sprinkling of rain slowly gives way to increasing sunshine, the phreaks emerge from their womb like tents, bleary eyed and dazed and confused we do it all over again, but everybody experiences the Sunday at Greenman slowly, in a haze, there’s no rush, take it easy maaan.

Mercury Rev

Mercury Rev

A lovely way to wake up was in the presence of an all Welsh band called 9 Bach. They sing in Welsh as well but it is no barrier, indeed it only emphasized the ethereal nature of the music. Think Clannad but a GOOD Clannad. In the afternoon Nick Mulvey drew down the ghosts of acoustic Gods John Martyn and Nick Drake with his lovely, delicate and often percussive guitar stylings. Rains in the Walled Garden rocked gently but with great aplomb, Other Lives from Oklahoma were perfect for a balmy sunny Sunday playing dustbowl folk blues with great passion.

I got attacked by Wilma Flintstone at teatime, said goodbye to Marvel comics next potential superhero ‘Incontinent Battered sausage woman’, got a slight migraine courtesy of Anna Calvi and her incessant screaming guitar, had some more crumpets, finished of the Bourbon, missed Bill Callaghan, had a go on Oxford university’s astronomical telescope in Einstein’s Garden, saw far too little of The Deep Throat Choir and for some apparent reason bought a tin of HP baked beans. Greenman you spoiled us (again), can you do it again next year please?!

Words by John Haylock, pictures by Arthur Hughes.

Share

Comments (0)

Sun Kil Moon – Benji

Tags: ,

Sun Kil Moon – Benji

Posted on 26 February 2014 by Joe

It’s quite an ability to write 11 songs about grief and death and make it one of the year’s most uplifting releases. On each of the songs on Benji, Mark Kozelek, under his Sun Kil Moon moniker,  takes us through some downright horrific tales of loss, but we emerge at the end treasuring life and ultimately happy.

Benjisunkilmoon

There’s the second cousin who dies in a horrific accident on Carissa, as well as murder, suicide and the simple tragedy of dying of old age. The loss on this album is also of relationships, such as on the brutally explicit Dogs and the loss of youth, on album epilogue Ben’s My Friend. On this track the aging Kozelek doesn’t take the chance to hang out back stage at a Postal Service gig with his friend Ben Gibbard but instead drives home and laments about the ‘sports bar shit’ taking over his town centre and moans about having to stand up for so long at the gig.

Despite the maudlin subject matter there’s an uplifting quality throughout, conveyed through the deep joy of remembering the lives that have been lost and of giving a meaning and depth to each character that he sings of.  On Carissa, he wants to know more about the life of his second cousin and through the rich lyrical story telling we the listener want to know more too. Each tale is gripping and as good as any good novel.

Benji is at its most poignant and powerful when it tackles the loss that is yet to come. Both Kozelek’s parents are still alive, but the devastation when they eventually depart is beautifully covered on the tracks I Love My Dad and I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love.

While clearly drawn from his own life, there is also fiction and artistic license here.  We are not quite sure whether Kozelek genuinely knew all those people he is referring to. Some he admits to, while others have only a small inspiration in reality. Jim Wise, for example,  is a real friend of his father’s, although not by that name.

Musically Kozelek’s acoustic and Portuguese guitars, supplemented by former Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley on percussion and drums, and even a horn section on Ben’s a Friend of Mine, fit the mood perfectly. Vocally Kozelek has developed an extra gravelly gravitas, but there’s still sweetness especially from the backing vocals provided by Will Odlham among others.

Where this stands in Kozelek’s catalogue is high, possibly at the summit. As a piece of story telling its on a par, if not better than his other two Sun Kil Moon masterpieces April and Ghosts of the Great Highway. This combination of lyrical and musical perfection to create a mood and connect with the listener about their life and any loss they feel makes this for me a faultless album deserving of only my second ever top score for a new album in five years of reviewing.

10/10

By Joe Lepper

Share

Comments (0)

Top 100 Albums (70 – 61)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Top 100 Albums (70 – 61)

Posted on 29 March 2011 by Dorian

Everyone has their own Top 100 Albums list, but this is ours based on our love of alternative and independent music over the years. There are some albums here that you will have seen on many lists before but we’ve also opted for some obscurities with the aim of highlighting some different music for you to seek out.

We have been releasing this list ten at a time every Friday. We hope you enjoy this fourth instalment. Here’s our previous instalments (80 – 7190 -81 , 100-91).  See you next week for 60-51.

Also, for  more great albums visit our  Classic Albums section

70. Smog – Knock Knock

Smog - Knock Knock

Bill Callahan, AKA Smog, has been releasing melancholic dead pan songs since 1992.  Knock Knock, his seventh album, added instrumental texture and a new sense of optimism to the Smog palette, it even included a bona fide pop single in the shape of ‘Cold Blooded Old Times’. The move towards more uptempo numbers is only part of the story, the quite introspective side is still in evidence, and the children’s choir on ‘Hit The Ground Running’ is a surprising touch. Knock Knock sits pretty much smack in the middle of the Smog discography and is the best place to start.

69. Billy Bragg – Talking With The Tax Man About Poetry


The cover bares the self deprecating message about this being Bragg’s  “difficult third album.” The reality is that it may just be his best. Expanding the musicianship markedly compared to earlier work the songs retain Bragg’s passionate, political and emotional lyrics but musically this is a far broader album. From standout single ‘Levi Stubbs Tears’, to the folk blues influenced ‘Train Train’, the jaunty ‘Greetings to the New Brunette’, the gorgeous horn section on ‘The Marriage’ to the traditional ‘There Is A Power in a Union’, this 1986 album  is packed with fine tracks from one of the UK’s most accomplished folk artists.

68. Stereolab – Emperor Tomato Ketchup

Stereolab

Stereolab’s take on art-pop, synth-pop and 60s lounge music made them popular with other bands and critics alike, but never lead to a mainstream breakthrough. Their music can seem cold and clinical, their experimental side often overshadowing the quality of the songs. Emperor Tomato Ketchup is the album where all their elements came together perfectly. Opening number ‘Metronomic Underground’ exemplifies why this album works so well, the bleeps, squelches and monotonous repetition offset my smooth organic sounding bass, guitar and organ. This is followed by ‘Cybele’s Reverie’ Anglo-French art pop softened with Sean O’Hagan’s lush string arrangements and mid-way through the album they drop ‘The Noise of Carpet’, a perfect fuzzy guitar pop single. Their most varied and satisfying release.

67. Portishead – Dummy

Portishead - Dummy

Back in 1994 this debut by Bristol band Portishead was just about everywhere. Massive in the US, massive in the UK, its mix of trip hop, experimental rock and jazz made it a staple album of rich, poor, young and old alike.  Through its standouts such as ‘Sour Times’ and ‘Numb’ it perfectly encapsulates a sense of doom within the UK at the time. It was a time when the economy was still reeling from Black Wednesday and the greyest PM of all time John Major was in charge.  We can’t listen to this without thinking of an ’80s rich stock broker contemplating the millions he’s lost from his balcony in 1994 and dreading the nightmare to come.  This was rightly seen as a critical success as well at the time, winning the 1995 Mercury Music Prize. Their self titled follow up failed to replicate this stunning debut and it was not until 2008 with the release of Third that they would reach such dizzy heights of industrial melancholy again.

66. Prefab Sprout – Steve McQueen

Prefab Sprout - Steve McQueen

Paddy McAloon is a songwriter on a par with anyone that came out of the 1980s and Steve McQueen (renamed Two Wheels Good for its US release) is as good as any romantic pop record to come out of the era. ‘When Love Breaks Down’ gave the band their first big hit, and it is a special record, but it is just one of many classic pop gems on the album. ‘Faron Young’, ‘Appetite’, ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Goodbye Lucille #1’ and pretty much anything from the record could be picked for a “Best of the 80s” compilation. It is a sophisticated record, McAloon was aiming to be Cole Porter as much as Paul McCartney, but it is an accessible and fun record as well. Thomas Dolby’s excellent production does firmly date it in the mid 1980s, but that is no bad thing, it stands as a pretty perfect artifact of that era.

65. The Wedding Present – Bizarro

The Wedding Present - Bizarro

When The Wedding Present signed to RCA in 1989, two years after their stunning debut George Best, there were accusations in the music press that they had sold out. What was ignored by some critics was that their contract ensured they retained control over single releases and producer. Their RCA debut, a mini-album in Ukranian, and this, their second album proper, prove their major label owners were true to their word, allowing the band’s independent zeal and credibility to grow. While retaining George Best’s trademark fast paced guitars and the melancholy lyrics of frontman David Gedge the tracks on Bizarro are somehow bolder and bigger, with singles like ‘Brassneck’ signaling a career peak for a band that continue to produce fine music to this day.

64. Hefner – We Love The City

Hefner - We Love The City

Darren Hayman is a firm favourite here at Neon Filler and our love for his songs started in the late 19990s when he was the front man of Hefner. Hefner wisely called it a day after just four albums, not because they weren’t still producing good music, but because it means that they stand as a rare example of an act that never released a bad album. We Love The City just about shades the top spot thanks to having the usual range of witty, soul searching melodic tracks and having two classic singles in the mix as well. ‘Good Fruit’ and ‘The Greedy Ugly People’ are as good as anything that came out of British indie pop in the era, genuinely stirring and touching. The whole album has a great feel to it and the instrumentation feels fuller and clearer than on their earlier albums. The expanded 2009 edition added b-sides, alternate versions and session tracks and is well worth seeking out.

63.  Sun Kil Moon – Ghosts Of The Great Highway

Sun Kil Moon – Ghosts Of The Great Highway

This 2003 debut  features some of former Red House Painter Mark Kozelek’s best work under the Sun Kil Moon name.  Here Kozelek uses the music as much as lyrics to tell the stories of a variety of tragic characters, most notably boxers . The Neil Young-esque guitar on ‘ Salvador Sanchez’ perfectly matches the story of boxer Sanchez, who died in a car accident aged just 25. Another of boxing’s great tragic figures ‘Duk-Koo Kim’, who died following a fight, gets a whopping 14 minute track to himself. The time floats by though. Other highlights include the beautifully layered guitar instrumental ‘Si, paloma’.

62. They Might Be Giants – Lincoln

They Might Be Giants - Lincoln

New York performance art pop duo They Might Be Giants will probably always be known in this country as a novelty act due to the hit success of ‘Birdhouse In Your Soul’. Anyone prepared to delve deeper will find much to love on any of their first three albums released between 1986 and 1990. Lincoln, the second LP, is the best of all finding the perfect balance between their quirkier side and their ability to write great catchy pop records. Read more on this excellent album in our Classic Albums section here.

61. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures

Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures

Martin Hannett, who produced 1979’s Unknown Pleasure, was the fifth member of Joy division in all but name. On this debut by the Salford band he stripped back the energy of their live shows to create space and atmosphere. It was a risky move that left bassist Peter Hook gobsmacked at the time. But it was a risk worth taking with tracks such as ‘Shadowplay’ and’ She’s Lost Control’ transformed through Hannett’s cleaner, stripped back sound.  One of the best debut albums of all time with even Hook  now conceding that Hannett “did a good job on it.”

by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers

Top 100 (80 – 71), Top 100 (90-81)Top 100 (100-91)

Share

Comments (1)

Tags:

Sun Kil Moon – Admiral Fell Promises

Posted on 20 September 2010 by Joe

Mark Kozelek has released yet another hauntingly beautiful album under his Sun Kil Moon name.

Admiral Fell Promises has less of a band feel than the boxing ballads of 2003’s Ghosts of the Great Highway or the sweeping melancholy epics of 2008’s April. It’s mainly Kozelek, with his broody voice accompanied by classical guitar. But what a voice it is and what guitar playing he displays.

For some Kozelek is a little too depressing as a singer. Sure his albums are sparse in packaging, a sepia or black and white photo is pretty much all that’s on display. He can also appear detached, aloof almost. His website carries a stern request for people not to take photos at his  gigs, like a grumpy neighbour shaking his stick at cold callers.

But to dismiss him as a curmudgeon is far too simplistic, especially on this album. On Admiral Fell Promises the focus on classical guitar, with all its playful flourishes and high tones, brings an effective foil to his voice. The deeper his voice gets, the more playful and higher in pitch is his finger picking.

Melody is something Kozelek should also get more credit for. Within a few minutes of hearing opener ‘Alesund’ I was humming the melody.

Lyrically the content is more everyday than previous albums. There’s no tales of working class boxers, no big issues. A view from a window, such as on  ‘Third and Seneca’, or thoughts on walking around New York. It’s an album for wandering and thinking. Whereas April was like the build up to a storm, on Admiral Fell Promises the storm has well and truly passed and calm is all around.

While more low key in production this has the potential to be Kozelek’s most successful album to date. A new audience has discovered him after April’s ‘Heron Blue’ was used to such great effect for advertising for the game Gears of War 3 earlier this year. Those who have come to Kozelek on the back of that will not be disappointed by Admiral Fell Promises and nor will his longer term fans.

What also comes across clearly is the attention to his craft. Kozelek has clearly been studying his guitar playing technique and this album reminds me of the albums of guitarist and folk legend John Renbourne, another keen student of different styles from folk to blues to baroque.

8.5/10

by Joe Lepper, July 2010

Share

Comments (0)

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here

Charts