The Wild Hunt – The Tallest Man on Earth (2010)

The Wild Hunt - The Tallest Man on Earth (2010)

Kristian Matsson’s music is proof that they do indeed make ’em like they used to. Shit, in some ways, maybe even better. The Bob Dylan/Nick Drake comparisons are obvious, but you get a far wider variety of emotions packed into each song, and he makes you feel them on a much deeper level than I’ve ever got off of either. Even from the first time I listened to this, I felt some weird kind of longing and nostalgia. It makes me think of times gone by, people I’ve known, life, love, death, the past, present and the future.

Choice Cut: King of Spain
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Benji – Sun Kil Moon (2014)

 Benji - Sun Kil Moon (2014)

Mark Kozelek  is one of the most personal singer/songwriters in the music scene, and his lyrics do not fail to impress on Benji.  Dogs is a song about all Kozelek’s past sexual relationships, and while it may sound raunchy, it is very somber. Pray For Newtown recounts where Kozelek was during previous mass-shootings, and reminds us of the tragedy that occurs when those events happen.  Kozelek knows how to pull at the heart strings in his song writing, and in a world of empty lyrics like “TURN DOWN FOR WHAT”, it’s much appreciated.

Choice Cut: Dogs
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Hot Dreams- Timber Timbre (2014)

Hot Dreams- Timber Timbre (2014)

Hot Dreams should be the soundtrack to a horror movie set in Montana.  Given that the roots of this album come from a rejected score for The Last Exorcism Part II , that idea makes a lot of sense.  Hot Dreams sounds like a modern version of something made in the 1960’s, and  like We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, it works out extremely well.  Timber Timbre really struck a unique sound that a lot of other modern folk artists do not have.  Hot Dreams is scary and unique, and that is why I love it.

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The Winter of Mixed Drinks – Frightened Rabbit (2010)

The Winter of Mixed Drinks - Frightened Rabbit (2010)

This album was my first conscious effort to listen to indie music and I do not think I could have picked a better choice. This album is beautifully put together, with shoegaze-inspired guitars, passionate vocals, and a great motif. This album is one that will have you back for more. Whereas some indie bands have the effect of not sounding passionate enough, Frightened Rabbit has the opposite effect. They sound too passionate, but that is not a bad thing.

Choice Cut: Swim Until You Can’t See Land
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We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic – Foxygen (2013)

We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic - Foxygen (2013)

We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic sounds like an album that was taken out of the late 1960’s and re-recorded in a modern studio.  Modern rock, pop, and folk music sound fine and I have few complaints about them. Still, there is a certain novelty in listening to a modern rendition of old styles.  The novelty of this album coupled with lyrics such as “there’s no need to be an asshole, you’re not in Brooklyn anymore” makes Foxygen  stand out in the flood of recent indie bands.

Choice Cut: No Destruction
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At Folsom Prison – Johnny Cash (1968)

At Folsom Prison – Johnny Cash (1968)

If my previous brief reference to Johnny Cash hinted at this article, then congratulations – you are Nostradamus. I’ve lived near Nashville most of my life, so I’d be remiss not to name-drop the quintessential country album in this blog. Cash’s heartfelt (but not humorless) vocal delivery of stories of heartbreak, violence, drugs, and folklore is spine-tingling even from beyond the grave. The emotional punch of the songs, his uncannily warm voice, and his smirking, dry jokes were no doubt were cathartic for the prisoners this album was recorded in front of, even more so than it is for me.

Choice CutThe Legend of John Henry’s Hammer
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