Last year Brooklyn collective Heaven’s Jail Band, led by Francesco Ferorelli and including members of Lower Dens and Phosphorescent, released its self-titled debut, an album of unadorned yet emotionally rich country-folk laments that brought to mind Thin Lizzy jamming on some Fleetwood Mac or Kris Kristofferson banging out some electric folk with Richard Thompson. Now, Heaven’s Jail Band is back with Ferorelli leading a new band and dropping a new album, Angelmaker, recorded by Ben Greenberg (The Men, Z’s). Ferorelli’s wry, detached delivery–continuing to often echo that of Richard Thompson–remains, but while the previous album’s lyrical leanings were certainly sorrowful, this new album has a darker thread running through it, like the band binged on Tonight’s The Night era Neil Young and Bukowski poems before hitting record, and fans of Magnolia Electric Company would do well to take note. The end result is a collection of songs made for lonely visits to out of the way, backwoods bars and long journeys down desolate roads under a moonless sky.
Angelmaker is out now via Heartbreakbeat Records. Grab a digital copy via the Heaven’s Jail Band Bandcamp site here (look for a vinyl version to land in early fall).
Chan Marshall takes another artistic step forward with her latest album, Sun, which blends the brighter sounds of the Memphis soul inspired The Greatest with the experimentation and restless creative spirit that runs through all of her work. The experimentation on Sun moves away from the horns on The Greatest and towards electronic textures and danceable beats. Matching the upbeat tempos are lyrics that have within them glimmers of light, yet there does seem to be a current of darkness running through the whole thing, resulting in what is, essentially, dance music for depressives (reminiscent of “Cross Bones Style” from 1998’s Moon Pix). And for los grillos it’s precisely this tone that makes this album so interesting and engaging. At first it was a bit off-putting, but the more I listen the more it pulls me in.
Sun is out September 4 via Matador Records. Check it out here.
The album is currently streaming in its entirety via NPR. Listen here.
Nick Cave’s fruitful collaboration with director John Hillcoat continues with their latest film together, Lawless, out this week. As with 2005’s Australian outback set western The Proposition, Cave penned the script for Lawless, and as with The Proposition and 2009’s post-apocalyptic The Road (based on the Cormac McCarthy novel), Cave teamed up with Dirty Three’s Warren Ellis to compose and perform the score. This time around, however, they took things a step beyond performing the score by creating a band, the Bootleggers, and bringing in some damn fine singers to perform the vocals on a diverse collection of songs, both original and covers, arranged to fit the film’s violent tone and 1930’s rural Virginia setting. Assembled to perform songs ranging from Link Wray’s “Fire and Brimstone” to The Velvet Underground’s “White Light/ White Heat,” to Townes Van Zandt’s “The Snake Song,” to name just a few, are Mark Lanegan, Emmylou Harris, and bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley–not to mention a bonus track from Willie Nelson.
The Lawless soundtrack is out now via Sony. Check it out here.
The album is currently streaming in its entirety via Spinner. Listen here.
And here’s Lanegan rocking the Captain Beefheart tune “Sure ’Nuff Yes I do”…dig it!
Here’s a shot of straight up bluesy, countrified rock ‘n’ roll with a Stones-y swagger and a boozy stagger just right for a weekend groove from Nashville’s Denney & The Jets. Crack a bottle and crank it up!
Denney & The Jets’ self-titled ep is out now via Limited Fanfare Records. Check it out here. Or, Grab a digital copy at the Denney & The Jets Bandcamp site here.
The ep is currently streaming in its entirety via Spinner. Listen here.
The Human Fly is Robert Mathis, and his album Everything Feels Bad All At Once landed in the los grillos inbox last month with a two word description as simple and direct yet compelling as the album artwork–and as the music itself: dark folk. Of course, folks who’ve read a los grillos post or two know that some dark folk is certainly one way to our heart, and we’ve been mainlinin’ The Human Fly since hitting play for the first time.
In lyrics, delivery, and production, the album does, indeed, deliver some dark folk, yet it never comes off as maudlin or narcissistic but rather works as an introspective and very personal artistic statement that will also connect emotionally with listeners willing to take it’s shadowy trip. Built largely on stripped down arrangements of acoustic guitar and haunted vocals that sometimes build to swirling soundscapes, the album is both lo-fi and lush with pensive lyrics delivered in a slight slacker drawl that has echoes of One Foot In The Grave era Beck, among other damaged folk classics to emerge from the indie underground in the nineties–Smog and Palace also come to mind. Fans of those artists as well as others who get tagged with the “loner” or “outsider” folk label would be doing themselves a favor by checking this one out.
Everything Feels Bad All At Once is out now and available as a free download at The Human Fly Bandcamp site. Listen and download here.