Fortune, All Is Wild, All Is Silent, Vacilando Territory Blues, and Here We Go Magic (Western Vinyl)
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., March 20, 2009
Over the past decade, Austin's Western Vinyl has developed into a modern metropolis of indie rock and ambient music. The latest crop only reiterates the label's breadth and beauty. Like a dark horse on a crooked mile, Brooklyn duo Callers kicks up dusty folk-blues on its intensely intimate debut, Fortune. Sara Lucas saddles up somewhere between Karen Dalton and Cat Power, with a haunting vocal allure ("More Than Right," "Debris") distinguished by her jazz-oriented approach and counterpart Ryan Seaton's inextricable guitar interplay. Taking cues from the letters of Texas settler William B. Dewees, All Is Wild, All Is Silent, the third LP in as many years from Austin's Balmorhea, proves more intricate and organic than 2008's Rivers Arms. The sextet embellishes its scenic, neoclassical compositions with percussive rushes and wordless vocals, courtesy of Tiny Vipers' Jesy Fortino, the group sounding like the West Texas counterpart to Sigur Rós. J. Tillman's fifth solo LP, Vacilando Territory Blues, is considerably darker and more existential than his work with Fleet Foxes, like Dennis Wilson's old Bambu bootlegs to the latter's Pet Sounds. Stark yet engaging, the album ripens with ruminative hymns ("Master's House," "Above All Men") steeped in Gothic Americana ("Firstborn," "Laborless Land"), the exception being the jarring and distorted Crazy Horse gold rush of cornerstones "New Imperial Grand Blues" and "Steel on Steel." The self-titled debut of the latest project from Brooklyn songsmith Luke Temple, Here We Go Magic, is an alchemic elixir of polyrhythmic Afro-pop and glistening four-track ambience. Mesmerizing in repetition, standouts "Tunnelvision" and "I Just Want to See You Underwater" slowly blossom on Temple's crystalline tenor, while "Ahab" filters the entrancing voodoo of Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou through the neo-gaze of the Kranky Records canon. Closer "Everything's Big" breaks the dream cycle like Pink Floyd's "Jugband Blues," a parting, whimsical glimpse at a fading innocence. (Thu., Club 115, 9pm.)
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