Rites of Uncovering(Thrill Jockey)
A sprawling, meandering, and glorious mess, the second CD from this Baltimore quartet brings to mind The Doors, Fairport Convention, and Lungfish—all at the same time. In fact, some of these tracks feature Lungfish drummer Mitchell Feldstein, filling in for Dave Bergander (who had previous commitments with his other band, Celebration). Chief songwriter Dave Heumann, also known for his work with local faves the Anomoanon and Cass McCombs, unfurls each song at a leisurely pace, one that builds tension and slowly reveals the alternately dense and sparse textures running through the likes of "Pale Rider Blues" and "Ghosts Of Here and There." Multi-instrumentalist Walker David Teret adds muscular riffs and nimble flourishes that brilliantly underscore the nuance in Heumann's writing and singing.
Esopus CD #7
"Ouija"(Esopus Foundation)Inspired by poet James Merrill's use of a Ouija board while writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning epic poem "The Book of Ephraim," Esopus magazine publisher (and Carroll County native) Tod Lippy sent Ouija boards to 13 musicians and asked them to, in some way, use the board for composing a new song. The results are compiled on a disc tucked inside the latest issue of the magazine. A mixed bag, for sure, the songs reflect the randomness and spontaneity of such a freewheeling and offbeat concept. Tom Krueger's "Ouija" and theSwimmingPools' "WeAreTheMagic" make for surprisingly poppy indie-rock, while the best of the lot, Excepter's "HA" and Asobi Seksu's "Bounce," are decidedly more ambient and sound as if they were, indeed, channeled from the spirit world. Mitch Horowitz's accompanying essay on the history of the Ouija board, which was developed in Baltimore, provides lively context.