Friday, June 02, 2006

Freak flood

Play it: Danielson Ships
Play it: Charalambides A Vintage Burden
Play it: Vetiver To Find Me Gone (now find it gone in Rhapsody)

There has been a recent flood of great freak folk (re: psych folk) in the past few weeks making their way into the Rhapsody catalogue. Here's three that have caught my ear's attention.

The first is the latest from Daniel Smith's collective, Danielson, and should really get it's own post (but I'm committed to the 'freak flood' title I've written above!) Ships is the culmination of the Danielson empire - it's Daniel Smith backed by all his musical bretheren: Deerhoof, Danielson Famile, Sufjan Stevens, along with label alums Serena Maneesh and Half-Handed Cloud. The result sounds like it would be a chaotic mess, but it's a testament to all involved that they are all on the same page. Songs like "Ship the Majestic Suffix" and "Bloodbook on the Halfshell" ebb and flow, building tension to esctatic releases, while "Five Stars and Two Thumbs Up" might just be the most straight ahead song Smith has ever scribed - and it's a good one. After watching both Polyphonic Spree and protege Stevens achieve success with their Danielson-like acts, I've got to think Smith had to be feeling the need to up the ante (though, he'd never admit it,) and I'm glad he has with Ships, as it's truly his crowning achievment (so far.)

A documentary is about to be released to theaters on Danielson called Danielson: A Family Movie (Trailer here.) Hopefully makes it to a theater (or DVD) near you (or more importantly, ME.)

Back when I did my 'freak folk' profile last year, I (criminally) overlooked Charalambides, who are considered the godfather/mother(s) of the movement. Husband-and-wife team Tom and Christina Carter front this Texas pysche folk outfit, and their album A Vintage Burden, is a collection of fragile-minimal-psychedelic spiritual songs that could qualify as a soundtrack to peyote walkabout in the Texas desert. Atmospheric in delivery, Christina's voice reminds one of Cocteau TwinsElizabeth Fraser, and the album moves through quietly and transcendentally... perfect for a Sunday drive (or hangover zone out.)

The new Vetiver album, To Find Me Gone, is... well... fittingly gone! I was listening to it yesterday as I started this post, and today it's disappeared from Rhapsody. Their sound is so elusive, it's not surprising to see the album take on the title to it's literal conclusion. Vetiver recently got some added exposure by backing Devendra Banhart on both album and tour (Banhart, likewise, played guitar on tour with Vetiver in the past.) Anyway... if it returns back into the fold, check out this pleasant and (mostly)undemanding release.

Freak Folk

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1 comment:

The Covalent Bond said...


I already wrote my Vetiver post ahead of time. I was disappointed to hear their latest was removed from Rhapsody. I noticed on the internet that the album is not supposed to be released until next week. Hopefully, we will see it again.