Posts Tagged ‘Asheville’

In creating this album, we somewhat recreated ourselves, settling into a fresh method of collaboration in which each of us contributed equally and openly to the creative process. The result is a newly synergetic vision we’re proud and excited to share.

When I heard the burbling synth at the top of River Whyless‘ new album, Kindness, A Rebel, I knew I was in for something different from this Asheville-birthed quartet. Their 2016 folky world-beat album We All The Light was a favorite of mine, but this album has more drive, it’s more cohesive and lyrically more thematic; the album’s title is a hintDrummer Alex McWalters, one of four songwriters in the band, says, “We’ve reached a point where we just understand that the songs are more important than the egos.”

That opening song is called “All of My Friends,” and it’s a good example of how River Whyless is changing. Singer and violinist Halli Anderson wrote the song and quite liked it, but the album’s producer Paul Butler didn’t. And since this album was to be a group effort instead of relying on the individual strengths of these four songwriters, she initially let the song go. But a few days later, that burbling sound resonated from the synthesizer and the song was reborn. Singer and guitarist Ryan O’Keeffe said, “It was the first time I felt like we captured a song in the moment of creation. Lyrics were changing in the moment. Melodies were changing in the moment. Singers were changing. It was really difficult and emotionally intense but so gratifying when we were done.”

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Released June 8th, 2018

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The Dead Tongues is the moniker of Asheville’s Rya Gustafson and he’s part of that North Carolina collective. He’s played with and opened for Hiss Golden Messenger and Phil Cool. And like the music from both of those artists, The Dead Tongues’ music has an inherent, yet subtle, spirituality about it.

Gustafson is a bit of a nomad and free spirit. He’s very comfortable on the road, observing the daily travails of like going around him. “When I’m traveling, it’s like walking into these different windows. I’m a witness, with my mouth shut,” Gustafson says. “The people you meet, the way the landscape speaks to you, how a desert is different than a mountain: It has the potential to bring out something you didn’t know was there.”

The ten tracks that encompass Unsung Passage are a wonderful blend of folky twang. Almost every tune feels like the lyrics could be an old fella spinning a yarn at the end of a bar or sitting on a porch talking to no one in particular. The music backing these tales is a wonderful tapestry of guitars, strings, banjos, etc. Its as if someone blended TBT, Horse Feathers and Ryan Bingham and out poured The Dead Tongues. While the album never veers from Americana, the variety within that genre that Gustafson uses to get his tales across is quite lovely.

This album is a grower. Play it multiple times. Put it away for a couple of weeks. Come back again. That’s what I did and I find myself enjoying it more and more with each listen.

The ten tracks that encompass Unsung Passage are a wonderful blend of folky twang. Almost every tune feels like the lyrics could be an old fella spinning a yarn at the end of a bar or sitting on a porch talking to no one in particular. The music backing these tales is a wonderful tapestry of guitars, strings, banjos, etc. Its as if someone blended TBT, Horse Feathers and Ryan Bingham and out poured The Dead Tongues. While the album never veers from Americana, the variety within that genre that Gustafson uses to get his tales across is quite lovely.

This album is a grower. Play it multiple times. Put it away for a couple of weeks. Come back again. That’s what I did and I find myself enjoying it more and more with each listen.

Live from Arbor Ridge Studios in Chapel Hill, NC.

“Won’t Be Long” is from The Dead Tongues’ new LP, “Unsung Passage” Out May 18, via Psychic Hotline.

River Whyless have released a beautiful new track titled “Motel 6”, taken from their forthcoming new album Kindness, A Rebel. Penned by the band’s Ryan O’Keefe, “Motel 6” was inspired by their experience of being a band on the road over the last decade and a sudden moment of realization.

“We were driving home from a tough supporting tour, we were broke, which wasn’t uncommon. Halli had just moved to Oregon and we’d dropped her at a Motel 6 to spend the night before her morning flight. Watching her check into the motel as we pulled away felt like an ending. It was as if I removed a pair of tunnel vision goggles and could see the world and my life for the first time since we started this band. I felt incredibly small, fragile, irresponsible, foolish, at a loss for what to do next and very alone. The reality of what we had been trying to do for a decade came crashing down in an almost laughable way. We didn’t talk about it and I don’t know if anyone felt the same way but, at that moment, I changed. The funny thing is that a month later we had the most successful tour we’ve ever had.” — Ryan O’Keefe, River Whyless

Kindness, A Rebel will be available everywhere on June 8th Available as opaque white LP, CD, and digital download. All physical orders include an exclusive KAR flag enamel pin, as well as an immediate download of all three singles released so far.

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Angel Olsen gave us My Woman, one of last year’s best albums, and she’s also got one of the best live shows going right now. Her voice is monstrous, her songs are amazing, and her visual presentation is absolutely on-point; I love the way all the members of her backing band wear matching suits and bolo ties.

“Special” always felt like a band song to me, something to lose track of ourselves in. It didn’t quite fit the rest of the record and was a major deciding factor on whether or not it would mean a double LP. The record came out and I kept thinking about the song and wanting to play it anyway.

My friend came to visit me for a week and I had all these grand ideas about how to make another video. But it’s been a long year of touring and videos and pressure to keep on being important or interesting.
So I woke up the next day and changed my mind, deciding it would be best to just capture the days we were hanging and to occasionally have the camera up. Those days were some of the hardest and also sweetest of the summer. We spent much of the time talking about the current state of affairs and how everyone has been going through tremendous change and having to make hard choices. Maybe it’s just this year, but it feels that we’re entering a new era, one that requires us to really pay more attention to the world and ourselves in it.
What I realized is that going through a hard time and talking about it with friends makes you feel your friendships and who you are, and sometimes it takes a weird year to recognize what you still have.
Watch the Video Below. 

Phases is a collection of Olsen’s work culled from the past several years, including a number of never-before-released tracks. “Fly On Your Wall,” previously contributed to the Bandcamp-only, anti-Trump fundraiser Our First 100 Days, opens Phases, before seamlessly slipping into “Special,” a brand new song from the “MY WOMAN” recording sessions. Both “How Many Disasters” and “Sans” are first-time listens: home-recorded demos that have never been released, leaning heavily on Olsen’s arresting croon and lonesome guitar.

The b-sides compilation is both a testament to Olsen’s enormous musical range and a tidy compilation of tracks that have previously been elusive in one way or another. Balancing tenacity and tenderness, Phases acts as a deep-dive for longtime fans, as well as a fitting introduction to Olsen’s sprawling sonics for the uninitiated.

Angel Olsen’Special’ from Phases out November 10th, 2017 on Jagjaguwar Records