Continuing with a look back at the week in music, this column will focus on what a single author (Sean Phipps, that’s me) has been listening to this week.
Please let me know what your favorite songs are in the comment section below.
A substantial Spotify playlist is at the bottom of the article.
Here are some highlights:
The Avett Brothers release “Magpie and the Dandelion”
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with The Avett Brothers. No, I’m not going to write them a letter. This band won my heart back in 2004 when I witnessed one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen at a little folk festival in Dixson, Tenn. The Avett Brothers were opening for Old Crow Medicine Show, and I don’t remember anything but what the Avett’s did on that night. It was as if punk rock had invaded the souls of country gentleman. I was hooked. Through the years, the Avetts have both impressed and let me down. Maybe that’s the price you pay for falling in love with a band? I hated (HATED) the last two records because it felt like they were throwing darts at a revolving wheel with words like “Love” and “Lonely” on them to write their songs. When it was announced that “Magpie and the Dandelion” would be released, I cringed at the title. Magpies? Dandelions? Dear GOD! And then I listened to what is, ultimately, a return to form for the Avett’s. I miss the punk element and the “Pretty Girl” series, but this album—unlike the last two—is something I’m able to stomach for the duration. It’s not my favorite Avett Brothers album, but it doesn’t completely destroy my faith in music either.
I received a surprise phone call from my friend on a Wednesday night (he’s from Nashville). He told me that one of his “favorite bands” would be performing a surprise show at Inherent Records at around 6 p.m. that evening and that I “didn’t want to miss it.” He wasn’t kidding. The band Pinkish Black is a simple experimental two-piece with Daron Beck (Synthesizer) and Jon Teague (Drums). Their latest album is “Razed to the Ground” and you should probably just go ahead and pick it up. A Pitchfork review says Beck and Teague “flip the idea of what metal can be by employing aggression and tense space without guitars, “riffs” in the traditional sense, or anything in the traditional metal sense, really.”
An album I called “one of the best of 2013” back in May, Molly Drake’s posthumous self-titled release is like stepping into a dusty parlor room of a 1950s victorian home. Molly Drake was the mother of obscure folk artist Nick Drake, who died in 1974 during the height of his fame. His mother created the recordings on this album in the 1950s without any intention of having them heard by a larger audience. John Wood, producer for Nick Drake, spent hours remastering these recordings. What’s so fascinating is that we now have a glimpse into Nick Drake’s music via one of his most important influences—his mother. Molly Drake’s songs are very English, but also very dark. It’s no wonder her son created such ethereal music. You should purchase this album.
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