Ghost to Falco is that sort of folk/rock band that seems to ooze atmosphere. Whether it’s ominous (“Born to Win”), martial (“Enemies Calling”) or warm (“High Treason”), Eric Crespo and co. know how to make me feel things on Soft Shield. Deer Tick and Two Gallants also have this vibe, so Crespo is in good company. These songs lean more toward Two Gallants’ minimalism; even though Ghost to Falco employs a full band throughout, space is an important part of the sound (“No Reward,” “Feel the Glory”).
This gives the songs a cinematic quality different than that of film scores: these songs literally feel like stories, like journeys that have a beginning and end. It’s a rare skill, to take songs out of the realm of “pop song” and situate them in another milieu entirely. But listening to Soft Shield, it’s hard to imagine these songs in the same realm as The Avett Brothers. These songs have grit, body, and a life of their own outside of the preconceived, circumscribed bounds of three-minute pop songs.
Crespo’s vocal delivery documents every swoop and sway of his emotional state in the tiny bends and wrenches of phrases and words. This gives his songs even more emotive punch than the songwriting alone in the hands of a different vocalist might provide. Between the cinematic songwriting and evocative vocals, Ghost to Falco is a band doing things in a unique and exciting way. If you’re into folk-rock that doesn’t prize “singing along” as the only virtue, Ghost to Falco is a necessary listen.
Robert Deeble has been putting out albums at his own pace since 1997. (As a person who’s run the same blog for almost 11 years: game recognize game.) His most recent release is a celebration of that history, as Letters from an Expatriate is a live recording that revisits 1998’s Earthside Down with the original band.
Deeble’s gentle, measured folk vibe is in full flower here; his earnest, emotive lyrics and quiet arrangements come together to make beauty. Fans of Gregory Alan Isakov and Alexi Murdoch will find Deeble’s unhurried moods familiar. But where both of those emphasize lyrical romanticism, Deeble works in much heavier territory, spinning tales of woe and redemption. It’s a very entertaining live set, especially for those who enjoy the quieter side of things. If you haven’t been introduced to Robert Deeble, Letters from an Expatriate is a great place to start.
Robert Deeble, whose Heart Like Feathers I very much enjoyed, has just released a deluxe version of the album that comes in a gorgeous hardback packaging and includes a bunch of awesome extras. The physical extras include photo prints and a little art book; the media extras include 5 acoustic tracks and 12 videos (which he lovingly calls “films”). I’ve transitioned almost entirely to digital music, because artists on the whole put little care into physical copies. But this? This is gorgeous, carefully made, and excellently crafted. I highly recommend picking up the limited edition of Heart Like Feathers.
While we’re on the topic of physical things that are incredibly awesome, I’d like to announce that Post-Echo (you know, the record label that I said yesterday “has my attention”?) is releasing what they call “future-proof records,” which are on-demand 10″ vinyl records made of songs from the Post-Echo catalog chosen by you, for you. This is astoundingly wonderful. Someday soon I’ll be able to get Pan songs backed by Dear Blanca songs, and all will be right in my little music-y corner of the world. If you’re into vinyl, this is something that you’ve probably never had (unless you’ve been to Third Man Records recently). Totally thumbs up over here. Pick up your own future-proof here.
I do this thing I call circling when I’m avoiding a particular piece of writing: I’ll think about it for a bit, then purposefully think about something else; I’ll do a tiny bit, then walk away; I’ll talk about it with someone, then change the subject. I count these as part of the writing process, a sort of evidence-gathering for the work about to be done. It helps me feel less unproductive and get rid of writer guilt, being able to say honestly that I’ve already started to work on a piece even if no words are on a page anywhere. With that logic in mind, I’m here to say that checking RunHundred every month is now part of my running process. –Stephen Carradini
The Top 10 Workout Songs For June
With summer approaching, the mood–both on the radio and in the gym–has changed. While winter brought with it an eclectic bunch of workout tracks, this new batch is all about fun. As evidence, consider David Guetta’s latest (“Play Hard”), Fergie’s contribution to The Great Gatsby (“A Little Party Never Killed Nobody”), and the collaboration that J. Lo and Mr. 305 debuted on the finale of American Idol (“Live It Up”).
Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.
To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at RunHundred.com. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine. –Chris Lawhorn
So I’m a sucker for a big-chorus pop song. Here’s Belmont Lights’ “Halfway,” which throws down piano, strings and whoa-ohs in the vein of The Fray, OneRepublic, et al. Yes, you know who you are. No shame.
“Undertow” is one of the most moving songs on Robert Deeble’s Heart Like Feathers, so I’m glad to see that it earned itself a video.
Hoodie Allen throws down a non-album single called “Feel the Love,” and it’s a throwback to his indie-rock flippin’, name-checkin’ first works. I love it.
I discovered post-pop artist S. Carey the same way everyone else did: as a member of Bon Iver. But since his 2010 debut All We Grow, I’ve followed him in his own right. The gentle, melodic layering of new track “Two Angles” is built on an insistent, burbling foundation that picks up right where All We Grow‘s standout track “In the Dirt” ended. The song has me thoroughly excited for his upcoming EP Hoyas.
Robert Deeble’s video for “Weeds” juxtaposes very bright things (shiny guitars, well-lit people, bright blinking lights) against very dark backdrops for a visual representation of the song’s melancholy attitude. The video doesn’t do much, but it’s a pretty excellent interpretation of the song’s mood and attitude—which is what I look for.
Wrinkle Neck Mules play country music that revels in being country. If the phrase “Zac Brown Band with less Southern rock” appeals to you, apply within:
This hypnotic, entrancing video somehow fits with Joakim’s weird and wild dance track; I seriously stopped thinking about everything else in my life and just focused on this video the first time I saw it. YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS. But this video makes it so easy.
Robert Deeble’s gentle, knowing acoustic shuffle on “Heart Like Feathers” feels like putting on a warm sweater. Also mentioned in the press was “inspired by G.K. Chesterton,” which is pretty much an auto-listen in these parts.
PJ Bond sounds like a more desperate Rocky Votolato (!) and that’s because of his punk-rawk background (phew). He’s playing acoustic tunes now and circling the globe, but he stopped off in Lynchburg, VA, long enough to record a live take of “I’m in a Bad Way.” That link jumps to the MP3, hosted by Alt Press.
Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of instrumental music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.