Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

2015 Albums of the Year

January 5, 2016

Instead of writing new blurbs for each of these albums, I’m going to let the reviews stand as my comments about each of them except the album of the year. Since I had so many EPs on my EPs of the year list, there are less than my standard 20 albums of the year this year.

worn-out-skin

Album of the Year: Worn Out Skin – Annabelle’s Curse. (Review) This album came out of nowhere and established itself as a standard component of my listening life. It fits on the shelf right next to Josh Ritter and The Barr Brothers in terms of maturity of songwriting, lyrical depth, beauty, and overall engagement. Each of the songs here have their own charms, which is rare for an album: this one will keep you interested the whole way through. It’s a complete album in every sense of the word, and so it was the easy choice for album of the year.

2. 46 and Raleigh– Cancellieri. (Review)
3. Alone on the World Stage – Cameron Blake. (Review)
4. Where in Our Woods – Elephant Micah. (Review)
5. Jaywalker – Nathan Partain. (Review)
6. Little Lights – Josh Caress. (Review)
7. Southern FM – Rob Williams. (Review)
8. Creeps and Cheaters – Red Sammy. (Review)
9. Take What You Can Carry – Local Strangers. (Review)
10. Roll Up the Night Sky – Dana Sipos. (Review)
11. Kind of Blah – Frog. (Review)
12. Finding Time – Andrew Skeet. (Review)
13. Spun – Moa Bones. (Review)
14. Of This I’m Sure – Jenny and Tyler. (Review) —Stephen Carradini

Elephant Micah’s minimalist folk lets the sunshine in

January 30, 2015

whereinourwoods

Elephant Micah‘s Where In Our Woods is the lovely sort of album that makes everything seem warmer and more intimate. Micah is prone to long, droning minimalist folk tunes, but on this album he dismisses a lot of the dreary connotations by throwing open the curtains and letting the light in.

This is clear from opener “By the Canal,” which is a 3-minute guitar, percussion, and voice tune in a major key and a hummable vocal line. It’s very pastoral and rolling, the sort of wide-open tune that might score a romp through a field or a lazy day by a river. Even when he stretches songs back out to his preferred length, tunes like the 5-minute “Albino Animals” and 7-minute “Slow Time Vultures” ditch the despondency for gentle considerations of things.

There are moments that sound like old-school Iron & Wine, which is greatly to be praised; other moments sound like the pristine moments of The Low Anthem (also very exciting). But the overall effect is strictly Elephant Micah: he has his own style, and it’s beautiful. If you’re a fan of acoustic music and you don’t know about Elephant Micah, you’re missing out–one of the best songwriters around is operating in peak form.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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