Category Archives: folk

Review: Amadan – Pacifica

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Label: Afan Music Released: December 9, 2008 Amadan incorporate bits of the Clash, Billy Bragg, John Fogerty and the Mighty, Mighty Bosstones, but what I suspect they’re really going for is the Pogues mix of traditional Irish folk and biting punk rock swagger. They don’t nail the latter, but their success in other areas makes them a worthwhile listen. There’s… Read more »

Review: Fall Horsie – Devil (e) Danger

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Label: Youth Club Records Released: October 28, 2008 There is a lot of music out there that isn’t rock music in any way, shape or form…and yet it thoroughly rocks. None of this is headed for mainstream success, but it is often some of the most interesting music in even the broadest sense of the rock sphere. Fall Horsie is… Read more »

Review: Avett Brothers – The Second Gleam

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Label: Ramseur Records Released: July 22, 2008 The Avett Brothers’ breakthrough album, last year’s Emotionalism, was a work whose broad influences were felt throughout and whose quiet ambition made it both huge and intimate at the same time. The Second Gleam, while keeping to the Avett’s signature sound, doesn’t share its predecessor’s breadth. Instead, it focuses on intimacy and gentle… Read more »

Review: Christina Carter – Original Darkness

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Label: Kranky Released: October 27, 2008 The first time I listened to Original Darkness, I wondered what in the world I’d write about it. Now that I’ve listened to the CD a half-dozen times, I wonder how I can possibly say everything I want to say within the confines of a record review. My notes alone are nearly 600 words,… Read more »

Review: Carrie Rodriguez – She Ain’t Me

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Label: Manhattan Records Released: August 5, 2008 Carrie Rodriguez’s voice is beautiful. It’s dynamic and full and she can be sultry, powerful and breathy at will. It is, as it should be, the centerpiece and strength of this album. She has the kind of voice that could lead her down any musical road she might choose and it seems more… Read more »

Review: Flatfoot 56 – Jungle of the Midwest Sea

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Label: Flicker Records Released: May 15, 2007 When a band merges punk and Irish folk, the first influence that comes to mind is the Pogues, but Shane McGowan and company were more a folk band with punk attitude. The real origin of the more punk-leaning mixture is the Stiff Little Fingers. While the bands today tend to wear their Irish… Read more »

Review: Cephas and Wiggins – Richmond Blues

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Label: Smithsonian Folkways Released: July 29, 2008 I was scared when I was first asked to review Richmond Blues. Most of what I’ve heard from Smithsonian Folkways has been extraordinary, but most of the music I’ve discovered on their label is classic stuff that’s passed the test of time. It’s hard to go wrong with Lead Belly or Paul Robeson… Read more »

Review: The War on Drugs – Wagonwheel Blues

Label: Secretly Canadian Released: June 17, 2008 Just because an artist has done all that can be expected of him and has earned the right to rest on his laurels, doesn’t mean the work he started is done. So it is with Bob Dylan and The War on Drugs has picked up the cause and put their own spin on… Read more »

Review: Mad Juana – Acoustic Voodoo

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Label: Azra Records Released: September 11, 2007 I’ll make no secret that songs of hopelessness and despair that have no sense of redemption or salvation have an uphill battle to resonate with me. That’s not to say that none do, just that it’s harder for them, because they run against the grain of my soul. Mad Juana’s Acoustic Voodoo is… Read more »