Forgive an urban dweller for romanticizing the expansive West. The boundless deserts and open spaces often seem a long sought after palliative to the hustle and bustle anonymity of the sprawling steel strictures that many of us inhabit. Perhaps I have a little of the bug that bit Lawrence to venture into the desert in search of adventures. (See Lawrence of Arabia, yes it’s quite long but oh so worth it.) Whatever the rhyme or reason for this dreaming of desert landscapes, I find myself drawn to the sounds that celebrate venturing into the great beyond.
From the outset, Lord Huron’s Lonesome Dream has the feel of an extended reverie on those empty spaces that dot a cartographer’s curiosity. Beginning with a lamenting wail, Lonesome Dream is the type of record that instantly transports you to another place and time, both imagined and remembered. It is the sound of campfire stories shared amongst long lost friends telling each other what lies beyond the daily malaise. Lord Huron captures the precious, tense melancholy of early Band of Horses with a more pronounced 60s folk rock and 70s Americana practiced by bands like Megafaun, the Head and the Heart, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. At the same time, the record recalls the hope and aspirations of early 90s Southern Roots Rock revival; you know what Counting Crows and Dave Matthews Band evoked before they seem to caricature themselves. (I have nothing against bands growing in popularity, but miss the simplicity and ostensible authenticity of their early work.)
Lonesome Dream’s beauty lies in its subtly and restraint, painting the picture of a solitary day-dreaming troubadour of yore with his band of motley merry men disdaining and disregarding our modern trappings, all those electronic widgets and whistles. Unquestionably a trip backwards in time, Lord Huron supplies a necessary break from the over-produced hip/pop that pervades our airwaves.
Listen to Lord Huron’s Lonesome Dream in its entirety here.
…continuing on the theme of dreaming:
Meet Seapony, an almost perfect indie-rock name for a band that makes music as twee, precious, and lovely as this Seattle threesome. (One could do a post on just band names and how they seem like dogs to fit their owners; I’ll save that for another time.) If you follow my posts with regularity, you’ve probably discovered my unabashed adoration for the sub-genre known as “Dream Pop” – an amalgam of lusciously atmospheric bubble gum pop with a bittersweet tinge of “sad bastard” music (in other words anything resembling early Belle and Sebastian and/or evocative of the Shangri-La’s and the Ronettes). Seapony fits the aforementioned bill with great precision and aplomb. Taking their cue from their lead singer’s soporific cherub-like vocals, Falling has the quality of an adolescent journal full of pining and promising put to music. If like me you were an adolescent in the 90s, Seapony calls to mind the short-lived rise of female-fronted Alternative Rock bands like Velocity Girl, Madder Rose, the Cranberries, Belly, Mazzy Star, and, even, Lisa Loeb, with their penchant for baroque, quirky composition. With a more fuzzy, lo-fi quality, the boys and girls of Seapony aren’t reinventing a genre, but they sure know how to bring a smile to your face. Coming in at just under forty minutes, it offers a perfect peace-of mind inducing accompaniment to Lord Huron’s outward searching serenades by simply sitting at one’s bedroom window contemplating the future past.
Listen to Seapony – Falling.
Oh and in case you want a little more dream pop to help bring a bit more Zen to your pre-Thanksgiving preparations (both the culinary physical and the familial emotional/mental ones), then go back and revisit these gems of 2012:
- Dum Dum Girls – End of Daze
- Beach House – Bloom
- Frankie Rose – Interstellar
- La Sera – Sees the Light
- JJ – jj nº 4
- Taken By Trees – Other Worlds
to the music makers and the dreamers of dreams,