Review: Totally biased folk rock music edition

O brave new world, that has such legislation in it! There are so many things I want to write about right now — naturally, because I have homework (!!) and nothing gets my creative juices flowing like avoiding stuff with a deadline.

This morning Twitter greeted me with Coheed and Cambria singing Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinions on the ACA and same-sex marriage. Which I can’t embed because WordPress doesn’t like Funny or Die’s video player, so click on the image below or the link in the last sentence to go to the video.

Screencap via AltPress.

Screencap via AltPress.

Bearded dudes with guitars and tight harmonies are kind of my jam, so I figured I’d take this opportunity to plug a couple of friends who are also creating music that fits that description precisely.

Nicholas Mudd
Check it out if you like: 
Old Crow Medicine Show, Christian Kane’s down-tempo stuff, early Bob Dylan
Personal favorite: “Tell Me Girl” (So fare thee well, I guess I’ll see you in hell / And I hope you’re doing alright)

I don’t generally describe myself as a country fan, but I am kind of a sucker for stuff with a bluegrass vibe. Nick Mudd’s first EP of four songs rides that country-bluegrass-folk line like a hobo catching a northbound train in a Steinbeck novel. It’s a bare bones album — just a couple instruments and a lot of emphasis on the words and vocals — and the mood is slightly melancholic, sweetly lonesome. All four songs are in the grand old tradition of singing about the home you left behind and the girl you miss. Listening, you feel kind of like you’ve stumbled into a late-night cafe in an indie movie where a guy is taking a break from driving Route 66 in his pickup on a voyage of self-discovery and hopless romance to play a set and pass the hat. Throw a buck into his guitar case before he drives off into the humid night.

The album is available on bandcamp; you can stream for free or pay the low low price of $1 to own all four songs. Having seen Nick perform, I’m hoping for an up-tempo follow-up album.

Art by Derek Eads.

Art by Derek Eads.

PigPen Theatre Co.’s Whole Sun
Check it out if you like: The Band, The Gabe Dixon Band, Nickel Creek
Personal favorite: “Weathervane” (Like the teacher / The good mother / Or the writer / Or the bough for the bird)

Yeah, yeah, I’m reviewing PigPen yet again. When they quit making cool stuff I’ll quit shoving them in people’s faces. Their first album, Bremen, really drew on their roots in storytelling and folk music, with a sort of autumnal feel. Whole Sun is oriented more towards music for music’s sake than music as a theatrical tool, and as a result, the album is more about variety than about a single aesthetic or genre. Its sounds run the gamut from danceable swing rhythms in “We Won’t” to the more contemplative fingerpicking of “All’s Well (With Jose).” Several songs also feature PigPen’s trademark blow-the-ceiling-off harmonies, but you’ll definitely hear new things from the group. There’s a lot on this album that feels retro while still being original: I kept thinking of America (the band), Paul Simon, the Byrds, that kind of thing.

You can pre-order Whole Sun and check out the singles “Choir,” “We Won’t,” and “Weathervane” on PigPen’s website. If you can, spring for the deluxe edition, which has three (awesome) bonus tracks and other bonus content. And seriously, go listen to “Weathervane” and “Choir” so you can understand why I badly need these guys to cover “All These Things That I’ve Done” by the Killers.

So pour yourself a cool drink, maybe with some whiskey in it, and listen to some summery folk music. It’s a good weekend for it. It’s a good weekend.

One thought on “Review: Totally biased folk rock music edition

  1. Driving by to drop Coheed knowledge bombs all up in your wonderful post!

    Hokay, so. Coheed and Cambria’s whole conceit is that their albums are are telling part of one huge space opera story, called the Amory Wars. The broad strokes are: happily married cyborg couple’s past as war machines comes back to haunt them, and their son is fated to destroy the universe as they know it. It’s like Star Wars only with a lot more torture and murder. More info can be found here or in the comic series being published by Evil Ink Comics. (Sidenote: Claudio Sanchez, CoCa’s lead singer, is also the co-creator of the comic series Translucid–think Batman and the Joker on an acid trip–now out in trade paperback.)

    My personal favorite songs in no particular order:
    Delirium Trigger
    A Favor House Atlantic
    Everything Evil
    Welcome Home
    In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3

    The Running Free (where my twitter handle comes from
    Here We Are, Juggernaut (where my tumblr handle comes from)

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