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Various Artists

Folk Music for the End of the World

(Yer Bird; US: 2007; UK: Available as import)

The title Folk Music for the End of the World suggests either activist ranting or music so far out there that it could only be apocalyptic. Neither idea fits the bill for this new compilation, though, as the music spans a range of contemporary folk concepts and orchestrations from relatively unknown acts, from spare singer-songwriter performances to more experimental full-band cuts. Alina Simone (no relation) has a memorable voice that absolutely should be discovered and her “I thought I heard gunshots last night” sets the scene perfectly (for her song or for the End). Whether a song stands out for its lyricism, it’s arrangement and production, or its idiosyncracy varies, but none of these 17 performances hinders a surpisingly strong collection. It’s music for the end of the world only in the sense that if today was the earth’s (or your) last day, you could do worse than to listen to these artists.

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Justin Cober-Lake lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife, kids, and dog. His writing has appeared in a number of places, including Stylus, Paste, Chord, and Trouser Press. His work made its first appearance on CD with the release of Todd Goodman's first symphony, Fields of Crimson. He's recently co-founded the literary fly-fishing journal Rise Forms.


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