Richard Elliott is a writer, university teacher, and journal editor based in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is the author of the book Fado and the Place of Longing: Loss, Memory and the City (2010), as well as articles and reviews covering a wide variety of popular music genres. Richard is currently working on a co-authored book on ritual, remembrance, and recorded sound. He runs a blog, "The Place of Longing" - http://theplaceoflonging.wordpress.com/
Ten more examples of what make Welch & Rawlings great: high lonesome harmonies, beautifully judged musicianship, exquisite songcraft, and a relationship with tradition that is both serious and playful.
This Hank-referencing album replays a variety of styles Earle mastered long ago, from Celtic-flecked folk to turbo-powered country rock to reflective thought pieces, but it's questionable whether he's assembled the best of his past styles here.
The objects of popular culture have a strange hold over us, demanding that we not abandon them, or that we at least mourn their passing. Records gave voices an afterlife and people, in turn, give records an afterlife.
This is the strongest collection Trembling Bells have yet put out. The band sound assertive and in complete control of their strange aesthetic; they've also produced some mightily catchy and haunting songs.
Fine picking, vocals that make a mockery of microphone style, and lyrics about trains, tracks, and times past, all filtered through the immediacy of the present and performed under the influence of enthusiasm.
Something about WITCH seems to have excited record collectors outside of Zambia, but in a world where rareness, exoticism, and commodity fetishism become peculiarly intertwined, one hopes that it is more than just the rarity of the commodity that is being valued.
Omar Souleyman is far from being a "typical" world music artist, even if he remains a fine example of what many musicians typically do around the world, namely experiment with, extemporize, and extend musical styles.
Twenty-five years after the first Giant Sand album, Howe Gelb's brand of ragged songplay and scorched intimacy continues to fray stylistic borders and suggest possibilities for the alt. country genre he helped spawn.
On the one hand, a thrilling collaboration between three brilliant, distinctive musicians; on the other, glorious evidence of the singular way in which Robert Wyatt continues to find wonder in the world.