Thursday, September 06, 2012

Dark Americana Briefs


Previously I've covered the "dark Americana" vibe mostly through the folk genre, but it goes beyond just folk (and beyond just America). The term "Americana" more generally refers to any uniquely American form of music, whether folk, country, blues, and more.

Crippled Black Phoenix: (Mankind) The Crafty Ape (2012)
4.5 out of 5 stars

Crippled Black Phoenix is a supergroup of members made famous through work with Electric Wizard, Iron Monkey, Mogwai, and others. The prog rock of (Mankind) The Crafty Ape does not strictly fall within the confines of dark Americana, but it is as much 16 Horsepower and Ennio Morricone as it is Pink Floyd. But it explores even outside that wide swath, getting extremely epic at times, introspective at others. It's hard to imagine they could cram this many ideas into anything less than a spectacular 87 minute double-album.

Buy (Mankind) the Crafty Ape

Murder by Death: Red of Tooth and Claw (2008)
2 out of 5 stars

Murdery by Death is a folk/rock/country/Western band that comes from an indie rock background. Most of the dark Americana that I've explored has been from people with genuine punk and/or metal roots. Not only Crippled Black Phoenix, but David Eugene Edwards (Wovenhand/16 Horsepower), Erik Wunder (Man's Gin/Cobalt), and Dax Riggs (Acid Bath/Dax Riggs). That seems to make a difference. It's difficult to put my finger on what it is that I don't like about this, exactly. I like to hear a song or two of it. It seems to have everything I want: American folk and rock mixed together in a dark fashion. "Steal Away" is especially good. But listening to the whole album, it just starts to sound insincere, and certainly not as dangerous as any of the aforementioned groups. They don't break enough of the conventional rules, and aren't feeling it. This is pretty cool on a surface level, but isn't deeply enjoyable to me. A little bit like a wedding band covering 16 Horsepower.

Buy Red of Tooth & Claw

Madrugada: The Nightly Disease (2001)
4 out of 5 stars

Madrugada was a Norwegian alt-rock band with a dark, psychedelic tone. They incorporate Americana: blues, piano bar jazz, a hell of a lot of Western. At their hardest rocking, they sound like Monster Magnet, especially in the vocals (see e.g., "Nightly Disease, Pt. 2"). If Glenn Danzig and Dave Wyndorf were capable of working together, and shared a stage with REM, The Nightly Disease could be the result. I think my fellow metalheads could find a lot to like here. For proof, check the massive combo of "The Frontman" and "We Are Go."

Buy The Nightly Disease

No comments:

Post a Comment