Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dark Americana Briefs, Part 8

I See a Darkness

Elliott Brood: Ambassador (2005)
4 out of 5 stars

Elliott Brood is a Canadian band who, according to Wikipedia, have been characterized as "death country." That should be enough to catch the attention of anyone who regularly reads this feature, but let me proceed. They're the best alt-country band (not a side project of a metal or punk luminary) I've found since Wovenhand / 16 Horsepower. While compared to those two bands, it's a little more like mainstream country in the general compositional style and the way electric guitar is used, Ambassador is some of the darkest music I've heard using a banjo (etc.). The vocalist doesn't quite convey the pain of David Eugene Edwards, yet he is no slouch. The first half of the record is especially great. This is quite the lucky find.

Bonnie Prince Billy: I See a Darkness (1999)
3.5 out of 5 stars

I ran across a recommendation for the highly-acclaimed I See a Darkness, and soon realized this was the source for an excellent Johnny Cash track. It didn't take any more convincing for me, and then I saw the skull on the cover. Yes. There are three great songs on here: the title track, the bluesy "Death to Everyone," and the psychedelic "Madeleine-Mary." It also has several other tunes worth hearing. Overall, I could do with a little less quiet and a little less soft every now and then, but I'm suitably pleased with this.

Wovenhand & Ultima Vez: Puur (2006)
3 out of 5 stars

I've spoken at great length about David Eugene Edwards, so if you're interested you should start elsewhere in his discography. Puur is for completists only. It's the soundtrack to a dance/film collaboration with Ultima Vez on the topic of, what else death. It contains alternate versions of a few songs, but mostly it's ambient soundtrack style music with some over-loud spoken word parts thrown in. But I am a completist, and I quite enjoy the instrumental version of "Dirty Blue," the song that introduced me to DEE in the first place.


  1. I quite enjoyed that Elliot Brood track.

  2. Yeah, it's surprisingly good. I recently dumped Spotify (because the updated app doesn't work on my iPod and the legacy app doesn't let you listen without a paid account) and switched to Rdio, which has been exposing me to even more stuff in this vein.