Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dark Americana Briefs, Part 10

Double Digits

Vic Chesnutt: North Star Deserter (2007)
5 out of 5 stars

Vic Chesnutt became a paraplegic at a young age and eventually died of an overdose on muscle relaxants. If you think he might make some fucked-up and dark music, you'd be right. This is the closest thing to Wovenhand I've yet found (see "Splendid," "Debriefing"), with the psychedelic and post-rock touches added to folk/rock. North Star Deserter tends toward sparser arrangements, with a hint of the great Cash. Stop what you're doing right now and listen to "Everything I Say." Thank me later.

Palodine: Garden of Deceit (2008)
4 out of 5 stars

Palodine play Western and folk-inflected rock that scratches my dark Americana itch in a way that no other group has before. That's because of the smoky female vocals. At first I thought Stevie Nicks, but that's not quite right. The band are no slouches either. Someone compared them to Earth, and that's not far off the mark.

Johnny Dowd: No Regrets (2012)
1 out of 5 stars

I first heard Johnny Dowd on Rdio when playing the Wovenhand station, and a few of his songs really caught my attention. Well, maybe I just picked the wrong album. No Regrets grabs the thread connecting Nick Cave to Tom Waits and pulls just a little too hard, unraveling it at both ends. The songs are all titled with women's names. "Nancy" is cool. Despite "Abigail" being one of the better songs on the record, it is an unfathomable disappointment to a rabid Kind Diamond fan like myself. Most of this album ain't worth hearing.


  1. That Vic Chesnutt song is really compelling. I'm going to have to dig into more of his stuff.

    And that Palodine singer's voice sounds so familiar, but I can't quite place who it sounds like to me.

  2. Yeah, that's driving me crazy trying to figure out who she sounds like. That's kind of my thing, seeing those similarities and bringing them out, but it's eluding me.

    On Vic Chesnutt, I've only heard the one album. It's got about three or four songs that are really close to this style, where the rest drops the distortion and has sparser arrangements.