by James Calvet
It's about to snow! If you're stoked to hit the slopes or dreading the days you have to trudge to class, Radio 1190 has you covered on your winter soundtrack. Tune in everyday to hear new and old tracks from well-known or obscure artists every day! Check out our full schedule on radio1190.org.
For any music fan that's been up to date with independent music for the past few years, the name Joanna Newsom has most likely crossed their path. After her critically lauded 2006 opus Ys and 2010's triple disk Have One on Me, Newsom had a lot to live up to on her fourth studio album. Divers may be her most accessible album to date, the lyrical content and arrangements are just as dense as her previous releases. Though Newsom sticks to her signature style of avant-folk, Divers shows more exploration into country and art pop. In true Joanna Newsom style, the album opens like a great film with light string swells with the curtains eventually opening to show Newsom and her beloved harp. Though "Anecdotes" does not showcase
anything that Newsom hasn't done before, the lush orchestration surrounding her eclectic croon fit so nicely together and sound like a fantastical folk story that has aged well over time.
The centerpiece of the album is the seven-minute title track titled Divers, which may not be her longest composition, is as dense as her previous work. The track slowly grows by the second with layers of descending pianos, percussion much like a steady chase scene in the theater. The tension of the piece grows until the composition takes a turn for a major key tonality and evolves into an incredibly enjoyable pop song structure. With her fourth album, Joanna Newsom has added another fantastic album to her already solid discography, proving to be one of music's most important and interesting figures. Out now on Drag City records, Divers by Joanna Newsom is Radio 1190's CD of the Month. For a full review log on to radio1190.org.
For many years, Colorado boys The Yawpers have been making country-tinged punk music for the masses. After a few smaller releases, the trio singed to Bloodshot where they finally seemed like they're home. Their debut on Bloodshot, American Man, may not be anything new for the group, but their sound is fully realized and showcases all that they are capable. The lead single "American Man" is a tall and proud homage to the country they are fond of that could please the dirtiest of punks and the loudest of Texans. Though the song is anthemic and melodic, the Yawpers put in enough grit and personality into their sound to make something incredibly genuine.
Though the group takes cues from blues, country and punk, the track "Beale Street" is influenced more so by bluegrass and Celtic folk. What the Yawpers do so well is creating songs that pull from so many different genres and making them something very much their own. Likewise, the group speaks of American topics in a way that is not preachy or sounds like a typical country song. They take all the aspects of being American and speak on them in a way that is both progressively minded and proud. Overall, American Man is a great debut on Bloodshot for The Yawpers and do the best job representing Colorado music and America on the whole.
Los Angeles-based group Gun Outfit have been known for making psychedelic indie-country music, but their Paradise of Bachelors debut "Dream All Over" is their best release to date. Though their sound is simple on the simple, the rock outfit utilizes simple melodies and minimalism to make something very heady. The track "Matters to A Head" is a jangly, driving song with a simple major key tonality but the hints of sitar in the background and the Dinosaur Jr.-esque vocals make it very calming yet psychedelic. The songs are country-tinged but also sound close to 90's indie rock mixed with the soundtracks of western films. This mixture may sound strange on paper, but on the record comes off very effortlessly and incredibly enjoyable. Without a doubt, Gun Outfit have released on of their most consistent and best albums in their discography thus far.