Showing posts with label the lone bellow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the lone bellow. Show all posts

Monday, February 9, 2015

video review: 'then came the morning' by the lone bellow

Man, I wish this had been better. Really, at the end of the day it's just unremarkable.

Next up, Kid Ink and then finally Bjork - stay tuned!

album review: 'then came the morning' by the lone bellow

You know, for as much as I advertise myself as one of the few critics on YouTube who bothers to cover country music, I really haven't been doing that good of a job on that lately. Let's change that a bit, shall we? Now to be fair to myself, there's not a lot that's really out right now - January tends to be a bit of a fallow period for mainstream country - and oh god, the country charts reflect that, as we're getting third and fourth singles from various artists landing traction where in most worlds they would never reach the charts. It's gotten so bad that Sam Hunt's bad pop disguised as worse country and Cole Swindell's flavourless mush is still rising up the charts, and that's just wrong on so many levels.

So in the mean time, let's talk about the indie scene, and let's start with The Lone Bellow, a Brooklyn-based trio that I probably should have covered in 2013 but that just slipped the net. And while I'm not usually one to point fingers and say that country should only come from Nashville or Texas, if you were to imagine a group that sounds like Brooklyn indie folk dabbling in a bit of snarled country rock and soul-inspired vocals, The Lone Bellow should jump to mind - a lot of plucky guitars and banjos that call to mind your standard Mumford & Sons wannabe, slightly softer distortion than the Drive-By Truckers or Sundy Best, and a male/female dichotomy that reminds me more than a bit of Little Big Town before that band went crazy on Pain Killer. But how do I feel about them? Well, they were pretty good and they tended to avoid the pretentious nonsense that puts me off a fair chunk of that brand of folk rock, but that first album always seemed to lack the textures, grit, or songwriting edge and nuance that would characterize other Americana-inspired acts like Doug Paisley or Bill Callahan. In fact, the group they reminded me most of was The Civil Wars, a group I mostly respected who wrote very pretty songs that occasionally had some moments of wit, but for the most part made very tasteful, pretty, safe music that never moved or interested me as much as I wanted. 

But I figured, 'Hey, it's their debut, originally driven off of songs frontman Zach Williams put together on his own. Give them a little time and a producer who can push their choral vocals into some harmonies and their instrumentation into more grit, and we could have something special here.' And when I heard they were working Aaron Dessner of The National, I thought it was a perfect match and definitely sought out their sophomore record Then Came The Morning - how is it?