Lissen upYou lucky bitches. Just because you read this blog, you are going to be let in on a secret. Two secrets. Here are two shithot things that you are going to want to hear. Yes, you are. Even you, Arleen, are going to want at least one of these. Yes, really.
First up, the Howling Bells. Careful readers will know I have a soft spot for the dusty roads of Americana. I suppose one ought to call Howling Bells Australiana because they are from teh land down under. The cynical among you may suspect that I only rate Howling Bells because their singer is the hottest thing since Harriet Wheeler hung up her mic. But no. The truth is that this is brilliant country rock. (Now there are three words you don't often see together.) It's at the alt end of the spectrum, with beautifully composed guitar tracks topped by a beautiful, affecting voice. The singer has been likened to the aforesaid Harriet Wheeler (can definitely hear it--and a darker, countrified Sundays is a good description of Howling Bells) and Liz Frazer (not so much), but actually I think she's more in the mainstream of country than most indie kids would recognise. (There's a pleasantly retro quality to her voice too, reminiscent in places of Candie Payne.)
Here's the standout track from the eponymous album, which is wall-to-wall excellent:
But that isn't the best of what I have for you. I have something rare and beautiful. And if brilliant country rock is not something you often hear, brilliant alt.folk is a whole different sort of different.
Apparently this guy had problems with his band and was dumped by his gf, so he locked himself in his dad's cabin for three months and made something truly special: a haunting, deeply moving set of incredibly personal songs, inflected with nature imagery and emotion you have to be fully grown to feel, let alone articulate.
I mean it truly; this is fucking wonderful. I'm not debating that with you. I'm just presenting you with Bon Iver and you will lap it up or gfy, but it will still be the best thing I've heard in a long time: