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Albums Of The Month – July 2022

Our Top Six Releases Jul 22

BJ Barham, American Aquarium – Photo: LTTL

Top Six Releases

July 2022

Our Top Six Releases Jul 22

By Rob Dickens

American Aquarium

Chicamacomico

Losing Side Records/Thirty Tigers

10 June 2022

American Aquarium‘s previous release Lamentations (2020) was a gritty turn-out and Chicamacomico ups the ante even more.

Lead guy BJ Barham has created some moving reflections of loss and some sharp commentary on many an issue – how to deal with hurt and harvest some positivity among the seemingly fallow fields. Barham takes on some bleak topics with insights and the ability to walk in the shoes of loved ones – immediate and extended family members, and friends.

Produced by Brad Cook at Sonic Ranch, and with co-writes from Grammy-winner Lori McKenna and Grammy-nominee Hayes CarllChicamacomico is a feat of artistic strength. With backing from bandmates Shane Boeker (electric and acoustic guitars), Rhett Huffman (Hammond organ, Moog bass, acoustic guitar), Neil Jones (pedal steel, acoustic guitar), Ryan Van Fleet (drums, percussion, acoustic guitar) and Alden Hedges (bass guitar, vocals, acoustic guitar), Barham’s stories are perfectly realised.

Chicamacomico sounds like nothing we’ve ever done, yet it sits comfortably amongst the rest of our catalog”.

BJ Barham

The title of the album was inspired by a former life-saving station built-in 1874 on the Outer Banks of the band’s native North Carolina.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Jo Corbett Publicity

Andrew Bird

Inside Problems

Loma Vista

3 June 2022

He whistles, he acts (TV’s Fargo), a composer, his violin playing (among other instruments) is supreme, he indulges in whimsy and is often (maybe always) dressed rather formally. Inaccessible to some, his thirteenth album over almost three decades is fascinating – gipsy and jazzy, sci-fi-esque and contemplative.

The genesis of the album came from coping with the pandemic and the ‘Inside Problems’ born out of isolation and insomnia and the internal diving that can mess with your head, case in point – “How the hell did you know, when all you know is what you don’t know?” The album was recorded live with production from Mike Viola and additional vocals from Madison Cunningham, the latter providing a wonderful counterpoint of fluency.

A gloriously different and quirky follow up to his collaboration with Jimbo Mattus, 13 Of The Best.

OFFICIAL SITE

Caamp

Lavender Days

Mom+Pop

24 June 2022

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio Caamp was founded by Taylor Meier and Evan Westfall who grew up together. They launched the band out of Athens, OH and have released three previous full length records, including their self-titled 2016 debut. Meier is the group’s singer and primary songwriter and his well-worn vocals and the band’s harmonies are features.

The album was written in the aftermath of a period of pile-on heartaches suffered by Meier caused by the pandemic and resultant removal of his livelihood and its mental health impact, plus the loss of loved ones. It’s an important journey, finding light through persistence.

Lavender Days was produced by the band and Beatriz Artola with additional production by Brad Cook (see above). Initial recording took place at Sylvan Esso’s studio just outside of Durham, North Carolina beginning in February of 2021, where together Caamp and Cook work-shopped the songs and began principal tracking, bringing in friends like Nathaniel Rateliff and Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield to contribute vocals.

OFFICIAL SITE

Dead Horses

Brady Street

Independent

12 August 2022

Dead Horses are a duo with a twist – Sarah Vos‘ emotive songwriting and Dan Wolff‘s distinctive bass playing – with three albums, two of which were produced by Ken Coomer (Uncle Tupelo and Wilco), three singles and one EP out in the marketplace.

It’s taken four years for Brady Street to follow. This time the pair decided to stick to their rural Wisconsin roots for the new sessions, choosing to record at Honeytone Studios in Neenah, Wisconsin on Lake Winnebego.

“We wanted to produce something that seemed true to us, so we opted for a closer-to-home approach. The experience allowed us to dive in and out of the studio and really work with the individual songs and the overall feel of Brady Street. Because of this, I believe we created a set of songs that contain a wider variety of sounds and textures that we knew were possible for us but didn’t have the chance to accomplish yet based on our previous recording strategies.”

Daniel Wolff

Brady Street is an intensely human delight – a blend of tranditional roots music with an indie vibe that rewards the listener time and again.

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Mary Gauthier

Dark Enough To See The Stars

Thirty Tigers

3 June 2022

Gauthier’s previous outing was the ambitious 2019 effort Rifles and Rosary Beads, a songwriting collaboration with wounded Iraq veterans and their families for which she received a Best Folk Album Grammy nomination.

Gauthier has a history of navigating through intense emotions in her songs and on Dark Enough The See The Stars she presents a remarkably consistent collection of slow burning songs with the vocals and lyrics front and centre. The gaps between the words are delicately filled with subtle drums, acoustic guitar, piano and organ. Not a note out of place.

The record comes out after the passing of a number of close friends, including Nanci Griffith, David Olney and John Prine and she farewells them with class and conviction. Behold a candid master class in songwriting.

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The Slocan Ramblers

Up The Hill And Through The Fog

Independent

10 June 2022

Bluegrass with bite!

The all-star Canadian roots ensemble The Slocan Ramblers emanated from the rough-and-tumble bars of Toronto, necessarily playing bluegrass to stoke the fires of drinking and dancing. From there, the band has garnered a strong following and industry recognition to the point of an International Bluegrass Music Association Momentum Award and a Juno Award nomination.

In what is a weirdly consistent theme of loss in this month’s Best Of offering, the band’s trajectory was abruptly halted by the pandemic’s brutal impact on live music, plus bandmates Adrian Gross and Darryl Poulsen both lost close family members and their bassist decided to step back to spend more time at home.

Up the Hill and Through the Fog provides evidence of the band absorbing these setbacks and penning some of their most direct and earnest material to date, ascending high enough to out run the opaqueness.

OFFICIAL SITE

Via Hearth Music

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LAST MONTH’S BEST ALBUMS

More Music Adventures Await!

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Our Top Six Releases Jul 22

Our Top Six Releases Jul 22

Our Top Six Releases May 22

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Author: Rob Dickens

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