MONSTERS OF FOLK TO RELEASE DEBUT SELF-TITLED ALBUM; OFFER FIRST SINGLE AS FREE DOWNLOAD
Monsters of Folk – comprised of Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and singer/songwriter M.Ward – will be releasing their first collaborative album on September 22nd. The self-titled effort was recorded in Malibu, CA and Omaha, NE, and produced by Mogis. Although these critically acclaimed artists have shared the stage before, this album marks their first recorded output as a band. The record will be released in North America on Shangri-La Music, and internationally on Rough Trade (UK/Europe), Spunk Records (Australia/New Zealand) and P-Vine Records (Japan). The musicians have made a track from their forthcoming self-titled debut album available for FREE. Their website, http://www.monstersoffolk.com/ is giving away the song, titled “Say Please”, to anyone who visits the site and types “please” into the request form.
Monsters of Folk began as folklore of sorts, when James, Oberst, Ward and Mogis did their first run of shows together in 2004. Like the musical revue shows that went town to town when rock ‘n’ roll was newly born, the tour was called “An Evening With: Bright Eyes, Jim James and M. Ward,” although amongst friends and crew, it became affectionately known as the “Monsters of Folk Tour.” While entertaining audiences coast to coast with gorgeous acoustic melodies and world-weary tales, the foursome vowed to make their way to a studio at some point after the tour’s completion. Instead, the songsmiths went on to individually release some of rock music’s most exciting and essential albums of the last five years – Bright Eyes’ I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning & Cassadaga; My Morning Jacket’s Z & Evil Urges; M. Ward’s Post War and Hold Time. Never ones to forget their promise, when downtime presented itself, they convened in the studio multiple times over two years, with Mogis at the helm of their first recorded effort. The result is as stunning and storied as you would expect it to be.
All four members play every instrument on the album, supplying everything from drum kills to cascading backing vocals. The songs – some road-worn fables, some intimate and intricate with electronic elements, some woozy and sun-soaked – are everything one expects from these four musical minds collaborating together. The album exudes a warm, organic spaciousness, filled by brilliant choruses, intoxicating harmonies and effortless melodies, as each member brings his own strengths to the table to create one perfect whole.
Monsters of Folk Tracklist
Dear God (sincerely M.O.F.)
Say Please Whole Lotta Losin' Temazcal The Right Place Baby Boomer Man Named Truth Goodway Ahead of the Curve Slow Down Jo Losin Yo Head Magic Marker Map Of The World The Sandman, the Brakeman and Me His Master’s Voice
I got an email a couple weeks back from the Track Records Label out of San Francisco. Alexandra asked me if I would be interested in reviewing an album by their band Letters & Numbers. I’m always looking for new sounds, so of course I said yes. I asked Alexandra if she could send me a copy of the disc for fear that the mp3s would get lost in my iTunes library. She, of course, obliged and I received a nice package containing the disc and a button about a week later. The Track Records packaging is simple and elegant, I like it!
I listened to the disc in the car the day I got it and enjoyed about half of it on my drive home. It’s hard to give a cd a fair shake while driving in the car though, so since then I have given it a couple more spins and here is what I have found about Letters and Numbers.
Initially the first track turned me off, due to my own lack of appreciation for the pop-punk drumming style of that song. I question why the band chose to lead off the cd with the song, “infinite morning” as it is quite different from the rest of the music on this disc. I was very pleased to hear that style of drumming was absent from the rest of the album.
I enjoyed the guitar work and lyrics on track two, “buying my blues”. In my opinion this album really get started with track 3, “paradise et canto”, it has some sweet harmonica harmonies and lovely brush work on the drums. It’s a bit of a coming of age tune, which has some very nice imagery. I particularly like the lyrics in this song, “we met beneath the power lines and slept under a moon lit sky” and “shout across every city street, take our credit cards out with us to drink”. I am guilty of doing just that; and well, as the song suggests, it’s never a good thing.
The rest of the cd rocks on and takes you on a ride through jangly guitar chords, a couple of quieter tunes, more fantastic lyrical imagery, and an overall good feeling. I am sometimes reminded of earlier Bright Eyes records in the lead singers vocal style. Hopefully he takes that as the compliment it was meant to be.
I feel like Track Records and this fledgling band Letters and Numbers have a very bright and promising future ahead of them. Keep up the good work!