Words // Adam Sharp
Patrick Watson - "Into Giants"
Entries in Bryan John Appleby (4)
5. The Barr Brothers – The Barr Brothers
The Barr Brothers' debut didn't exactly come out of nowhere, but it certainly exceeded my high expectations. Seamless shifts from hushed vocals and plucked harp to ragged bluesy bluster, with gorgeous sweeping melodies throughout.
4. Middle Brother - Middle Brother
A great example of a record that is bigger than the sum of its parts. Middle Brother represents the ongoing renaissance of unpretentious rock n' folk and honest songwriting...not to mention their killer live show. Middle Brother made and important statement in 2011.
3. Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Justin Vernon could have followed-up For Emma with a "safe" record and it would have been a massive hit. Bon Iver, Bon Iver wasn't safe. Beautiful songs married with densely orchestrated and bold arrangements. Both challenging and gorgeous.
2. The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient
The War On Drugs really should be my favorite band. Other bands don't stand a shot. Mixing classic, rollicking Springsteen and Petty with the haze and drone of Suicide and the loud-ass bombast of Spaceman 3. Slave Ambient is where they put it all together.
1. Bryan John Appleby – Fire On The Vine
Maybe an unlikely choice for my favorite album of the year, but I would have been kidding myself to choose anything else. It was love at first listen. Beautiful, mature songwriting, rich melodies and arrangements - a record that I came back to again and again and again.
Conrad Plymouth - I Am Not Waiting Anymore (buy)
Moon High - Autumn Leaves (buy)
Josh Ritter - Wildfires (buy)
Brown Bird - Fingers to the Bone (buy)
We Are The Willows - Somewhere, Virginia (buy)
Real Estate - Green Aisles (buy)
Grey Kingdom - Love Is Fast (buy)
Wilco - Black Moon (buy)
Bryan John Appleby - The Lake (buy)
Wooden Sky - River Song One (buy)
I am not really a music blogger. At least I don't think of myself that way. I am a music lover who happens to write (poorly) about music in hopes of sharing my passion with a few other likeminded souls. Music discovery is often total serendipity - hearing the perfect song at the perfect moment. I hope that someone has found a new favorite song or album or artist through Visible Voice - if that happens, then I've done what I set out to do.
And I still discover music in that same way. I waste my time combing through hundreds of press releases and pitch emails per day when my main source for discovery and inspiration is other music blogs. And I don't mean BrooklynVegan and Stereogum - it's the smaller blogs that I like to follow. The ones that still have some personality, and that are driven by musical curiosity instead of simply regurgitating those waste of time PR emails I just mentioned. There is really nothing as valuable as a tip from someone who's opinion you trust. As Visible Voice has grown, I've started to look for fellow music lovers to join the team - having more trustworth ears to the ground will mean sharing more great music.
I'm happy to announce that Adam from the fantastic Chicago-based blog songsfortheday will be joining Visible Voice to share new tunes with you all. songsfortheday is one of those blogs I was talking about that has personality - and great, great music. I'm looking forward to what Adam has to share. In the meantime, here's one of my absolutely favorite recent discoveries - plucked from where else? songsfortheday...
Bryan John Appleby's debut full-length Fire on the Vine is a beautiful collection of richly textured folk. Appleby's songs are intimate but sung with conviction and purpose - a lot of heart and a little bit of grit. The arrangements are varied and simply gorgeous - at times channeling ramshackle roots-rock bombast, at other times nothing more than Appleby's emotive, hushed vocals and softly plucked banjo. The earthy melodies tread in distinctly Pacific Northwest sonic territory - vaguely recalling fellow-Seattleites Fleet Foxes and The Head And The Heart. After the first few spins I'm confident in saying that this is one of my favorite new discoveries of the year so far. I can't wait to spend the fall months with this album in my ears and wrapped around me like a favorite sweatshirt. Do yourself a favor and pick this up at Appleby's bandcamp page. If you're not sold yet, you can stream the entire album there as well...but start with "The Words Of The Revelator" below:
Here's a gorgeous video for "Cliffs Along The Sea" from Bryan John Appleby's Shoes For Men And Beasts EP: