Entries in Bryan John Appleby (5)


Deep Sea Diver w/ Bryan John Appleby – Neumos – Seattle, WA

The show at Neumos on Friday night was nothing short of a Christmas special, from Peter Mansen in an adorable onesie to Bryan John Appleby’s delightful holiday get-up, complete with Muppets and a choir. A perfectly sweet open to Deep Sea Diver’s folk-driven rock, Appleby’s heartfelt set comprised of tender tracks from Fire on the Vine and carmelized Christmas numbers. Folk revivalism done tastefully, these narrative tunes are intricately instrumental and refreshingly honest.

Nearly two years out from the release of History Speaks, Deep Sea Diver’s sparse set refuses to wilt on record or stage. It doesn’t take more than one song to sink deliciously under the tasty spell of Jessica Dobson’s haunting synth-matched vocal hooks riding on Mansen’s galvanizing drums. Dobson’s possessed stature and impressive technical precision luxuriate in a likeness of Annie Clark (St. Vincent), and it’s not difficult to imagine the songstress reaching similar heights. A former member of The Shins (whose influence resounds in the nautical licks of ‘You Go Running’), Dobson on stage is simply captivating. Opening with temporal plays on flickering bare bulbs and exploding bursts of flood light, the band showed us promising new gems and several endearing Christmas covers. Dobson’s confessional 'O Holy Night' was backed by a stage decked with spectacular strings of lights that formed a massive tree, which the band had personally slaved over. The sonic celebrations left me with enough elation stuck on my heart to float away from the Pike/Pine antics filled with warm holiday fuzzies.

Photos//Words By Cassandra Croft

Deep Sea Diver

Bryan John Appleby


Songs For Wednesday: Patrick Watson, Black Girls and more

Words // Adam Sharp
Patrick Watson - "Into Giants"

This is pretty much what spring sounds like.  (website)
Night Moves - "Headlights"
This has about everything you're going to need in a few months for a summer jam: it's noisy, has some sun soaked guitar lines, some soaring falsetto and some rumbling percussion.  (website)
Black Girls - "Broadway"
...or, you know, maybe you prefer your summer jams with a bunch of swagger, a touch of horns and a bit of soul.   (website)
Bryan John Appleby - "The Rider. The Horse. The Land."
Just a friendly reminder that this was the best album that was released last year.  (website)
Leif Vollebekk - "Don't Go To Klaksvik"
This tune will be the exact right tune for your next drive through the country with the windows down. Or pretty much anything else of that nature.  (website)


Favorite Albums of 2011 #5-1

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.    

The Barr Brothers - Beggar In The Morning


 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.

Middle Brother - Million Dollar Bill


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.

Bon Iver - Michicant


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.

The War On Drugs - Come To The City


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.

Bryan John Appleby - The Words Of The Revelator


Fall 2011 Mixtape


Bryan John Appleby - Fire on the Vine

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: