Entries in Peter Wolf Crier (2)


21 Favorite Albums of 2010:  17-21

17. Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues

Justin Townes Earle had a bit of a rough 2010.  First a freak injury caused a last-minute cancellation of his set at Newport Folk, then Earle found himself in the headlines when he was arrested after an alleged outburst in Indianapolis.  However, 2010 also saw the release of the country-folk troubadour's third album, Harlem River Blues.  Earle's music has always reflected a gritty, urban take on traditional country, but Harlem River Blues takes it right to the streets of New York.  A variety of influences from rockabilly to honky tonk to folk and blue-eyed soul keeps things fresh.  Harlem River Blues is mature album from a man that is starting to make a name for himself beyond the shadow of his father.

Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues


18. Mavis Staples - You Are Not Alone

Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy may sound like an odd pairing on the surface - the legendary gospel-soul singer and the indie-folk-noise troubadour don't really have all that much in common, right?  Well, while stylistic and age differences may separate them, the love of song and story unites them.  Tweedy contributed two new compositions, including the instant-classic that gives the record its name, and lovingly curated and produced the rest of the album.  Staples, still a dynamic liver performer, continues her late career renaissance with a gorgeous, invigorating album of spirituality and hope.

Mavis Staples - You Are Not Alone



19. Pepper Rabbit - Beauregard

Pepper Rabbit's Shakes/Clicks EPs were some of my favorite discoveries of the early part of 2010 (originally self-released in 2009).  The work primarily of multinstrumentalist Xander Singh and percussionist Luc Laurent, the songs feature eclectic instrumentation - vibraphone, banjo and woodwinds to name a few. Each song feels like a precious, perfectly-realized indie-pop vignette.  Beauregard, the band's debut LP was released in late-October, recycling the tracks that I already knew and loved, while adding two (excellent) new songs.  The release was a bit anticlimactic for me, given that I knew most of the songs already, but I can't ignore this as one of my favorite releases of the year - pure indie-folk-pop bliss.

Pepper Rabbit - Harvest Moon


20. Peter Wolf Crier - Inter-Be

When I first heard Peter Wolf Crier's debut Inter-Be I assumed they were a standard 3 or 4 piece band.  Then, when I found out they were a duo, I skeptically assumed that their sound was the result of overdubs and studio trickery.  Then I saw them live and was amazed to see two guys alone on stage, faithfully reproducing the complex sounds from the record with nothing more than electric guitar, drums and a variety of pedals.  The songs themselves are simple folk tunes, often featuring falsetto vocals and Brian Moen's deceptively complex percussion.  The result is something like a more percussive Bon Iver. Looking forward to hearing more from these guys, but until then, Inter-Be will be spinning often.

Peter Wolf Crier - Crutch and Cane


21. The Wooden Sky - If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone

Wondering why I chose to include 21 albums in my list?  Irony?  Indecision?  An unhealthy obsession with Blackjack?  None of the above.  It was because I just had to include one album that was officially released in 2009, but I did not discover until 2010.  The truth is, this album would have been in my top 5 had it been released this year.  Think of this as a top 20 list plus "the one that got away".  The Toronto-based band writes folk songs that are accented by electric guitars, keyboards, percussion.  There are moments that are downright bombastic, others whisper-soft.  Like the best of Josh Ritter and Delta Spirit all in one - plus, they put on a fantastic live show.  It boggles my mind that these guys are not huge yet.

The Wooden Sky - (Bit Part)


Honorable mentions - some other albums we loved this year

Phosphorescent - Here's To Taking It Easy
Beach House - Teen Dream
Futurebirds - Hampton's Lullaby
Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
Crusaders of Love - Never Grow Up
Freelance Whales - Weathervanes
The Head and The Heart - Self-titled
Reigning Sound - Love & Curses
Anais Mitchell - Hadestown
Chief - Modern Rituals
Surfer Blood - Astro Coast
Harlem - Hippies



New music: Peter Wolf Crier "Inter-Be", live review

Peter Wolf Crier at Great Scott in Allston (6.14.10)

Peter Wolf Crier is just a duo, but they make a very big sound.  Their debut record Inter-Be, recently re-released by Jagjaguwar, has totally knocked me out.  At the core these are organic folk songs influenced by early rock n' roll, soul and Phil Spector's wall-of-sound - the lazy comparisons are M. Ward or Bon Iver (especially considering Peter Pisano's bell-clear falsetto).  However, drummer Brian Moen's dynamic percussion shares the spotlight here, adding another dimension to these songs.  Like The Dodos and Local Natives, rhythm is at the forefront - adding texture and propulsion to the songs.  Enjoy the first two tracks off of the fantastic Inter-Be here:

Peter Wolf Crier - Crutch and Cane
Peter Wolf Crier - Hard As Nails

Before Monday's show at Great Scott, I was curious how the duo would be able to pull the songs off live.  When the pair opened with Crutch and Cane the answer was obvious - the songs sounded even better live.  More intensity, percussion even more upfront, and an incredibly layered sound made possible by bass pedals and vocal looping.  Don't miss Peter Wolf Crier when they open for Heartless Bastards at the Middle East on July 17.