Grace Notes: Oh No Oh My, Epic45, Johnny Flynn, Aaron Roche, Kurt Vile, and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

Grace Notes is a weekly exploration by Jason Morehead and Drew Dixon of signs of common grace in the music world.  We hope to alert you to wonderful music, some of which will be spiritual in nature but all of which will be unique and worthy of your attention.  Each week we will share a video or two highlighting music that we find particularly engaging and meaningful.

Jason’s picks of the week:

Epic45

My first article for CaPC compiled a list of albums that would make for a very nice playlist for the autumn months. One of the artists on that list was Epic45, an English duo that (to quote myself) “bridges the gap between bedroom electronica, post-rock, shoegazer, and ambient music”. They’ve been a longtime favorite of mine, so I was very excited to learn that their new album, Weathering, is due out soon. Two tracks from the album can be listened to here, and they don’t disappoint. I’m particularly taken with “The Village Is Asleep”, a meandering six-minute track that is full of subdued vocals, tape hiss, and graceful guitar melodies, and that practically drips with nostalgia (particularly in its last third or so). I find it a very fitting track for these cooler days of early spring, and it has me looking forward to similarly chilly days come September and October.

Aaron Roche

Aaron Roche e-mailed me last month about his music, but I’m just now getting around to giving it a listen — and I’m kicking myself for having taken so long to do so. Roche’s new album, Plainspeak stands somewhere in the middle of that intersection between folk music and modern, avant-garde classical. Which might sound unlikely, but it nevertheless, it makes for some truly gorgeous music as the warmer, folksier elements (delicately picked acoustic guitars) blend and play off the more left-field elements (field recordings, drones, odd song structures, elaborate arrangements). The album’s finest moments — “A Weaker Vision”, “Fiction” — occur when Roche’s voice joins the proceedings. He possesses the same hushed timbre as Sufjan Stevens and Denison Witmer, albeit with far more cryptic lyrics. Other points of reference include David Sylvian and Arve Henriksen, which is no small thing in my book. But judge for yourself: the entire album can be listened to here.

Drew’s picks of the week:

Oh No Oh My

Oh No Oh My recently released a new album called People Problems. The good people at Daytrotter recently hosted them for a studio session which shows off four excellent tracks from the record. If there is a coherent theme to the album it is the manageable yet sticky problems people have as we struggle to relate to one another and the arrangements compliment that theme nicely.  Its a beautifully meandering and sometimes soaring rock album that accurately illustrates our many faceted communication problems–it certainly gives needed voice to our struggles to connect as these little problems are given complexity of both thought and arrangement.  These themes are deserving of such attention as is this album.
Highlights: “So I Took You,” “Again Again,” “You Were Right,” and “Should not have Come to This.”


Johnny Flynn

A good friend recently introduced me to Johnny Flynn and I was pleasantly surprised.  Flynn is one of a growing number of able and talented British folk artists.  Flynn is also an accomplished actor and a poet and his songs bear those influences ably.  His 2010 album Been Listening represents a significant growth in both song writing and arranging, plus it contains what surely must be one of the very best folk songs of last year (that sadly I only recently heard)–”Kentucky Pill.”

 

Kurt Vile

Pitchfork has posted a compelling review of Kurt Vile’s new album Smoke Ring for my Halo. As I recently gave the album a quick listen my first impression is that Pitchfork is right–this is Vile’s best album to date–give it a listen here.

 

 

 

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

SSLYBY may have chosen a rather cumbersome band name but their most recent album Let it Sway has lately been my go-to album for delightfully fun pop-rock.  I sadly could not find a good live performance of my favorite song, “Back in the Saddle” so I have posted below a live session of, “Everlyn, another great track!

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