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:
Fred Baty released two albums under the moniker Crepusculum — Sing On In Silhouettes and Sky Diaries EP — and they’re absolute must-hear material if you enjoy delicate, folk-influenced acoustic guitar melodies blended with electronica and field recordings. And even better, they’re both free downloads. Baty has since retired Crepusculum, but he’s still recording music under his own name. “Bukena” is a perfect showcase for Baty’s deft guitar playing — his fingers practically fly over the strings — and the result is a moving acoustic song that evokes shades of Celtic and Gaelic music.
Speaking of blending folk and electronica, I recently discovered the music of Puzzle Muteson, a singer/songwriter from the Isle of Wight. His debut album is coming in June (details), but you canstream/download the first single, “En Garde”, from his Bandcamp site. Musically, it begins with a simple acoustic guitar that is slowly embellished with a gorgeous, Craig Armstrong-esque orchestral arrangement a la and some electronic beats. Meanwhile, his warbling voice adds a perfect amount of melancholy and pensiveness to the song. You can hear a few more songs on his MySpace page, and they’re quite lovely in their own right.
Drew’s picks of the week:
Peter Borjn and John
Peter Borjn and John’s new album Gimme Some doesn’t have the pop sensibilities of 2006’s Writer’s Block or the mish-mash beats and processed vocals of 2009’s Living Thing. Gimme Some attempts to stake a strikingly less ambitious place in PB&J cannon and the result is a really nice and well-paced rock album. It is refreshingly lacking in the self-absorbed melancholy so prevalent in current indie-pop. This is a largely happy album that shines most brightly when the trio harmonizes and Peter Moren jams out on guitar. These guys are clearly having fun on this album and I am so glad they have invited me to join them. The album can be streamed at NPR for a limited time.
Highlights: “Second Chance” (video below), “May Seem Macabre,” “Tomorrow Has to Wait,” and my personal favorite “Eyes.”
My guess is that the average CAPC reader is not as nuts about music as I am (forgive me if I am wrong about that)–if you are, then you have certainly heard of Grizzly Bear and you won’t be shocked by my recommending them. If however you are something of a newbie to the world of great music, I would be doing you a great disservice if I did not tell you that Grizzly Bear is one of America’s greatest current rock bands and their 2009 album Veckatamest is of one the greatest rock albums of the previous decade. This is definitely one of my go to albums. I am a big fan of artists that know their strengths and simply play to them. Rock music doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel and most times when bands try they utterly fail at doing so. Veckatimest is therapeutic in that regard–its just really really good. So if you have been living under a rock or have only recently begun taking a closer look at the world of great music–you can’t go wrong with this album!