It's a so-so week for new records at our friendly indie music shop. We're excited about exactly two releases, which is convenient for our purposes.
With a smirk, one Denton musician referred to Seattle's Tiny Vipers as a "meaningful-core" outfit. Even that removed perspective couldn't pull us out of the trance we were in during the solo artist's recent stop at Hailey's. A score of showgoers immediately sat down cross-legged on the floor when Jesy Fortino, who plays under the moniker Tiny Vipers, took to the mic. Her long-form folk gems are structured like Van Morrison's more brooding experiments. The cocoa in Fortino's voice and the pace of the songs make her seem like a secret, but Pitchfork tagged the TV song "Dreamer" with its "best new music" honor, so, you know. Anyway, we walked starry-eyed to the ATM on Hickory Street, bought "Life on Earth" at TV's merch table, and somehow ended up home safely. This album will make you want to sleep in your backyard.
Son Volt :: "American Central Dust" (Rounder Records)
There may be no way around the tag "recession record" for career Americana bands who put out albums in the coming months. Is it time again for another Woody Guthrie-style assesment of the country's ruin? Son Volt seems ready to give us one with "American Central Dust," albeit with even-tempered rock narratives. The St. Louis band's release comes out just after Americana kings and kin group Wilco dropped "Wilco" ("The Album.)" Paste took the opportunity to compare the records of the frontmen who sprang from Uncle Tupelo, SV's Jay Farrar and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. In that review, Farrar is cast as the safer songwriter, but solid tracks like "Down to the Wire" are far less dad-rock than some of the muted solo guitar-fawning that peppers Wilco's "Sky Blue Sky." There's room for both bands near the heart of America, really, and maybe too much literal space in the heartland -- neither group has a stop in DFW listed for their tours behind these albums.