I am unable to craft some clever or ironic theme for LxListening this week, so you get the leavings of some of my favorite tracks of 2011 that never got any press on our site. Give em’ a listen; you might like it.
Laura Marling – “My Friends”
The build on Marling’s “My Friends” is so methodical; it is almost alarming when what has become an acoustic tantrum breaks for a moment. I think this was the highest rated song on my personal best of 2012 list that didn’t make the final list, and I wanted to give it some love. Check out the rest of the album too. The version below is the best I could find, and the quality isn’t great.
The Antlers – “Hounds” (ft. Nicole Atkins)
This track is off The Antlers EP, Together, that came out in the fall to poor reviews. I agree that the EP is lacking, but this version of “Hounds” is superior to the version on Burst Apart, with Nicole Atkins handling most of the vocals. I really wish this version would have made the LP instead of the original, which I enjoy, but is probably the weakest track on a fantastic album.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy – “Quail & Dumplings”
I declined to review Will Oldham’s latest album as Bonnie “Prince” Billie, Wolfroy Goes to Town, because sometimes his material takes a while to get into, and I needed to take my time with this one. The album grew on me, but is not great. Fortunately, the first track to jump out at me, “Quail & Dumplings”, has not lost its luster after several listens. Pay particular attention to the female vocal assault that happens about halfway through. Oh, and Oldham is my avatar for those of you who have been confused.
EMA – “Kind Heart”
This cover of Robert Johnson’s “Kind-hearted Woman” reveals one more layer of talent from the enigmatic EMA. The tortured vocals and loose guitar strings do Johnson more than proud. Don’t mind the over 14-minute run-time on this track, it is worth it.
The Big Pink – “Love in Vain”
The release of The Big Pink’s new album led me back to their 2009 breakout A Brief History of Love, and my favorite track in particular, “Love is Vain”. On this track, The Big Pink seem to take on the persona of their countrymen The Verve to an extent, offering up a sweeping gem from a very good album.