Tag Archives: Freak folk

Happy Jawbone Family Band – Tastes The Broom (2013)

Happy Jawbone Family Band - Tastes The Broom (2013)

Okay, so I must be a glutton for punishment.

I previously reviewed Happy Jawbone Family Band’s last album, The Silk Pistol (2012), but it was not an easy review. I found the album difficult to get into at first and it took me not only a few listens to really get a handle on the music but also a few days to commit the review. I gave wrong information because I found information hard to come by, saying that it was their third album, whereas it was in fact their sixth. I was also alerted to the fact that they had a compilation album out. However, based on the fact that I liked the previous album, when I saw this release on Spotify, I was so excited that I forgot to check that it was a new release and not that compilation that I had been alerted to.

It is that compilation that I had been alerted to. Never mind. It has been released by Mexican Summer Records as a lead into the new album this year.

The first track, Now Everybody Rock Like You Got AIDS is a noisy affair from 2009’s album Family Matters, which, straight away highlights Happy Jawbone Family Bands dark humour and loose raucous style that I found hard to get into on first listen but now comes easier. Fireflies Made Out Of Dust is not the version from OK Midnight, You Win (2011), but instead the version from album Hotel Double Tragedy (2010), as is At The Hotel Double Tragedy which begins with a circuit-bent toy, followed by music mimicking that style.

The track that alerted me to the fact that I might not be listening to a new album this morning was a favourite of mine from The Silk Pistol, There’s Too Much Blood In The Attic Tonight, which is a great track led by a haunting repeated string melody (although on The Silk Pistol, the title says “Today” not “Tonight”; just another addition to my woeful misunderstanding of this band). Another favourite of mine from The Silk Pistol is collected here, That Cruel Thimbleful, part dark ballad, part dirge.

Overall, this compilation serves to bring anticipation of the forthcoming album and is a great retrospective/introduction to a band whose ethos is individuality; they honestly sound like no-one else. Loose, DIY, experimental, folky, noisy, freaky, irreverent, quirky; just pick a few of those words, throw them into the air and catch a few, that is Happy Jawbone Family Band. I’m happy to have discovered them and I look forward to their (actually) new album!

Spotify link: Happy Jawbone Family Band – Tastes the Broom


Happy Jawbone Family Band – The Silk Pistol (2012)

Happy Jawbone Family Band – The Silk Pistol (2012)

Happy Jawbone Family Band - The Silk Pistol (2012)

As far as I can tell, the Happy Jawbone Family Band are from Vermount, USA, and The Silk Pistol is their third album.

This is an unusual outing which, I will readily admit, I didn’t like on my first listen. However, now that I listen to it again, I find myself more drawn to it. A decidedly DIY offering, the production quality isn’t necessarily as good as you would first expect; however, there is a certain honesty that transcends the record.

This is a very open, free folk album. In 1970, while on trial for the Tate-LaBianca murders, Charles Manson had an album released; it is something of an outsider curiousity, psychedelic folk, with a slightly politcal edge. Although there is less of a political edge on Silk Pistol, the music is reminiscent.

Yes, not easily accessible but it certainly has an outsider charm and grows on you; I find it more and more enjoyable after repeated listens.

Favourite tracks: There’s Too Much Blood In The Attic Today, That Cruel Thimbleful, Self Immolation For Beginners
Spotify link: Happy Jawbone Family Band – The Silk Pistol

Villagers – {Awayland} (2013)

Villagers - {Awayland} (2013)

Villagers is a band fronted by singer/songwriter Conor O’Brien from Dublin, Ireland, and the curiously punctuated {Awayland} is the second album.

This is a great album, at times I am reminded very much of Paul Simon; however, there is a definite more modern experimental folk edge to the whole thing. Opener, My Lighthouse, is a modest track, one of the most Paul Simon-esque tracks, subtle guitar and harmonic vocals. This is followed by the fantastic Earthly Pleasures, which shows O’Brien’s flair for inventive, emotive and evocative songwriting.

{Awayland} is a great album, thoroughly absorbing, with grand concepts executed perfectly. A stunning mix of folk and experimental, O’Brien is a great talent. Loved it.

Favourite tracks: Earthly Pleasure, The Waves, Grateful Song

Spotify link: Villagers – {Awayland} (Digital Deluxe)
Sneak peak: 

Animal Collective – Centipede Hz (2012)

Animal Collective - Centipede Hz (2012)

There is a website called Bassistwanted which once published a comic in which a guy asked his friend why the stereo was all messed and playing several channels at once: the Beach Boys, Phillip Glass and some World Music…

“You thought you were listening to Animal Collective, didn’t you?” goes the punchline.

And that description is quite apt, if not a little snarky. Animal Collective’s brand of neo-psychedelic freak folk is a complex multi-layered odyssey.

I find on Centipede Hz, Animal Collective are more restrained than on previous albums. Rather than four strands trying to expand you brain by pulling you in four different directions at once, they are now leading you on a journey through many places.

The classic Animal Collective elements are there and this will certainly appeal to fans and newcomers alike. It’s not as “out there” as previous outings, but it is still good, still mind-expanding and still exciting.

Favourite tracks: Today’s Supernatural, Applesauce, Monkey Riches.

Spotify link: Animal Collective – Centipede Hz
Sneak peak: