Monsters of Folk – Dear God (layers of meaning)
First Aid Kit – I Met Up With the King (gorgeous campfire sing-along)
Marching Band – Another Day (whittle while you work)
Inlets – Bright Orange Air (if Seurat was an animator)
Hot Chip – I Feel Better (amazing)
Matthew Good Band – Load Me Up (oh, Canada)
A mix of sadness and hope pervades Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore’s Dear Companion, a sentiment that makes sense for a collaboration hoping to draw attention to the destruction of mountaintop removal coal mining that is occurring in and around their Kentucky home. Sollee and Moore recruited fellow Kentuckian Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket, Monsters of Folk) to produce and contribute, and a contemplative ode to the region was born.
The songs on Dear Companion range from instrumental interludes (“Wilson Creek”) and sweet meditations appropriate for creekside autumn days (“Flyrock #2) to slow reservation yielding to joy peeking through (“Try”).
Deep cello and thumping banjo dominate “Something, Somewhere, Sometime”, while Sollee’s playing takes a different tack on “Sweet Marie” with beautiful swells that envelop plaintive vocals and lead in horns and haunted, drifting calls. Unique is the mid-album title track, frantic and lurching, slinking along in the velvet black of night.
Dear Companion drops on 02/16/10.
Download “Something, Somewhere, Sometime” here.
A portion of proceeds from Dear Companion will go to Appalachian Voices, dedicated to ending mountaintop removal.