Get ready to hear the name Jherek Bischoff a lot more often. The multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, and ex-Parenthetical Girls member has crafted an epic orch-pop debut called Composed, which is coming via Brassland on June 5.
And if you need a few familiar names to get you interested, the album features David Byrne, Nels Cline (Wilco, Nels Cline Singers), Craig Wedren (Shudder to Think), Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), Zac Pennington (Parenthetical Girls), Soko, Carla Bozulich, Dawn McCarthy (Faun Fables), and even more notables.
In just one more trip around the sun, another swarm of immensely talented but under-recognized musicians has harnessed its collective talents and discharged its creations into the void. This list is but one fraction of those dedicated individuals who caught our ears with some serious jams.
Faun Fables: “Light of a Vaster Dark” [audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Faun_Fables_Light_of_a_Vaster_Dark.mp3|titles=Faun Fables: “Light of a Vaster Dark”]
Morrow: Borne of principal songwriter Dawn McCarthy, Faun Fables is a powerful, somber, and multifaceted brand of neofolk songs and theatrical performance. The group’s works also are developed by co-conspirator Nils Frykdahl of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and their breadth of instrumentation comes courtesy of assorted guests.
Light of a Vaster Dark is Faun Fables’ first album in four-and-a-half years, and it again is led by the dynamic vocal interplay of McCarthy, Frykdahl, and others — blending elements of the 1950s/’60s American folk revival, medieval and Celtic music, and the catchall “psychedelic folk.”
Though McCarthy’s clear intonation and wavering vibratos are the real star, Frykdahl’s backing vocals add a necessary baritone presence, and the album’s range of sounds is just as vital. Guitars, violin, flute, bass clarinet, autoharp, Theremin, and homemade instruments all offer different sonic flavors behind a vocal presence that can sound a little homogenous from time to time.