The Wood and the Wild
The Wood and the Wild/self-released
Singer-songwriter Jon Perry is spot-on when he refers to this debut recording as “supernatural cinematic folk.” Part concept record, part proverbial soundtrack to your life, the album manages to amble along with a sense of purpose. The opening track, “Loveless Traveler/Belles on the Tye,” encapsulates the tone, as it seamlessly evolves from folk to alternative to classical to ambient before finishing off in a solid folk pop number, all guided by Perry’s echoing vocals. The retro folk styling of “Sunlight” makes it perfect to listen to on those hot, lazy afternoons, and a choir of harmonious vocals augment the wonder of “Possible Places.” These eight tracks instill an urge for wanderlust and sense of endless possibility.
Lullabies & Wake-Up Calls/Self-released
If you like socially-conscious lyrics and slightly left of center musical sensibilities, then Canadian singer-songwriter Dinah Thorpe’s third full-length record is for you. Much of the album focuses on the perils of living in a capitalistic society as our day-to-day lives become increasingly frenzied (“Morning Rush Hour in Cartown”), shallow (“Mining for Gold”), and selfish (“Hold a Place”). Thorpe switches between muted vocals and rapid-fire rap throughout, which gives the album a layer of intrigue as it mirrors the quick paced life that dominates our world today. The straight-ahead jazz of “Carsick” and clever beat boxing on “Can I See What’s in Your Backpack?” highlight Thorpe’s musical versatility, and when “Prospect” opens the album with these lines: “Here’s how it starts/With the obliteration of the face to face/You touch your screen/I’ll touch mine/Just don’t look me in/The eye,” it’s hard to miss her critique of this digital age.
The Dirty Guv’nahs
Hearts on Fire/Summertown Records
It’s one thing to make groovy Southern rock —and God knows The Dirty Guv’nahs do it well—but it is another to inject it with as much passion as they do. The swelling, almost seven-minute rocker “Someone to Love” is soaked with soul from frontman James Trimble and “Three Little Angels” is a country and folk tragedy that is certain to pull at your heart strings. “Under Control” rocks as Trimble cries to the heavens about struggling through life, while “Dear Jamie” grows in ambient rock sensibilities to become increasingly emotional—when Trimble repeatedly cries “don’t break my heart,” you cannot help but get caught up in the moment. The Guv’nahs put their hearts on their sleeves, and set them ablaze for this one.