Album Reviews: The Deep Dark Woods, Deer Tick, Little Miss Higgins
Miles and Miles, the opening track of The Deep Dark Woods‘ new album Jubilee is like a warning shot across the bow: this is a band that’s moving off in new directions. The gently fuzzed out guitars and vocals sound like a 1970s rock and roll exploration out of California more than the relatively straightforward Americana sound of the band’s previous works.
It’s a good sound for the band (also in evidence on East St. Louis on the same albume) and it promises an exciting future: it’s always nice to see a band stretch in new directions and grow. Don’t worry if you’re a long time fan: there’s lots here that will be instantly familiar for you too. Tracks like 18th of December, Gonna Have a Jubilee and I Took To Whoring are standout examples of the sound that’s earned the band praise over the years (including a nod as the Emerging Artist of the Year from the Americana Music Association.
Jubliee’s a fantastic follow up to the bands last album: the ground breaking Place I Left Behind saw the band’s fanbase grow significantly. It seems likely that Jubilee will do the same.
Little Miss Higgins – The Bison Ranch Recording Sessions
Magic happens when you collect a bunch of practices musicians in a single room and record them all at once. Make that room a barn instead of a sterile recording studio and things get even better. Higgins and her band The Winnipeg Five recorded the Bison Ranch sessions live off the floor, and the result is a fantastic sounding collection of songs well suited to life in a small town.
Higgins’ voice is perfectly suited to her style, and her songs tell tales of life in the small towns of the Canadian prairies. Standout tracks include the straight ahead story telling of I Was at An Auction, Moonlit Picnic and the slow paced pedal steel infused Barns You Used to Dance Too.
If you’re in the mood for classic old timey country and western sound the Bison Ranch Recording Sessions offers up exactly what you need. Slip it on in between some Patsy Cline and Hank Williams it would be right at home (though a better modern companion would be Daniel Romano’s Come Cry With Me.)
Deer Tick – Negativity
Deer Tick’s Negativity makes a nice listening companion for the Deep Dark Woods’ Jubilee, blending well with that band’s new sound. The album opens with The Rock, starting quietly before growing into full burn drum heavy rock and roll. It pretty much stays that way throughout, not slowing down until near the end.
For fans of the band there’s not much surprising here. What’s here is good though, and if you’ve never heard Deer Tick this is a good place to start. Standout tracks include Mr. Sticks, The Curtain, and Pot of Gold (with an opening riff that would be perfectly at home on a Zeppelin or Crazy Horse album.) Label this one Americana – Hard. If you were listening to the radio in the late 70s and liking what you heard there’s a good chance Negativity is for you.
Negativity is available for sale on iTunes.