There are some things which are simply beyond words. You’ll understand when you hear LP’s magnificently full voice resonating as she strips Lead Belly’s “In The Pines” down to its rawest fury. I haven’t been literally forced back in my seat by a voice since I first heard John Jacob Niles sing. The whole solo ukelele thing is so played out, I wanted to say, but that voice! I can’t stop listening to it. If the rest of her Into The Wild: Live at EastWest Studios album is as good as this, I may just have to be committed to an asylum where it’s just me and that voice. Excuse me while I listen again a few more times. Listen below yourself, and you’ll know why I can’t help myself!
These five tracks showcase a band fully focused on crafting songs which resonate, and they’re doing it fully on their own terms. All this makes for a Daniel and the Lion half-album worthy of some serious goddamned exposure.
Daniel and the Lion – “Death Head (Side A)” (2012, Independent)
I wrote about these guys back in September when they were promoting their last album, Sweet Teeth, which featured “The Chase” and “Horses,” two of my favorite alt-country tracks of the last year. Now they’re back and the five songs on Side A of Death Head up the ante something fierce. This is Adam Duritz meeting up with a more sonically adventurous version of the Fray, with the radiating pop-rock hooks of early John Mayer. In other words, nothing to be messed with!
“Death Head” opens with two minutes of hand-clap infused folk-pop with touches of Ryan Adams as Daniel Pingrey sings: “Lately he sleeps with us at night with his scythe in my mind. She says it’s nothing, go to bed — but there’s no sleeping with death head.” But it’s with “Flash Flood” that Pingrey and Company lay it all on the line. The melody is a deliciously delicate acoustic and drums combo echoing Will Hoge at his best. “The good sinks to the bottom and the lies come floating back,” Pingrey sings. “Everything is nothing, and we’re somewhere in between.”
These five tracks showcase a band fully focused on crafting songs which resonate, and they’re doing it fully on their own terms. All this makes for a Daniel and the Lion half-album worthy of some serious goddamned exposure. September can’t come soon enough for this listener, who’s already dreaming of Side B. One can rest assured, however, that the wait will be worth it. I called them Artists to Watch in Sepember, and they’ve more than lived up to the billing. Death Head (Side A) is an indie alt-folk keeper!