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Listening

Another Word for Fiddlesticks

A new album from Horse Feathers proves their potential, while echoing Elliott Smith, whose presence is still missed.

Nearly every day another part of my adolescent self is beaten into further submission. Where vitriol and bombast once reigned, now softness and grace are slipping in. This has been hastened by the recent resurgence in the popularity of folk music, now called "indie folk," so we don't confuse it with all the popular mainstream folk acts winning VMAs and such. With artists like M. Ward, the Mountain Goats, and Fleet Foxes producing interesting, mildly twisted melodies stripped of all studio sweeteners, nakedly presenting every whisper or guitar-string scrape for their audience to catch, it's plain to see the next great folk age is upon us--even if Zach fucking Braff did have a hand in its revival, even modestly, for putting Iron & Wine on his stupid "voice of a generation" movie's excellent soundtrack.

Ounce for folksy ounce, all of those praiseworthy bands may get blown out of the water by Horse Feathers, whose second potential-proving album, House With No Home, was released on Sept. 9. This is the band's first album on the Kill Rock Stars label, which many of us remember primarily for featuring Elliott Smith, may he rest in peace. Horse Feathers's spare arrangements and singer Justin Ringle's truly envy-inducing voice echo that irreplaceably lost troubadour's style and talent; though, like their band's name, they skew a bit more country-westernish. The first single of the album, "Cur in the Weeds," would be great with just the voice and guitar, but the string parts are so perfectly played and accommodating that the result is something even better than great.
biopic

TMN Editor Erik Bryan is living the dream. He grew up in Florida, but he’s from all over. He likes playing chess, making cocktails, smarting off, and not freezing to death in Brooklyn, where he currently resides. More by Erik Bryan

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