Beneath Your Garden Window

I took this last night. I really loved how it turned out until I was able to see it on a large computer monitor. Really hope that the next generation of mobile phone cameras handle low light much better than what we currently have.

I’d like to shed a little spotlight on what I feel is among the most under-appreciated albums of 2011. The lack of recognition it’s receiving is almost criminal. Granted, it’s from a relatively new band writing music in a genre isn’t necessarily easy to define but I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since it came out in November and the fact that few people are still talking about it sucks.

O’Brother – Garden Window

This summer, I was at The House Cafe in DeKalb to see The Dear Hunter. The House is a great venue and is run by awesome people who love to support underground music no matter how loud or terrible (hello every “hardcore” show from 2005 to the “easycore” revolution of the late 2000’s), and The Dear Hunter is one of my favorite bands.

The Dear Hunter is the odd man out in my music tastes. They aren’t a hyper aggressive wall of sound, but a progressive rock outfit who’s talent is not done justice by this sentence. However, the fan-base of The Dear Hunter has the worst taste in music, and the bands that The Dear Hunter typically appears with cater to that base of people. Therefore, my plan was to get my hand stamped and get down on burritos and homework for a few hours and then head back to watch TDH.

However, when I got inside (is it OK to brag about guest list spots on a blog hardly anyone reads?) I was met with the captivating sonic assault known as O’Brother. O’Brother is a heavy, heavy band. They are also melodic, and soft and intricate in a way that is entirely different than bands that wear their technical or progressive monikers proudly. Dynamic is the best way that I can describe their music: it rises and falls, it builds and crescendos and has no easy way out. They are real musicians, writing real music.

I’ve been playing and listening to music for a long time now, and it’s really easy to feel which parts a band has phoned in when it comes across the speaker. It’s excusable and forgivable a lot of times when you like the band, and it’s just a bum track, but it’s noticeable. Some bands do an admirable of hiding it, but it’s not difficult to pick it out. O’Brother has a pretty long LP here that doesn’t suffer from that problem, it ebbs and flows and gets pretty ambient at times, but it never feels like they were just lost or had no idea how to get from A to B.

Perhaps my favorite thing about O’Brother and this record is that it does something that I have been thinking about for a long time now. Pelican is heavy, and they like to take advantage of the major scale and for the most part it comes off very nicely. O’Brother’s dynamic sound often incorporates a lot of these elements. A lot of the most intense parts of this record aren’t minor scale, dark sounding but powerful and swelling in a way that I am not entirely used to. It’s really addicting.

This song illustrates just about everything I love about the band and this record. If you’re into it, check it out. They just released the CD and 2xLP at the release show last week.

Photo by Alex Gibbs, he does awesome work. Check him out.

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