Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A couple of new bands

Here are a couple of Arkansas bands that I like.

The first is Hannah Blaylock and Eden's Edge. This is a bluegrass band that reminds me a lot of Alison Krauss, except that Blaylock's voice is a bit less breathy. Their main website is here and their MySpace page is here. They won a 2008 Independent Music Award in the Americana category.

The second band is Deas Vail, whose lead singer is Wes Blaylock (Hannah's brother). Their MySpace page is here. They are a progressive rock band with lots of hook-filled melodies. Wes Blaylock has a high, sweet tenor voice, and uses falsetto a good bit (the sound reminds me of Copeland). You can listen to the whole album here.

One review:
The guitars are perfectly understated for the overall tone and atmosphere of the album, allowing the piano and vocals to radiate throughout, making this album elegantly proportioned musically. Deas Vail has created one of the most captivating album that I've listened to in a long time. It allows you to feel, to contemplate, to realize.Wes Blaylock's voice is astounding. It's almost ethereal at times but never so much that its delicacy is overtaken by the instruments. His classical vocal training allows his falsetto voice to fit perfectly among the collective sound of the instruments.
There are only a few artists who I feel truly privileged to have stumbled upon, and Deas Vail (read: day-ahs-vale) is one of them. Although they are a relatively young band and have just released their first full-length album, All the Houses Look the Same, earlier this year, they seem to effortlessly make music that is original and accessible and interesting. Their brand of indie rock breaks away from the norm because of the ambient instrumentation and "nursery rhyme-ish" melody lines (as leader singer Wes says); they manage to avoid excessive use of heavy guitars in favor of melodic pianos and synths. The song structures on this album defy traditional rock formulas, which sometimes makes it difficult to grasp onto the hooks or choruses of their music at first listen. However, I consider this to be a good thing, because after a few listens, one begins to appreciate the complexity of their instrumentation and lyrics; there are consistently new things to discover, which keeps Deas Vail's music far from being boring.
Here is a lengthy interview with the band.

Here's a video:


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