Vox Hunt: Show us the best album (new or old) that you’ve bought this year.
Three candidates come to mind, but—today, anyway—I’d have to go with Emotionalism, the new album from the Avett Brothers. The Avett Brothers are a sort of bluegrass-meets-punk-meets-folk-meets-rock band from North Carolina. I’ve been a fan for awhile, and I’ve seen them in concert a couple of times. But I just wasn’t prepared for Emotionalism, which—in my opinion, anyway—is now the band’s best album. The songs on Emotionalism are musically refined, with a spare sound produced almost entirely by the banjo, guitar, bass, and twangy vocals. There’s a lot of variety on the album, too, with sounds ranging from alt-country to quasi-contemporary folk to something that might’ve found a home on a 1960 album of brother harmonies. The lyrics on Emotionalism often have a definite punk vibe, and I certainly appreciate the delicious incongruity of the pretty sounds with the not-necessarily-so-pretty words. Take, for instance, these lyrics from “Shame”:
Shame, boatloads of shame
Day after day, more of the same
Blame, please lift it off
Please take it off, please make it stop
Every day, I fall for a different song on Emotionalism. How often can you say that about an album?
For what it’s worth, I’m also listening a lot to two Canadian albums right now: Great Lake Swimmers‘ Ongiara (listen here to my favorite song, “Your Rocky Spine,” and other GLS songs) and Royal Wood‘s A Good Enough Day (listen here, especially to “A Mirror Without”).