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Author Topic: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations  (Read 97456 times)

rynne

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Request for musical knowlege, plz.

What I'm looking for:  American roots music or roots music-based bands writing dark, narrative songs.  Currently active artists are good; even better would be older recordings musicians who influenced today's bands.

What I'm not necessarily looking for: general recommendations for freak-folk, psych-folk, anti-folk.  I've seen the other threads for general folk music, and most (but not all!) aren't necessarily what I'm interested in.


This is a relatively specific request, I'm looking for albums that fit both a general musical category and a certain mood.  In fits and starts, I've been getting interested in American roots music: folk, especially the Appalachian vein; bluegrass; country; blues; etc.  And the ones that appeal to me most are the really dark ones, the ones revolving around death, dread, man's suffering at the hands of God/nature/women/other men and so on.  Here are some albums for reference:

Angels of Light - New Mother, We Are Him
Bonnie Prince Billy - I See a Darkness
Six Organs of Admittance - Shelter from the Ash
Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska
Jim White - The Mysterious Tale of How I Shouted Wrong-Eyed Jesus

Some of Devendra Banhart's more dreadful songs would fall into this category, but most of his work doesn't.  I'm sure some of Nick Cave's albums would fit, but I haven't yet gotten around to exploring his catalog, so suggest away with Bad Seeds stuff (I like Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! but it’s more rock-oriented than what I'm looking for here).  Ditto for Will Oldham's Palace records.  Current 93, Death in June, Sol Invictus and similar esoteric bands fit the mood I want, but I'd like something based more in traditional American musical forms than European ones.

Cheers! and thanks.
« Last Edit: 09 Sep 2008, 09:01 by rynne »
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #1 on: 09 Sep 2008, 10:52 »

Elliott Brood.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #2 on: 09 Sep 2008, 11:13 »

Uhhmmm, Red House Painters?
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #3 on: 09 Sep 2008, 11:47 »

I can absolutely and unequivocally recommend Wovenhand. Dark, brooding, swampy, Southern Gothic music. It's all around awesome.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #4 on: 09 Sep 2008, 11:53 »

The obvious answer would be Sixteen Horsepower.  Also Rex.

And there was a local band here that put out a couple albums called Blackgrass.  I'll try and get the one I have in the mediafire thread after work, it's amazing.
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rynne

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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #5 on: 09 Sep 2008, 12:17 »

Thanks for the replies!  Comments on what's been suggested so far:

16 Horsepower, Woven Hand: yes, yes, yes.  This is exactly the kind of music I was looking for.  I remember seeing a 16 Horsepower video a long time ago and thinking it was cool, but they got lost in the shuffle and I forgot about them.  Woven Hand is the new project of their singer?  I will definitely be checking both of those bands out.

Elliot Brood: Some of the songs are a bit more upbeat than I was aiming for, but I like it.  From what I can find on YouTube, "Second Son" and "President 35" are great.

Red House Painters: Mmm... nice but too much mellow indie influence.  I kinda want a band that sounds like a Cormac McCarthy novel reads.

Rex: I can't find anything?  Googling "Rex" or searching on YouTube brings up too many bands that are obviously not the one you're talking about.
« Last Edit: 09 Sep 2008, 12:21 by rynne »
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #6 on: 09 Sep 2008, 12:25 »

I also suggest Vic Chestnut (a truly amazing singer/songwriter and a wonderful performer to boot). Listen to the album "North Star Deserter."
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #7 on: 09 Sep 2008, 12:30 »

PHOSPHORESCENT. Close thread now.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #8 on: 09 Sep 2008, 12:40 »

Red House Painters: Mmm... nice but too much mellow indie influence.  I kinda want a band that sounds like a Cormac McCarthy novel reads.

Hmm, even his early stuff like Down Colorful Hill?  Initially, I was just making a guess.
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rynne

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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #9 on: 09 Sep 2008, 13:34 »

Sorry, from what I could ferret out, it doesn't strike me as what I was looking for.  It wasn't a bad suggestion, they just don't fit in to what I'm craving right now, you know? 

Admittedly, I'm having a bit of difficultly describing the sound in words: it's almost an I'll-know-it-when-I-hear-it situation.  I figured saying "This appeals to me, that doesn't" was as good a way as any of conveying the qualities I was interested in.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #10 on: 09 Sep 2008, 13:44 »

O'death? Anyone?

"Down to Rest"

"Nathaniel"

They did a Take Away Show for La Blogotheque a while back, too! Here's a clip of that: "Only Daughter"

Also: I'm not sure how well this fits, but it's Nick Cave and certainly very guttural "Deep in the Woods"

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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #11 on: 09 Sep 2008, 14:10 »

Munly. No question about it. Listen to any of his songs and you'll understand.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #12 on: 09 Sep 2008, 14:27 »

Yeah, O'Death is a good recommendation, although they're a lot better live than they are on record.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #13 on: 09 Sep 2008, 14:39 »

Smoke Fairies? I'm pretty sure it's not 100% what you want but I thought I'd just throw it out there.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #14 on: 09 Sep 2008, 15:09 »

I also suggest Vic Chestnut (a truly amazing singer/songwriter and a wonderful performer to boot). Listen to the album "North Star Deserter."

Oh man if this is the stuff he is looking for I am going to be all over Dark Americana.

Seriously Vic is so great.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #15 on: 09 Sep 2008, 15:14 »

i second the recommendation for O' Death
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #16 on: 09 Sep 2008, 15:48 »

For what you're looking for, the Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album to start with should probably be From Her to Eternity - just ignore the In the Ghetto cover -  or possibly Your Funeral...My Trial. Dramatic, theatralic stuff. Tender Prey also fit the bill.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #17 on: 09 Sep 2008, 17:30 »

I've been on this hunt for several years myself. I'd recommend Freakwater, The Handsome Family, The Roe Family Singers, Gillian Welch (her first couple albums anyway), Jim White's "Wrong Eyed Jesus", Johnny Dowd's early records, Blanche's "If We Can't Trust the Doctors", Adult Rodeo, Sons of Perdition, Baptist Generals, Trailer Bride, The Builders & the Butchers, early Iron & Wine (first  two), Sean Garrison's "Saved By the Great Yellow Bird",  Those Poor Bastards.

Also check out the amazing film "Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus". It's basically all about the soul of the South framed around the musical genre you've brought up.

Also, to self promote a bit, my own band: http://www.thevictormourning.com

We should have an EP out by the end of the year, and are very much in the vein you describe.


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arkansawyer

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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #18 on: 09 Sep 2008, 17:37 »

Oh, yeah, and you asked for some of the "forefathers".

Buffy Sainte-Marie (especially "Cod'ine), Townes Van Zandt, Ralph Stanley, Dylan's "Ballad of Hollis Brown" and "One More Cup of Coffee", Richard & Mimi Farina "Bold Marauder" and "Blood Red Roses".

And check out this compilation:

http://www.peopletakewarning.com/

And one more modern one: Alasdair Roberts "No Earthly Man", sheer piece of genius. His version of "The Cruel Mother" nails me to the wall every time.

Jeez,  I could go on like this all night. Heh.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #19 on: 09 Sep 2008, 18:07 »

Here is apparently the only music video that Rex have, from their third album.  Their first album, which is self-titled, is the best imo.  It's on Southern records and their drummer was Doug Scharin, who was also in Codeine, June of 44, and later formed the awesome dub-post-jazz-rock band HiM.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdAuo6sgsFg
« Last Edit: 09 Sep 2008, 18:10 by zerodrone »
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #20 on: 09 Sep 2008, 18:46 »

A good answer to this query is "The Anthology of American Folk Music"

some other answers:
The Handsome Family, William Elliott Whitmore, recent Tom Waits albums

less relevant (happier, less narrative-y) but maybe worth checking out:
Scout Niblett, Jolie Holland, The Be Good Tanyas, Old Crow Medicine Show
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Helryne

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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #21 on: 10 Sep 2008, 02:17 »

I've got a couple of suggestions that may, or may not, be helpful.

Anything by:

The Spectral Light and Moonshine Firefly Snakeoil Jamboree

or

Stone Breath

Anything on:

the "Dark Holler" label


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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #22 on: 10 Sep 2008, 04:42 »

Best suggestion i can come up with is "Bubblegum" by Mark Lanegan Band

Being English the term Americana has always been a bit of a mystery as to what exactly it means but this album is dark and bluesy and Lanegan has one of the best whiskey-soaked voices in rock, imo.
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rynne

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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #23 on: 10 Sep 2008, 06:50 »

Thanks again to everyone who replied.  I haven't checked out every suggestion yet, but in addition to the ones I mentioned earlier, I really like Munly (excellent recommendation!), O'death, The Handsome Family, Smoke Fairies, and Stone Breath.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #24 on: 10 Sep 2008, 07:04 »

Woo! Finally someone else jumps on the Munly bandwagon. Together we'll speak those words hard.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #25 on: 10 Sep 2008, 12:52 »

Oh oh oh.

LIFT TO EXPERIENCE

For serious.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #26 on: 12 Sep 2008, 03:16 »

Brightblack Morning Light- Motion to Rejoin
Espers - The Weed Tree
Espers - II
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #27 on: 12 Sep 2008, 09:30 »

Oh and I think that Black Heart Procession is probably exactly what you're looking for (their first three albums anyway).
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rynne

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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #28 on: 13 Sep 2008, 09:53 »

Sweet, more stuff to check out!  Again, much thanks.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #29 on: 13 Sep 2008, 19:39 »

Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores.

Particularly "Queen of the Wires" on that site.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #30 on: 13 Sep 2008, 21:10 »

Oh man I was just going to mention Redfearn. His earlier stuff, though - the new albums is a bit too... poppy.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #31 on: 29 Sep 2008, 19:43 »

Hey sorry to bump the thread but I just listened to the new Horse Feathers and liek you totally have to get this album dudez. It's Iron and Wine stripped alllll the way down, and the singer has an addictively spooky voice.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #32 on: 29 Sep 2008, 20:42 »

Going back a few decades - like, to the 1920s - you might want to check out Blind Willie Johnson. A great, great gospel/blues singer & guitarist.

"John the Revelator"

"Trouble Soon Be Over"

"Nobody's Fault But Mine"

"Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #33 on: 29 Sep 2008, 20:47 »

guys Wovenhand is playing next month in a really small intimate living-room sized venue in knoxville

srsly
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #34 on: 30 Sep 2008, 13:26 »

Those Poor Bastards is excellent.  Like, if a rockabilly singer went faithfully deathcountry.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #35 on: 30 Sep 2008, 14:42 »

Mark Lanegan is the shit.  The stuff he did with Isobel Cambell might be perfect for what you're looking for.

If you can make it to an O'Death show, do it.  They're amazing live.  Alec K. Redfearn's live shows are boss as well.

Gary Higgins might not fall directly into this thread but he's amazing so he's worth mentioning.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #36 on: 30 Sep 2008, 14:58 »

guys Wovenhand is playing next month in a really small intimate living-room sized venue in knoxville

srsly


Their new album is pretty solid, they also sound a lot like GANGgajang.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #37 on: 30 Sep 2008, 16:11 »

Grant Lee Buffalo.

I joined just to say that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5Ww8TiuqJ4
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #38 on: 01 Oct 2008, 11:20 »

a bit of a stretch, but calexico might possible appeal to you?  i've only heard their two most recent albums though - "garden ruin" and "carried to dust," the latter being the marginally better of the two.

and as for nick cave, get the firstborn is dead (as "tupelo" is the dictionary definition of "epic"), and my personal favourite "let love in" (which is probably his most varied).
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #39 on: 06 Oct 2008, 07:54 »

This may be a little upbeat, although the lyrics are pretty dark and definitely Southern Gothic, but I have to recommend Iron & Wine.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #40 on: 26 Aug 2013, 14:43 »

RE: Request for musical knowlege, plz.

There's a lot more of this style of music around now than there was a few years back but it's still quite underground. Check out the Muddy Roots Festival, Farmaggedon Festival. Also Frontman Records is run by Big John Bates who has a band calling themselves Canadiana Noir. Check out their YouTube stuff; awesome female singer. 

TS
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #41 on: 19 Sep 2013, 17:36 »

It is kind of funny but if you google "Frocky Jack" you find a lot to suggest there was a s gothic band called this. But all of our musics vaporized into intern0ts. Also the history of "Frocky Jack Morgan" is pretty hardcore.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #42 on: 19 Sep 2013, 22:10 »

This, after the folk thread, is now my second favourite thread.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #43 on: 20 Sep 2013, 09:59 »

Try out Brown Bird.

Also, fundraiser for Brown Bird lead singer, who discovered he had leukemia while on tour...  http://www.youcaring.com/brownbirdhelp
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #44 on: 23 Mar 2014, 23:46 »

many years after this thread was started but you should check out Chaos of Birds.  They are exactly what you are looking for.  I don't know if they have anything out, but tons of stuff on youtube and bandcamp.
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #45 on: 11 May 2014, 05:24 »

No, no and no ! All these suggestions simply don't fit the description of what our friend rynne is (was) looking for ><'
But you know what ? Six long years after this thread was started, I have the answer, yes that's right ;)

So, rynne if you're still there somewhere, you said you were looking for something that would sound like a Cormac McCarthy novel. Well, there it is, I invite you to check these two bands : 1) U.S. Christmas, their album "Eat the Low Dogs" (Their best IMO)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdTCUgkQFKg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJTYnb2_YN8

In addition, there's an interview of the guitarist/singer : http://nightseminar.blogspot.be/2009/09/interview-with-nathan-hall-u-s.html
Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian is mentioned ;)

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the Nate Hall solo album "A Great River"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyPfAnTR0GQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hssyoOysekA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBxZdzh7mMg

2) Across Tundras (T.G. Olson's band) : "Blood Meridian For Electric Drone Guitar" - an acid western musical interpretation of Cormac McCarthy's violent masterpiece. Check it out :

https://acrosstundras.bandcamp.com/album/the-complete-blood-meridian-for-electric-drone-guitar

That's it, hope you'll find this interesting

regards

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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #46 on: 20 Mar 2015, 11:06 »

Oh sweet, something I'm currently learning about.

I've got two suggestions for you, each on the opposite end of the spectrum.

One's Delta Rae - Bottom of the River: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bimam2j2gEg Heavy beat, soulful, conjures up that dark spirit image.

Schatzi and the String Boffin - Creek Don't Rise: https://soundcloud.com/schatziboffin/creek-dont-rise Bit more melodic, still kind of atmospheric but not quite as heavy a beat. Still pretty cool though, they played with Sam Bush for a bit.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #47 on: 16 May 2015, 03:48 »

Really enjoyed most of the suggestions on this thread. You may want to check out the Road Miles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk0-GyxdFJQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFPL9WGZ2T8

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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #48 on: 17 Jul 2015, 11:05 »

Some of Ray Wylie Hubbard's stuff is pretty dark and spooky.

He's kindof a fan of Edgar Allen Poe.



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Re: Dark Americana / Southern Gothic recommendations
« Reply #49 on: 23 Jul 2015, 09:28 »

This thread introduced me to o'death and I am happy about that.
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