Carolina folk/psych troubadors, Megafaun have released a new EP. Heretofore, out today, September 14th, is being released as a means to hold us all over while they finish their full-length follow up to 2009’s Gather, Form & Fly. After a few listens, I can tell you that it most certainly will keep me on the hook for whatever they have in store.
The record opens with the title track, a trippy invocation to the band’s overall sound. The vocals come almost as a chant while swirls of effects and found sounds ride above a muted kickdrum. Next comes a straight ahead country-fied rocker entitled, “Carolina Days”. Phil Cook (guitar, banjo, etc) has called this a “love song to Durham, North Carolina.” Durham should be flattered.
“Eagle”, a slower shuffling song, follows with a bluesy acoustic guitar and a manic breakdown in the middle that I absolutely love. Here’s where that psych thing kicks in. This one is sung by the drummer, Joe Westerlund, and does not fail to deliver. Check out this live version from Cleveland, Ohio in April 2010:
[youtube width=”640″ height=”385″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8s4mipvgiY&hd=1[/youtube]
“Volunteers” is a gorgeous song from Brad Cook that positively melts me. Check out this snippet from the first verse:
love won’t compensate
for all the things we never say
and all the things we should
Lyrics like those and an infectious, sorrowful melody put one in a mind of a sunset singalong and make this- possibly- my favorite on this album. But I don’t like to name favorites. Besides, I wouldn’t want to slight “Comprovisation For Connor Pass”, a nine-minute part-composed, part-improvised (thus the name) opus. This piece showcases their strong ensemble instrumentation of the group and makes me look forward to seeing them on stage again (although they are done touring for the year!)
“Comprovisation” leaves us with the old timey sounds of “Bonnie’s Song”, and it is a lovely coda to the EP. This cut features a prime example of the group’s stellar vocal harmonies as well as their willingness to add a little something extra to what might otherwise pass as straight ahead folk music.
Like any good EP, Heretofore leaves you wanting more. Fortunately, more has been promised in the form of an album to be recorded during the remainder of the year. Of course they’ll have to fit it in between the upcoming Gayngs tour (which will feature Brad & Joe) as well as the Duke Performances commision to recreate songs from Alan Lomax’s field recordings (a project that includes Justin Vernon and Sharon Van Etten) at a series of concerts later this week.
So I’ll leave you now with the urging to check out this great record right after you enjoy this excellent performance of “Volunteers”:
[youtube width=”640″ height=”385″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XasypmjYIzU&hd=1[/youtube]
An additional note: You can get the album directly from their label, Home Tapes and I’d encourage you to do so. Last time I dealt with them, their customer service was excellent and, honestly, I’ve been finding more and more great stuff on their site making Home Tapes on of my favorite independent record labels (and yeah, I mean RECORDS.)