Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Damien Jurado

OK... so it's autumn... school's back in session. September and October are traditionally chock full of hot new releases to coincide with band's fall tours and festival season. And I'll get to what's been hot-slash-cool over the last couple of months and what's coming up... soon.

But first, one of my new pet projects is to start spotlighting artists that are favourites of mine... especially ones that seem to always be drifting just under the radar.

First up Damien Jurado

From his debut, Waters Ave. S. on Sub Pop in 1997 to last year's Caught in the Trees on Secretly Canadian, Jurado has released eight full length albums and more than a handful of cool singles and e.p.s. Waters Ave. S. was a mostly gentle and downbeat singer/songwriter affair that sat easily alongside Elliott Smith with it's easy lyricism and hushed heart-on-sleeve delivery. A couple of albums later, with I Break Chairs (Sub Pop, 2002), he amped things up with a full band and rocked out in a Springteen/Nebraska kinda way. Switching over to Secretly Canadian in 2003, he released Where Shall You Take Me?, probably the most generic of his albums. From that point on the next three albums have been incredibly solid and and moving. There is a small town Midwest feel to his songwriting that often focuses on the after effects of violence and identifies with the villains and their fated lives. His band crystallized to it's current three piece incarnation over these last three albums as well. Eric Fisher has been a longtime collaborator and brings a great arranger's ear (there is a powerfully understated use of both organ and guitar drone to create tension on most of his albums). Jenna Conrad on bass and backing vocals has been a strong presence for some time, but especially on last year's Caught in the Trees where her vocals are under almost all of Jurado's, giving an extra layer of richness and warmth.

Here is a short four track mix of songs from albums now available instore... and for special order if we happen to run out:

.mp3 15 minutes, 12 seconds
20.9 MB

(1) What Were the Chances from And Now That I'm in Your Shadow (2006)

(2) Like Titanic from I Break Chairs (2002)

(3) I Am the Mountain from On My Way to Absence (2005)

(4) Last Rights from Caught in the Trees (2008)

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