Archive for just once

Album Review: DM Stith, Heavy Ghost

Posted in Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on Friday, March 13, 2009 by Erik Burg

Entrenched with a musical background, DM Stith had shut music out of his like for some 20 years. Refusing to sing at age of 8 for the next two decades, Stith instead tried focusing on visual arts and writing. An attempted novel in college, along with a children’s book written and illustrated by himself, had failed. Leaving Stith with few options other than to return to the life he seems almost destined for.

heavy20ghost

With the release of his first full length album, which he began writing and recording while helping friend Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond record Bring Me the Workhorse, Stith attempts to accomplish through song what he has been wrestling with for years: “I’ve been really fascinated by some ideas about the functioning dichotomies of the mind, The crux of this idea… is that these different selves, these voices that influence the way we behave, these bundles of memory and self-protection, are things we can’t rid ourselves of.” This idea shows through in his music as well, undoubtedly so. The twelve track LP, entitled Heavy Ghost, clearly illustrates the kind of beauty and unexpectedness that Stith seeks in life. The album is littered with eclectic instrumentals, yet is grounded in the piano and strings. His vocals create stunning landscapes that match the almost ebb and flow that the album has. Flooding the listeners with tense strings, tribal percussion, and nervous piano, DM Stith is able to captivate the listeners each and every song.

It’s admittedly hard for me to try and write a solid review for this album because it’s so tightly knit. The instruments are bound to the vocals, and vice versa. Each track remains its own, but the album actually feels like an album. The patterns and repetition used throughout keeps the listener in the moment, never allowing you to become lazy or bored. Though Stith remarks about the album title that “Ghost, for me was a metaphor, not mysticism,” the piano keys seem to be a way for Stith to release his inner ghosts. It’s truly an amazing album. Heavy Ghost never lets up either, all the way through its final track “Wig,” DM Stith is able to make his formula work.

And lucky for you, if you haven’t heard any of DM Stith’s album yet, you can stream the entire thing over at Muxtape right now, I’ll post the link below. Interested in some of his other works as well? Two brilliant EPs were released before Heavy Ghost and you can find them on his website as well, below is an mp3 of the breathtaking “Just Once” off of the Curtain Speech EP. Check out his Flickr account as well.

DM Stith – Heavy Ghost 8.5 out of 10

STREAM HEAVY GHOST FOR FREE

MP3: DM Stith – “Just Once” off of the Curtain Speech EP

New Releases From Asthmatic Kitty

Posted in Audio, Downloads, Music News, Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, February 5, 2009 by Erik Burg

asthmatickittylogoAshtmatic Kitty has been on a role lately. The record label, run by indie-glorified Sufjan Stevens, has been busy with releases in early ’09 and late ’08, and has managed to curate tons of attention with the release of two rising artists. The Welcome Wagon and DM Stith are those two acts, gaining attention at rapidly increasing rates. And for good reason, whether it’s the almost quirky nature of their music, the comfortability that each offer, or the familiarity that oozes from each track. 

Let’s dive into The Welcome Wagon first. The Husband (Thomas) and Wife (Monique) duo deliver multi-instrumental music that is heavenly in more than one sense. Many of the lyrics and ideas expressed in the tracks draw upon biblical references and experiences, while not pushing any values upon the listener. The actual musical production draws upon many of the aspects of arrangement and production that has made Sufjan so popular. From the occasional banjo to the simple piano and back again with the well recognizable horn section. The first single, entitled “Sold! To The Nice Rich Man,” from their debut album Welcome to The Welcome Wagon is their most polished and well rounded cut. It offers the widest variety of the couple’s skills. Encompassing all of the aspects that I just mentioned, the horns drive the chorus, the keys lead into the track, and the vocals fill up the track much a choir in a church. The feel of the entire album is expansive, but like I said, it feels incredibly comfortable at the same time. Deserving of a huge 2009, The Welcome Wagon is one of my favorite new artists and I’d highly encourage any fan of Sufjan’s catalogue or label to check these two out. 

mp3: The Welcome Wagon – “Sold! To The Nice Rich Man”

DM Stith. With a name like that it’s kind of hard to know what to expect, but with a background filled with musical education and family lineage that bolsters the same thing the hopes were high for this former writer. Stith’s first single, “Just Once,” off of the Curtain Speech EP is a seven minute roller coaster ride through a dream-like landscape of repetitive and revealing lyrics and echoing guitars. “Just once, I could love you just once” Stith sings throughout. The music, is incredible. I know I hype pretty much everything I write about, but this is another one of those tracks that re-invigorates my love for music and makes me simply feeling happy at the end. Best described as a hi-fi version of The Microphones, Stith plays with various guitar chords layered together and eerie sounds running throughout the track, giving it the feel that The Glow pt. 2 gave me the first time I heard it. 

mp3: DM Stith – “Just Once”

So if you’re looking around for some great new music look no further. Fans of past Asthmatic Kitty releases will love and probably already heard these tracks, but those new to the game need to get schooled on these new artists. And fast! 

Dig Deeper: Asthmatic Kitty   DM Stith   The Welcome Wagon