WILLONA ON WAX: Heartbreak and Poetry

New Vinyl

Ben Howard
I Forget Where We Were

BEN_HOWARD_UMGI_Vinyl-12_Gatefold_6mmSpine_OUT.inddBritish singer/songwriter Ben Howard’s second full-length album, I Forget Where We Were, is a melancholy and musically-complex record. Howard experiments with tones and effects on each intricately crafted song. Instrumentally the work here is advanced and emotional, and Howard’s poetic lyrics add texture and depth.

The album opens with “Small Things,” featuring an electric slide-guitar melody that sounds like the reverberating echo in the chambers of Howard’s broken heart. My two favorite songs don’t come until Side D: The head-bobber “Conrad” and “All Is Now Harmed,” which gathers the energy of the album’s upbeat tunes and soars with India Bourne’s angelic backing vocals.

Although it wasn’t, Howard’s album feels like it was arranged specifically for vinyl because each side of the double LP ends on a dramatic note. The vinyl release even includes a bonus final track: “Am I In Your Light?”

My recommendation: Get the album and a bottle of red wine.

“Small Things” (live acoustic version)

Packaging: Double LP. Strangely uninspiring artwork. Lyrics are included. Digital download code included.

Where to Get It: Order the limited edition vinyl from here.


Vintage Vinyl

Moss Icon
Moss Icon – Complete Discography (reissue)
Temporary Residence

moss iconI found out about this Moss Icon reissue (which came in 2012) by accident. I was giving an old, double LP by Explosions in the Sky one more chance to wow me (it didn’t) when I pulled out the tiny little booklet advertising the Temporary Residence catalog. I couldn’t believe that one of my favorite band’s slender collection had been reissued on vinyl.

Hailing from Annapolis, MD, Moss Icon’s schizophrenically emo, art rock, post-hardcore sound gained a following in the D.C. scene, where they played alongside dischord bands like Fugazi, Soulside and Ignition during the late 1980s and early 1990s, but they only released fewer than 20 songs.

Moss Icon’s music is something of a performance art piece. Jonathan Vance mixes guttural vocals with esoteric musings. My favorite is the 11-minute epic “Lyburnum – Wit’s End (Liberation Fly),” which begins as gloomy as an early morning funeral and builds to an emotionally climatic ending.

I’ll admit that in some ways Moss Icon’s sound is stuck in time, but it takes me back to a place I like to visit.

Bonus: Moss Icon is playing a few reunion shows in December in D.C. and New York.

Packaging: Triple LP. The cover art is the same as the original releases and there is a customized etching on the sixth side. Digital download code included.

Where to Get It: You can order the album from Temporary Residence.

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