My favorite new record is probably Alasdair Roberts' eighth solo album for Drag City. It's called Alasdair Roberts so that no one will ever be confused who it is by, and it came out last week and it's really beautiful and Roberts wrote all the songs and I'll soon review it. The first video from the album was just released and it's definitely nifty. It's almost twee, but not quite. I'm especially glad that the record is as stripped-down and compelling as it is, because his previous record was a bit disappointing.
Roberts is such a strong artist working in the British Isles trad folk tradition that he brings to mind talents as strong as Martin Carthy, Anne Briggs, or even Nic Jones — this comparison partly being made because Roberts has recorded his own arrangements of traditional songs. But, really, it's difficult to make any comparisons.
So much contemporary folk music is just one steaming pile after another, but Roberts is such a strong exception it's difficult for me to write about him without resorting to hyperbole... Well, further hyperbole, anyway.
Metro Times music editor Mike McGonigal has written about music since 1984, when he started the fanzine Chemical Imbalance at age sixteen with money saved from mowing lawns in Florida. He's since written for Spin, Pitchfork, the Village VOICE and Artforum. He's been a museum guard, a financial reporter, a bicycle...