Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Long Winters - Putting the Days To Bed

The Long Winters
Putting the Days To Bed
Barsuk

I forget where I first heard about The Long Winters. I feel like I saw a poster of their's in Other Music, my record store of choice. Hey, see there, design does work.
Or maybe it was a flyer for an in-store performance. Either way, they stuck in my head and I recently decided to buy their latest full length Putting the Days To Bed. I'm glad that poster, or whatever it was, got my attention.

Putting the Days To Bed has been one of those slow-burn albums for me. You know, the ones where you like it at first, but don't think much of it. But then it grows on you and you really start enjoying it. It was like that with The National's Alligator which seems absolutely insane to me in hindsight, knowing how much I love that album now. Anyway. So now I'm really into this album. It's a nice mix. A little Wrens, a little Shins and a bit of Band of Horses. No, they don't sound like any of them outright, but if you have any of those in your Pioneer six-disc cd changer, you should probably make room in there for this one.

Stand out tracks include "Sky Is Open." The chorus in this one is where I got the Band of Horses thing above. It's like BoH minus all the reverb. "Clouds" is a nice lo-fi number, all restrained percussion and acoustic guitars, and heck, throw in a banjo for good measure. Then comes "Rich Wife" which, in my opinion, is a deadringer for The Wrens. And that's a good thing as I love me some Wrens. On the last track "Seven," when John Roderick sings "I'd miss you Seven," he sounds an awful lot like Blake Schwarzenbach singing a Jets To Brazil (okay fine, Jawbreaker) tune. My favorite of all is"Ultimatum" which is also the title of a previously released EP. The EP version uses finger-picked (what?) guitar, recorded lo-fi a la Iron & Wine, and lush orchestration to carry along Roderick's voice. It's a toss up which one I like more, but the version on Putting... is very different. It's a rocker, and a good one at that. If you put a gun to my head, and I hope you won't, I'd probably pick the EP version. I'll link it below and you can check it out. Then compare and contrast it with the version on Putting the Days To Bed, which, if I were you, I'd be running out to get.

Check it out if you like: The Wrens, The Shins, Band of Horses
Listen to a sample here: "Pushover" (from Putting...); and "Ultimatum" (the previously released EP version)

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