Notes on Music: Gold Leaves, Widowspeak, Amen Dunes

Posted by Jason Diamond

With a slew of great releases, this year has been a banner one for Hardly Art.  The Seattle label boasts a pretty complete roster of musicians that takes the traditional garage rock sound, and stretches it to the limit with bands like Hunx & His Punx and Xray Eyeballs.  We’ve talked to a few of those groups, including the neo-Fugs folk weirdos of Fergus & Geronimo and the Crampsy dirt rockers of Woven Bones, but next on our list might be Gold Leaves, whose album The Ornament came out yesterday on the label we seem to be so enamored with.

Gold Leaves is the name that Seattle songwriter Grant Olsen has decided to go under to release what might be the soundtrack to the forthcoming autumn.  Nine shimmering songs to watch the leaves fall that conjure up Brill Building pop, Van Dyke Parks, and in some instances, the times Devendra Banhart thought he was a doo-wop singer (also known as the best parts of his last few albums).

Listen: Gold Leaves – “The Ornament”

Amen Dunes putting out Through Donkey Jaw on Sacred Bones seems like such a perfect fit for so many reasons, number one being that it has the spooky vibe that seems to accompany each release the Brooklyn label puts out.  In this case, the Six Organs of Admittance meets Felt feel seems like the most natural progression of what a few years ago was refereed to as “freak folk,” but quickly fell out of vogue.

Impose debuted a track from the album, “Christopher,” a few weeks back.

Whatever you do, do not let the self-titled debut by the band Widowspeak fall under your radar.  It’s pretty much everything you love about rock that in the 1990s was labeled “alternative.”  We’re taking total Mazzy Star, Throwing Muses, Opal, kinda stuff.  (Also, the artwork is really killer.)

Go over to their Bandcamp, then pickup their album on Captured Tracks.