Yukon Blonde is the latest in a long line of noteworthy Canadian indie rock bands, and with their first LP I think they're well on their way to joining the upper echelon of such a group. The quartet (comprised of Jeff Innes, Brandon Scott, Adam Newton, and Graham Jones) already have an EP under their belt, and their debut full-length is even better - an eclectic and fun set of tunes that blends all sorts of genres, from folk to power-pop, but ultimately establishing a unique sound for the band that deserves a listen. Highlights like the appropriately breezy "Wind Blows," the smooth rocker "Brides Song" and the slightly twangy closer "Loyal Man" showcase the multi-layered vocal harmonies, endless hooks, and Americana-meets-indie style that makes Yukon Blonde such an appealing new outfit. I really can't imagine anyone not enjoying the music made by this talented and bunch of artists.
Rather Be With You (MP3)
Wind Blows (MP3)
I'll admit I first checked out singer/songwriter Anais Mitchell's latest because I noticed Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver) was involved, but there's much more to Hadestown than an impressive guest list (also including Ani DiFranco and Greg Brown, among others). Hadestown is, according to Mitchell's website, "a folk opera based on the Orpheus myth and set in a post-apocalyptic American depression era," so you know it's an ambitious project to say the least. But the quality of the storytelling, the "casting" of the different characters and the engaging songs make this a truly successful concept album. Vernon's Orpheus is lonesome yet hopeful, Brown's Hades is grimy and dark, his wife (DiFranco) is enjoyably strange, and Mitchell still manages to shine among all the star power as Orpheus' lover Persephone. Hadestown is one of 2010's most unique and interesting musical experiences, making Anais Mitchell a name you need to know.
Folk rockers Treetop Flyers released their debut EP in the Fall of last year, though I only heard about it recently and I think it definitely deserves mention here. The UK outfit's five song effort has a rootsy, Americana sound that I'm admittedly a sucker for, but the music's appeal will certainly extend beyond fans of the genre with its smooth melodies and excellent musicianship. Each song remarkable, but my favorites are 0pener "Mountain Song," a sweeping classic rock tune filled with big choruses and impressive riffs and solos, and "Is It All Worth It?," which shows the gentler side of the band with a tuneful acoustic ballad that is just as great. These guys may look to the past for inspiration (comparisons to any number of classic folk and rock artists are easy to make), but they're also well on their way to establishing themselves as a band to watch with a style that's all their own.
For an email address, you can download "Mountain Song" HERE (highly recommended)