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Alternative & Indie - Released September 11, 2012 | Dangerbird Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 11, 2016 | Dangerbird Records

California-based singer-songwriter Alex Brown Church is a delicate young man in the mold of Elliott Smith or the Shins' James Mercer, and the 10 songs on the artist's full-length debut as Sea Wolf have the same blend of whimsy and emotional lassitude suggested by that pairing. The simple but effective indie-rock backing, heavy on acoustic guitar and electric keyboards, leaves Church's lyrics at the forefront. Highlights include the title track and the Nick Drake-like "Black Dirt." © TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 20, 2020 | Dangerbird Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 25, 2007 | Dangerbird Records

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Pop/Rock - Released December 29, 2017 | Dangerbird Records

With third album Old World Romance, Sea Wolf bandleader Alex Church collapses the collaborative full-band approach of 2009's White Water, White Bloom, opting this time to write, record, and produce the album on his own and play most of the instruments himself. The result isn't an isolated-sounding album, or even an especially insular one, but Old World Romance does have a sense of singular perspective that goes back to the earliest incarnations of the band when Church operated Sea Wolf mostly as a solo project ornamented sometimes by other players. Rather than a live-band feel in a folk-rock mode, the songs rely more on drum machines and ornate recording arrangements, dropping live drums in and out of perfectly paced acoustic landscapes. Opening track "Old Friend" opens with a spare electronic rhythm and slowly introduces fingerpicked acoustic guitars, dreamy textural elements, and several tracks of Church's self-harmonizing melodies. The production is precise and understated, keeping all of the song's various instruments in check and allowing the introspective overall feel of the song to be the primary focus. Much of the album takes this restrained approach, rounding out any rough edges and leaving behind ten glisteningly smooth songs somewhere between chamber folk and synth-leaning indie rock. The ship-at-sea rhythms of "In Nothing" are informed by the moodiest eras of Echo & the Bunnymen, and the similarities between Church's voice and Ian McCulloch's become very apparent over rocky tempos and '80s-borrowing melodic basslines. "Changing Seasons" is another standout in this set, crystallizing some of the album's upbeat melancholy into a restless anthem. The polished nature of Old World Romance and its deceptively dense arrangements give all the songs a similar color, and at times they lack the dynamics of Sea Wolf's more fiery peers like Arcade Fire or even Bright Eyes, an act to which they are often compared. Old World Romance doesn't have the same sense of wiry urgency those bands sometimes transfer, or even the same fire of the band's most collaborative work, but in this case that's not a bad thing. By going so deeply into himself on this record, Church has crafted an atmosphere that relates its highs, lows, uneasiness, and joys with a sturdy quiet. It may not hit the listener over the head with theatrics or tormented confessions, but the subdued and personal nature of Church's songs here allow for a more intimate connection than on any Sea Wolf material that came before. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 22, 2009 | Dangerbird Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 8, 2007 | Dangerbird Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 6, 2019 | Dangerbird Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 28, 2020 | Dangerbird Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 7, 2020 | Dangerbird Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 31, 2010 | Dangerbird Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 11, 2016 | Dangerbird Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 29, 2017 | Dangerbird Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 29, 2017 | Dangerbird Records

Sea Wolf emerged in 2007 as a tuneful alternative to Bright Eyes, with both bands championing a mix of tremulous vocals and sharp, Americana-styled songwriting. White Water, White Bloom doesn't do much to dispel those similarities, but it does widen the band's sound, with bandleader Alex Church carefully splitting his time between the organic and the orchestral. Church wrote the entire album alone, yet all ten tracks feature contributions from an army of musicians, including several members of Sea Wolf's touring lineup. With producer Mike Mogis (one of the chief architects of Bright Eyes' sound) behind the boards, White Water evokes a lush, chamber-country ambiance, sounding intimate one minute and grandly expansive the next. At the center of everything is Church's attention to melody, which shines as brightly on the album's sparsest songs -- "Orion & Dog," "The Orchard," "Winter's Heir" -- as on the more bombastic numbers. Even so, it's the fully orchestrated material that makes the biggest impact. Church and Mogis lace their autumnal anthems with strings, organs, woodwinds, and clash cymbals, creating mini-symphonies that leave their mark but rarely overstay their welcome. The resulting tunes are lush, but few are truly dense, and White Water's biggest asset is its ability to wield such a large sound without replacing the woodsy, cozy feel of Church's solo performances. © Andrew Leahey /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 11, 2016 | Dangerbird Records

Seattle producer Phil Ek (Built to Spill, the Shins) recorded a chunk of Sea Wolf's debut, Get to the River Before It Runs Too Low, in the studio, and the rest was recorded in Alex Church's living room. The homey setting adds a personal and intimate feel to his weary but warm acoustic-based songs about insecurities and heartbreaks. Despite these sad undercurrents, the majority of the album feels upbeat and affectionate, something akin to background music for a spring road trip with Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler, Jeff Tweedy and Conor Oberst. The tunes feel modern, but also classic and timeless, as if they were composed in a different era. Sometimes the instrumentation is heavily layered with cello, keys, and washed guitars, but the vibe always remains delicate and simple. These are five fine songs that gracefully play along the lulling pastures of introspective indie pop. © Jason Lymangrover /TiVo