Categories :

Albums

HI-RES$12.49
CD$9.99

Rock - Released August 16, 2019 | Drag City Records

Hi-Res
CD$10.99

Country - Released July 26, 2019 | Drag City Records

CD$0.99

Rock - Released May 21, 2019 | Drag City Records

CD$0.99

Country - Released May 7, 2019 | Drag City Records

CD$0.99

Alternative & Indie - Released January 17, 2019 | Drag City Records

HI-RES$14.99
CD$10.99

Folk/Americana - Released September 17, 2018 | Drag City Records

Hi-Res
CD$10.99

Folk/Americana - Released September 17, 2018 | Drag City Records

Will Oldham is one of the better-regarded songwriters of his generation, but in recent years he's taken up a sideline as an interpretive vocalist. As Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Oldham recorded an album of songs associated with the Everly Brothers, What the Brothers Sang, with Dawn McCarthy in 2013, and on 2017's Best Troubador, he covered 15 numbers from the Merle Haggard songbook. For 2018's Wolf of the Cosmos, Oldham has chosen not to cover a handful of songs, but an entire album: here, he interprets all 12 songs from Susanna's 2007 release Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos, in their original sequence. It's anyone's guess what prompted Oldham to offer his own take on someone else's album in toto, but Wolf of the Cosmos manages to pay homage to Susanna Wallumrød's vision while making room for Oldham's very distinct musical outlook. The original performances on Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos were deliberately spare, often suggesting the presence of only one or two instruments accompanying Susanna's vocals, and while there's more varied instrumentation here, the arrangements are whisper quiet, with the clink of Chris Rodahaffer's banjo and the sigh of Cheyenne Mize's violin sounding almost spectral next to the thoughtful murmur of Oldham's vocals. Oldham may not have written these tunes, but they fit him beautifully. Wallumrød's wordplay feels perfectly natural filtered through Oldham's instrument, and his vocals find him at the top of his game, delivering performances that are at once introspective and deeply felt, finding a wealth of emotion in the simplicity of his approach. Oldham's willfully cryptic manner has largely been set aside on these sessions, and there's a sincerity in this work that he doesn't always allow himself when tackling his own songs (though the lyric sheet translates the songs into Korean, just in case you feared he'd abandoned all his eccentricities). Wolf of the Cosmos may call into question the status of Will Oldham as a songwriter, but it shows that as a performer, Bonnie "Prince" Billy is doing some of the finest work of his career. © Mark Deming /TiVo
CD$0.99

Rock - Released September 17, 2018 | Drag City Records

HI-RES$14.99
CD$10.99

Rock - Released September 10, 2018 | Drag City Records

Hi-Res
The third outing from the Cooper Crain-led, Windy City-based experimental trio sees the Bitchin Bajas teaming up with the equally mercurial Will Oldham (aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy) for a good, old-fashioned minimalist hoedown. The aptly named Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties offers up a trance-inducing set of bucolic folk emissions that pair elliptical melodies with Oldham riffing on fortune-cookie aphorisms. Opener "May Life Throw You a Pleasant Curve" eases the listener into the float tank with a summery, Incredible String Band-inspired refrain and Oldham's affable warble, and coming in at just over three minutes, it serves as a pleasant apéritif. What follows is largely the same, but bereft of any sort of brevity, which is to be expected from a musical partnership between two such metaphysically minded entities. The Bajas and Oldham promise the listener that "you will receive many unknowable hours of joy from this album of collaborative cosmic music," but that largely depends on the listener's threshold for homilies and loops. There is a strong spiritual undercurrent at play throughout the nine tracks, especially on the epic "Your Heart Is Pure, Your Mind Is Clear, Your Soul Devout," which arrives via the soft clang of what sounds like Buddhist meditation bells. That sentiment is echoed again on the monastic "Your Whole Family Are Well," which echoes (sonically) the Muslim call to prayer, as well as mid-period Dead Can Dance. All of the free associating and good-natured droning can be a bit torpor inducing, so it's a nice surprise when the closer, "Your Hard Work Is About to Pay Off, Keep on Keeping On," arrives. Loose, languid, yet structured enough to feel like a proper bit of pop craft, it brings things back to earth, if only for a short spell, its unfettered hippie heart aglow with positivity and possibility. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
CD$10.99

Rock - Released September 10, 2018 | Drag City Records

Will Oldham has taken on enough different personas over the course of his career -- recording under several different names, most of them variations on the Palace rubric, and in every style, from the stark solo performances of Days in the Wake to the polished "Nashville Sound" arrangements of Sings Greatest Palace Music -- that he seems to be as much a character actor as a musician. (And he's worked as a professional actor, making the analogy all the more fitting.) With this in mind, this collection of Bonnie "Prince" Billy performances recorded for broadcast on the late John Peel's BBC radio show finds Oldham revisiting a number of songs from throughout his career, but with a different perspective, as if he's choosing to re-think his character as he reinterprets his work. The Bonnie "Prince" Billy on Pond Scum performs in a cooler and more refined manner than the troubled man on Days in the Wake or There Is No-One What Will Take Care of You, but the arrangements are spare and whisper-quiet. Though his tenor is better controlled here, his voice cracks and wanders enough to remind listeners this persona is kin to the lost souls who dominated Oldham's early work. This collection can be read as another example of Oldham's stylistic shape-shifting, yet the relative calm and direct approach of these performances also allows for a straightforward appreciation of his songwriting. These versions of "Stable Will," "Jolly One," "Drunk at the Pulpit," and "Trudy Dies" sound emotionally honest and both beautiful and troubling as Oldham's wordplay, by turns mannered and spontaneous, cries out over a minimal backdrop of guitar. On Pond Scum, these songs seem to escape fully formed from Oldham's soul, even the no-frills cover of Prince's "The Cross," and if one has to take an educated guess about which Bonnie "Prince" Billy we get on this album, it's certain that what he has to say is well worth hearing. ~ Mark Deming
CD$10.99

Rock - Released August 27, 2018 | Drag City Records

CD$10.99

Alternative & Indie - Released August 20, 2018 | Drag City Records

CD$10.99

Pop - Released August 13, 2018 | Drag City Records

CD$0.99

Pop - Released August 13, 2018 | Drag City Records

CD$4.49

Alternative & Indie - Released August 13, 2018 | Drag City Records

CD$10.99

Pop - Released August 6, 2018 | Drag City Records

CD$0.99

Pop - Released August 6, 2018 | Drag City Records

CD$4.49

Pop - Released August 6, 2018 | Drag City Records

CD$4.49

Alternative & Indie - Released August 6, 2018 | Drag City Records

Pop - Released August 6, 2018 | Drag City Records

Download not available