Thanksgiving/Adrian Orange

Thanksgiving/Adrian Orange

Thanksgiving/Adrian Orange

Cave Days & Moments/Bitches is Lord

Marriage

I came to learn about Thanksgiving a couple years ago due to Phil “Microphones” Elverum name-dropping in an interview. I was suitably impressed with The River, Thanksgiving’s most current release at the time, but I couldn’t quite see what would attract a purveyor of the indie-pop fringe to charming, but humble folk music. With the releases of Cave Days & Moments and Bitches is Lord, I’m beginning to figure it out.

Cave Days is the more stripped-down of the pair. It’s proudly lo-fi, quietly and loosely tumbling out of the speakers. There’s a strong sense of freshness to the performances, as if they were recorded within a half-hour of when they were written. The rough-shod musicianship is also very much in keeping with the experimental undercurrent flowing through the disc. Where previously Adrian Orange’s Thanksgiving material was thoroughly folk bent, this disc finds him appropriating ambient beats on “Leave Me Alone” and a definite electronic pulse and melody for “Caves.” The album is capped with the rock explosion “We’ll Die,” where loud electric guitar leads and distorted drums send Orange into previously uncharted territory. It’s a complete success and probably the disc’s best track.

Going the way of Alasdair Roberts, Mark Kozlek and Will Oldham, Orange finally dropped his moniker for Bitches is Lord. Taking cues from “We’ll Die,” this disc splits its time between more rock-oriented tracks and subtle folk. There’s less full-on sonic exploration, but songs like “Freedom” — which begins in quiet, shambling beauty, gets sutured to harmonized guitar leads and finishes as a glorious folk/metal hybrid — are avant-garde nonetheless. Orange’s talent to simultaneously give the expected and unexpected is where much of the joy in listening to these albums derives. I hope he keeps it up for a very long time.

Marriage Records: www.marriagerecords.com

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