House With No Name
Kill Rock Stars
The air is becoming cooler. For many, nostalgia emerges from its slumber. Before disinterring the albums you listen to every winter, try out Horse Feather’s House With No Home.
Released Sept. 9 by Kill Rock Stars (Deerhoof, Elliott Smith, The Decemberists), House With No Home can best be described as a somber folk record that draws from roots, Southern and mountain influences. Its strength is its undeniable cohesiveness and the satisfaction of a start-to-finish listen.
The use of violin works like a string of strings pulled throughout the record. Especially in the second number, “Rude to Rile,” it is easy to imagine a violin track always lingering, only being turned up and down on the soundboard. The arrangement of the song is remarkable – loudening cymbal crashes lead in to clickity-clack percussion for the final 30 seconds – a build-up to die for on a record so delicate.
Most of the album includes the vocals of cellist Heather Broderick and violin from her brother Peter. Some songs feature the violin more sparingly than others, as if it should pulse every so often to breathe life into the songs.
Lyrically, Horse Feather’s sophomore album is personal and poetic comparable to the veracity of songwriter John K. Samson (The Weakerthans, Propaghandi). “The Working Poor” is a catchy anthem about all that “live and work in the red.” Lead singer and songwriter Justin Ringle truthfully writes: Because “there’s no court for our case / what failure gave us suits our taste.“
Hailing from a strong community of PDXers works to Horse Feathers‘ advantage. Ringle is able to rotate musicians for the live show in the absence of multi-instrumentalist Broderick (Efterklang), who is currently residing in Europe. According to a VIRB* interview with Ringle, the band intends to perform as a 3-piece for its upcoming shows.
Horse Feathers has toured with Thao Nguyen and Blitzen Trapper. The band will set out to the United Kingdom with Jose Gonzalez later in October. For more on the band, visit myspace.com/horsefeathersmusic or killrockstars.com.
Give these tracks a listen: “Rude to Rile,” “Working Poor“
For fans of: Bon Iver, Will Oldham, Vetiver
– Nicole L. Browner