Phosphorescent, J. Tillman, Ceiling Stars | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Thu., Aug. 5, 9:30 p.m. 2010
Price: $12
Last year Phosphorescent's Matthew Houck tipped his hat to Willie Nelson with To Willie, an album of tunes by the pigtailed Texas legend. The group's new full-length, Here's to Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans), makes it clear that the previous record was the gateway to a new path for Houck. The opening track, "It's Hard to Be Humble (When You're From Alabama)," is a horn-stoked boogie with a general good-timey feel, and the closer, "Los Angeles," channels Neil Young's droning guitar intensity, but in between the Brooklyn-based Alabama native seems to put himself in a southern state of mind circa 1973, accenting his slack-jawed drawl with a twangy folk-rock sound. Most of the songs essay romance blooming and disintegrating in a cycle fueled by extended time on the road. The dolorous ballad "We'll Be Here Soon" does its best to embrace the promise of reunion ("So get yourself and bring her here / And fix yourself up in the mirror"), while the narrator in "The Mermaid Parade" sadly accepts that both parties in the relationship have moved on to other affairs. The sound of the record is hardly original, but the mix of weepy steel guitars, lazily swinging rhythms, and melancholy organ swells fits the sodden self-indulgence of Houck's characters perfectly. —Peter Margasak



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