Get a load of this: “The band, led by Taylor Kirk — a crooner with a deceptively sweet voice — makes spare, evenly paced songs that sound like late-night echoes from a swampy woods.”—NPR Music
I think I need to start a blog.
Those who are close to me know something of my raves about musicians and their work. I often regard it as somewhat of a compulsion to know more, more, more about bands I love. But I think it’s mainly because I’m an aspiring musician, seeking as much inspiration and information as possible from musicians I love. Regardless of who is interested, beyond if anyone reads this, the amount of joy I have experienced just from writing the first few lines is an indicator that I’m really going to enjoy doing this. It won’t be clean, it won’t be organized. This is partially a practice of putting together my thoughts. And when that doesn't work, piling information on top of itself, throwing on some commas and hoping it looks like something was done.
So I’m starting with a band who, by all accounts, has a real creepy vibe. That I dig. Hard. They’re called Timber Timbre and they've been around since 2005, making their first record deal with a self-titled album in 2009. The first trace of them I heard was from my fine friend, Grant, whose taste overlaps with mine quite often. He had shared a collaboration they did with Feist called “Homage” on a showcase album their label put together in 2013. It’s a quietly dark, stirring song with vocals from both Leslie Feist and Timber Timbre’s lead singer and main man, Taylor Kirk. Together they affect a woefully sleepy and sweetly haunting sound that left the track on repeat, returning to my thoughts often since I was introduced.
Since then I've perused their catalog casually, appreciating some tracks with stand outs like “Black Water”, “Bad Ritual” and “Demon Host”. Then, last week, I read that they’d released some remixes off their newest album and I decided to check in. I was unaware they had released a new album—or didn't pay attention if I’d heard—but was immediately struck by the “Hot Dreams” mix. It pulled me into listening to the new album and onto that beautiful train of curiosity and official down-ness.
I’m struck by a woodsy warmth in their earlier work and a mature, rainy sleepiness in their newest album. As Pitchfork spoke of their 2011 album, “Creep On Creepin’ On”, “These songs shuffle and sway before strings and saxophones (the latter from sideman-of-the-moment Colin Stetson) inevitably start to swarm, sending bold streaks of color through the black-and-white filter of Kirk’s midnight creep.” Stetson’s saxophone is played up brilliantly on the “Hot Dreams” mix. His contribution to “Creep on Creepin’ on” and now throughout “Hot Dreams” adds something sultry, sweaty.
Their 2009 self titled album is spare and enthralling. The bare-bones work is a beautiful testament to the spirit that seems to continue to drive them. Their style is distinct, dirge-y, and truly creepy. Lyrics like those from “Lay Down in the Tall Grass” can leave you spooked, paranoid: “We lay down and wait for you/With nothing but a piece of rope”. The wandering organ and threatening lyrics leave goose-bumps throughout their entire body of work. It’s rich and endearing, yet fucked up and possessive. I feel like I’m being charmed into a marvelously weird and ultimately psychotic love affair. Like in “Run From Me”, a song off their newest album.
There’s a whole series of live videos like these from their new album. I would definitely recommend checking them out. Kirk’s presence is right on point with what you’d imagine from the lyrics.
The creep factor is alive and well in their newest album, “Hot Dreams”. They strike a ripe—almost rotting—and sweet sound. The meandering creep has stuck around. Noisey notes “The darkness is still overpowering. The songs from their new album are funeral marches and laments.”
This music is good. But it’s pushy, it’s dark, it’s predatory, and it’s not for everyone. Maybe this was a strange choice to start with, but it’s the first thing that moved me. At times I’ve been almost recklessly voracious in my music discovery pursuits. I want for some patience now, I think, and this band’s work felt good as a first step. Judging from how much I constantly have to say to (often involuntary) friends, I ought to save them some time. So, if you so please, I’d love it if you joined me as I trip, stumble and shout about the wild, weird, and whatever music that moves me. For I hope it moves you, too. ❤