I’ve always loved singer-songwriter tunes, but I hold a special place in my heart for the sort that seems to take on the oddity of the world, distorting the genre into something much different. Names like Coma Cinema and Liam Betson come to mind most recently, and now I’m ready to add Soft Fangs to that list. Of course, the warped aspect is reserved for the opening choruswhile a pop explosion fills outthe space that follows, closing the track towards the end. His new album The Light will be out on March 18th via Disposable America and Exploding in Sound Records.
These lists are everywhere, so you’ll be excused if you just roll your eyes and skip on. But, that being said, we always seem to be way off the mark when it comes to our Top 50 Albums of the Year. Sure, we have some of the sure fire hits on this list like Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten, but don’t even read on if you’re look ing to see where Run the Jewels made it…they’re not there. Sorry not sorry. So, if you’re into arbitrary lists by people who like to push their own agenda, then this list is for you! Read more
Liam Betson once played guitar in Titus Andronicus, and while you can definitely see remnants of his foray in that outfit in this tune, it’s nice to see that the sound takes on a bit of new direction. The vocals definitely harken to the TA days, at least in the way they were recorded, but the guitar takes on a different tone entirely. The tone takes on a nice bit of twanging dream pop, with guitars cascading all over the tune. He’ll be releasing this new batch of songs on The Cover of the Hunter, which is being released on July 22nd. Take a listen.
Liam the Younger is the project of Liam Betson, a man who’s spent some time playing with his friends, Titus Andronicus. But, that’s about all he shares, or at least his music shares, with his friends, as After the Graveyard is a stripped down affair of bedroom folk tunes. It’s just now being released by Underwater Peoples, after being stored away for the perfect day.
One of the first things you’ll notice when listening to opener “Current Joys” is that there’s definitely a minimal recording quality with the album, but I promise that won’t detract from the listening experience–not one bit. There’s a familiarity in Betson’s voice, which reminds me of Elf Power (in vocals only), but it’s his approach, which includes the recording hiss, is reminiscent of a young Conor Oberst. If you listen to “Ode to Then,” it’s hard not to see the similarity, as his delivery definitely has that same feeling of nonchalance. And while indifference might not be the most charming attribute for a human, you can appreciate it in the musical sense, as the songs on After the Graveyard come across as personal introspections.
For the most part, most Liam the Younger songs on this effort don’t go too far beyond the 2 minute mark, which might do a bit of a disservice to the songs themselves. You barely have time to soak in the special quality of each number before you’re on to the next number, but tread carefully, as there are definitely some real gems. “It Is Good” is one such track, and probably one of my favorite of this entire collection. It begins with a softly picked jangling guitar, which then moves up a bit to more of a steady strum. The pace carries on for the rest of the song, finally fading towards the very end. Find this song, and no matter what, you’ll be pleased Liam sat down to pen any songs at all.
All in all, a great deal of these songs come across as brief demos, as if they’re not fleshed out quite as one would expect. It’s always great to hear someone having fun recording tracks all on their own, but one is left to wonder what would happen with a bit more time spent with each song, narrowing down the precise elements that really stand out. Don’t get me wrong, After the Graveyard is absolutely chock-full of such elements, so much so that it’s a bit overwhelming at times, but I’d love to see Liam the Younger go back in time and re-record all these tracks with everything he’s learned. Pretty sure he’d be indie newcomer of the year. For now, he’ll have to settle on being a musician with loads of talent, who just needs a touch more time.