Top 5 dreamiest local album releases of 2015

LISTENING PARTY: Local releases of 2015 include albums by, clockwise from top left, the Alex Krug Combo, Elvis Depressedly, Erica Russo, Wintervals and Chris Jamison.

It’s hard to choose just five favorite albums because this is Western North Carolina and new music making its way to listeners via social media, CD release parties, collectible vinyl, independent radio and the very street corners. From hip-hop to soul and roots music to lush dream-pop, the offerings are as varied as the fanbase. Creativity reigns in and around Asheville, so while the area’s music scene might not be to more mainstream tastes, that’s exactly why we love it.

Some of my favorites from the past year — songs I’ve written about, but also keep close at hand on my iPod — have borrowed from elements of dream-pop, while adding unique variations on that theme.

• In Between Dreams by Erica Russo — In tone, mood, instrumentation and narrative, this is wildly creative but steadfastly consistent collection. Russo’s strange and wonderful voice stitches those parts into a consummate whole.

• Can’t Win for Losing by Wintervals — Melancholy that runs like a thread throughout Wintervals’ writing, but it’s a delicious sort of sadness that never devolves into gloom. Expression is valued over perfection and the occasional rough or raw tone only adds to the magic of the music.

• Gentle Spotted Giants by Alex Krug Combo — Each song on this EP is delivered with absolute care, even as its wrung from the singer’s guts. Final track “Sail With You” is perhaps the sweetest offering. It carries on the oceanic theme, and so too the vastness and loneliness of that metaphor.

• New Alhambra by Elvis Depressedly — From the languid opening notes of “Thou Shall Not Murder” — a breezily psychedelic track that winds its way between tranquil vocals and static-y, alien samples — the album offers itself up as a kind of summer soundtrack from within the cool recesses of a basement.

• Lovecraft by Chris Jamison — This is a collection of songwriting gems. “Mockingbird,” with its gentle melody, soft handclaps, otherworldly harp (Molly Cook) and compelling lyrics — “Scorpions in the shadows, serpents in the moonlight / a child’s heart open, beating, pulsing with the midnight” — deserves every kind of interpretation

Find complete reviews for these albums at mountainx.com. —Alli Marshall

SHARE
About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.