Release Date: Jan 20, 2015
Record label: !K7
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk
Conceived as a companion piece to Amen Dunes' gently transcendent Love, Cowboy Worship shines the spotlight on different versions of a few of the album's songs. Some of its changes are subtle; the EP is bookended by interpretations that are very similar to what ended up on Love. On "I Know Myself (Montreal)," it's clear where the mellow groove of the album version came from, but its meditative cello drones and layered vocals come to the fore, creating a more intimate and immediate feel.
Amen Dunes’ excellent 2014 record, Love, felt like a clearing out. It pared back some of the gauze from his previous records, maintaining mystery and texture but letting a bit more of the voice at the center of the songs through. There was a newfound intimacy. On Cowboy Worship, Amen Dunes revisits that intimacy.
Damon McMahon has spent much of his life both physically and spiritually adrift, vacillating between urban enticements and rural retreats. Born in Philly, but raised in the sticks of Connecticut, he would settle in New York in the early 2000s just in time for his former band, Inouk, to enjoy its 15 pixels of fame during the post-Clap Your Hands Say Yeah blog rush. A subsequent failed attempt to establish himself as an Astralwerks-backed singer-songwriter would prompt McMahon to hole himself up in a Catskills cabin to record his wilfully primitive debut as Amen Dunes, before embarking upon an extended self-exile to China.
I feel kind of weird listening to Cowboy Worship, after having heard Amen Dunes’s excellent 2014 album, Love. Don’t get me wrong, I love Love. It’s just that some of the songs on Cowboy Worship are on Love, but they’re fuller, and prettier, and it makes me conflicted about which versions I like better. Last year’s Love was as renowned for its songs’ emotional cores as for their little affectations: Colin Stetson’s resonating sax, the VU-esque violin drone on “Lonely Richard,” the trippy double tracking of “Sixteen.” Unlike some of the versions on Cowboy Worship, the songs on Love worked off of very simple, very well-maintained contrasts, stylish pairings of songcraft and nuance.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. With the release of Love last year, Amen Dunes' Damon McMahon hit something of a stride in his work. He has managed to carve out a sonic niche for himself that is both ethereal and lo-fi - at once understated and euphoric. There is self-assuredness to the record, which makes a swift (and effective) follow up seem like a lofty aspiration.
You know about the big releases each week, but what about those smaller albums which may have passed underneath your radar. Don’t miss out on the smaller, lesser-known gems which might become some of your favourites. We’ve rounded up seven of the best new album releases from this week: discover Mac DeMarco’s sketches, the battering-ram riffs of Meat Wave and more.Mac DeMarco – 2/Salad Days DemosGiven his fondness for toilet humour and hard rock covers, the murky world of DeMarco’s demos might not sound as appealing as the splendour of his records.