Release Date: Oct 14, 2014
Record label: Woodsist
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
Professional road dog Kevin Morby put in plenty of months on tour even before going solo. Morby released his solo debut, Harlem River, in late 2013 while still an actively contributing and constantly touring member of both folksy warblers Woods and indie supergroup the Babies. Shortly before the release of the spiritually wandering Harlem River, Morby migrated from his longtime Brooklyn home to the sunny shores of Los Angeles, and while Harlem River was a picture postcard of Morby's times in New York, second solo album Still Life investigates his radically different Californian surroundings, and the new inspirations and challenges that came with this move.
Kevin Morby's a wanderer, a journeyman: here today, gone tomorrow. Pretty much every song on Still Life—the second LP in a year's time from the former Woods bassist/Babies co-founder—finds Morby on the move, setting off to sea or motoring away, never to return again. Listening to the rich, reflective Still Life, it's easy to picture Morby with a wineskin under his arm, his every worldly possession hitched to his back, an eye constantly fixed on some faraway point on the horizon.
Kevin Morby has spent the last few years as bassist of psych-folkies Woods and as one half of the Babies alongside former Vivian Girl Cassie Ramone, but he left both projects (for now, at least) to strike out on his own — a commendable move that is clearly paying off, if Still Life is any indication. Despite being Morby's eighth album between the three projects in six years, and coming less than a year after his debut solo LP, Harlem River, Still Life is a slick, full-bodied collection that shows that Morby has lots of sonic ideas, most of which are great. Morby's jangly, mellow rock takes his work with the Babies and slows it down, which allows the instrumentation to breathe.
After amicably leaving Woods and putting his other band, The Babies, on hiatus, Kevin Morby pursued a solo career. He’s already released two albums under his own name since moving from New York City to Los Angeles last year. The first, 2013’s Harlem River, was a lackadaisical collection of mellow rock songs complete with touches of his Kansas City-born drawl and his Woods-era proclivity for folksy jams.
Kevin Morby — Still Life (Woodsist)Kevin Morby has, over the last few years, quietly made a name for himself as a maker of timelessly compelling rock songs. While I wouldn’t necessarily reach for the “Americana” label right off the bat, Morby’s work has a certain jangliness to it that suggests a bridge between the No Depression set and the psych-pop wing of the indie rock camp. (Morby was, until recently, the bassist of Woods.) This would be his second solo album, following last year’s Harlem River.
Kevin Morby’s second solo record sounds more like a delayed second platter of last year’s superb Harlem River than a free-standing sophomore effort. That’s got its pros and cons: No new ground broken, but no sophomore slump, either. Harlem River, the ex-Woods’ bassist farewell to his New York years, tapped into all manner of Gotham influences, from Greenwich Village folk to choogling VU, and those elements prevail in these 10 tracks, too.