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Snapshots #1 - Songs: Ohia, Manishevitz, Japancakes, Diana Darby, Greg Weeks, Johan Asherton

Snapshots #1

Songs: Ohia, Manishevitz, Japancakes, Diana Darby, Greg Weeks, Johan Asherton

Big, tremendous thrills upon listening to Songs: Ohia's latest album, "Ghost Tropic." After leaving a path bordered by emaciated folk music, Jason Molina and his band now stride on a byway where loops meet the leader's hypnotic voice. Icy, but above all sublime. A stone's throw away from there, their cousins at Jagjaguwar host Adam Bush and his crew with an unlikely and unpronounceable name, Manishevitz. They've just smashed their way into the ideal record collection with their debut album "Grammar Bell And The All Fall Down" -- folk music with an eye on Smog's most melodious tracks -- and most of all "Rollover," a mix of arid folk and sweet pop music (with plenty of brass). Adam Bush, could he be Kurt Wagner's younger brother? Why not?! Japancakes's third album offers creamy sweets on the menu: "The Sleepy Strange" summons country music and wide-open spaces on these seven airy instrumentals. An orgy of pedal steel, highly recommended to those who love Mojave 3 and Lambchop. From there, we can easily move on to discover Diana Darby's "Naked Time." The lady claims to be influenced by Nick Drake and Patti Smith, and her tortured folk music won't deny it: with her deep and warm voice that drapes dangerously sweet melodies, Diana Darby refuses to make her choice between the countryside (country music) and the nervous city (urban rock). There's no problem indeed for us to adopt this newcomer, and in fact we had a spare room next to Kristin Hersh, Paula Frazer, and Eszter Balint. We discovered him thanks to two compilations ("Songs From An Attic," together with Migala and Tinsel on Keyhole Records and "Brumario" on Acuarela Discos), and it was enough to make Greg Weeks join the (very select) clan of Nick Drake's legitimate children. "Bleecker Street" will not invalidate that relationship, as an acoustic guitar and a warm and sensuous voice lead light and delicate songs. The perfect time has come to talk about Johan Asherton's latest album, "Trystero's Empire," only available on a Japanese label. As usual, we won't linger on the most orchestrated tracks, but we'll gladly dawdle on the acoustic and sober songs, through which the French songwriter lays himself bare the best.

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