by Jon Stone | @jwstone - January 18, 2011
I'm going to chime in with one more great release out today. If you're like me, a few solid records in the first part of the year are essential. The cold all but sentences us to our homes and offices and with that imposed anchor, it is nice to be able to have some music to turn on and make it feel like we are staying put on purpose. The Unfazed, the new record from Dolorean is doing that for me right now. The album is soft and melancholy and seems to drift in from a still-warm autumn recording session.
Though I remember hearing about them after their last release way back in 2007, I missed Dolorean's last record You Can't Win. It's unfortunate because it is also a strong album with a similar well-balanced country/rock mix. Over the last four years, however, the band has seemed to distill that sound even further -- peeling back the songs a bit and letting the melodies and easily singable harmonies tread ahead of the accompaniment. If you listen closely, the lyrics move back and forth from no-end-in-sight devastation (see "Country Clutter") to maybe-the-sun-will-come-out hopeful (see the aptly titled "These Slopes Gave Me Hope") -- and sometimes both in the same song ("How is It"). You know, a little bit like a Midwestern January feels.
I'm also really looking forward to this year and its promise for outstanding new releases. I'm already enjoying the new record from Abigail Washburn (see a review I wrote elsewhere) and the Decemberists (I love that Gillian Welsh is all over that thing -- this is the best Decemberists record in years.). I'm anticipating with excitement records from Iron & Wine and Drive-by Truckers, and have you heard about this guy James Vincent McMorrow? Check out a preview of his record over at his website. It is fantastic.