13 November 2010

Rivulets - stray songs: 2000-2010 (2010)

"Stray Songs", a digital-only release, compiles every single and comp track released by Rivulets from 2000-2010, including rare, live and alternate versions of Rivulets songs, and covers of Sparklehorse, Big Star, Palace Brothers, Codeine, Jandek and Remora songs.

This is for Rivulets what "A Lifetime of Temporary Relief" was to Low and in fact much more because with the "D e m o s" release on Silber it documents and archive the first era of Rivulets and marks the end of a four year hiatus with the concomitant recordings of a new album to be released next year.

Maybe the missing piece would be a live album, as so many live sessions are floating on Youtube and we are still waiting for an official release to document this precious aspect of his expression.  

There is a monolithic aspect with this 27 songs release, a powerful integrity akin to Nathan Amundson as well, as you can identify very quickly one of his song, so typical and particular is his songwriting, mixing a graceful melancholy as intimate and personal as it is cold and pure and rarely could you find such a reciprocity between his outside natural look and the sincere depth and darkness of his songwriting. While many songwriters or artists are careful about their look, Nathan just has got to be himself to meet his expectations and to get this unique an powerful aura.

Artists who can compile such a strong release with alternate tracks and b-sides not featured on their albums are rare and from begin to end, each of these songs keeps this same strong Rivulets identity which could be resumed by the shortcut of intimate sadcore folk songwriting with obvious ethereal and emotional dimensions.

The slowcore influence is obvious and totally assimilated on tracks like "I Told Jesus Christ How Much I Love Her" (Remora cover), "Lazarus", "Broken hearted win" (Codeine cover), "Keep you from harm",  "Painbirds" (Sparklehorse cover) with the use of minimal drums, second vocals, effects on guitars or bass. A few other tracks have got this goth / ethereal nature typical of Jessica Bailiff's discography, "In Dream", "In An Aarktica Womb".

But mainly "Stray Songs" features Nathan alone with his acoustic guitar, playing elegiac compositions through a nice reverb, "Brownies", "You're always going away", "Can't I wonder (solo)", "You Will Miss Me When I Burn" (Palace Brothers cover), "To be home", "Waited for you (solo)", "Blue Moon", "The Sunsets Can Be Beautiful (alternate)", "Medication", "Barreling Towards Nowhere Like There's No Tomorrow (live)". This is the core of this album and also of Rivulets

Besides, there are also a few live tracks, "Waited for you", "Shakes", "Holocaust" (Big Star cover), "Your Light And How It Shined (micro)", "The Sunsets Can Be Beautiful (micro)"  with an imperfect sound quality which capture more the ambiance than his strong potential as an interpret of his own compositions, as Nathan Amundson is someone who strongly deserves to be seen live. I guess there will be a live album documenting this more efficiently one day.

A few songs are also experimental interludes or alternate versions with a limited interest, "Anymore", "Sung" (Jandek cover),  "Birds for Ellen", "Will You Be There (demo)" or "This Christmas".

"Stray Songs" is dedicated mainly to the fans of Rivulets as it is mostly a complement to his discography and not a central element.

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