Recommended Albums #70

phos

Phosphorescent: Here’s to Taking it Easy (2010)

While listening to the perfectly-titled Here’s to Taking it Easy by Matthew Houck, who records under the nom de plume of Phosphorescent, I can’t shake the feeling that this guy could be headed for Elliott Smith status someday.

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With lilting, haunting melodies and simple, evocative lyrics sprawling lazily across relaxed, country-tinged arrangements, his songs have the effortless feel of Lucinda Williams’ best work.

When the layered harmonies join in on “Nothing Was Stolen” and “Mermaid Parade”, perfect unison is eschewed in favored of a sloppier, singalong feel that evokes The Band. This isn’t about perfect takes or instrumental virtuosity. It’s all about the feel, and the feel is reflective, forlorn, world-weary and somehow soothing at the same time.

The London Evening Standard praised Houck as “the most significant American in his field since Kurt Cobain.” And one Amazon reviewer observed:

“Phosphorescent’s Matthew Houck is probably one of those American writers and singers who knows that in ten years time a coterie of very hip young bands will record a huge tribute to his songs…and they will name check him as an influence”

If you wander through a Pro-Tools world with a 70’s vinyl heart, songs like “Mermaid Parade” will break that heart–in a good way.

Listen to: “Nothing Was Stolen (Love Me Foolishly)”

Listen to: “We’ll Be Here Soon”

Listen to: “The Mermaid Parade”

Listen to: “Tell Me Baby (Have You Had Enough)”

Listen to: “Heaven, Sittin Down”

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