Welcome to this week’s show where Richard brings us The Midnight Pine and their keys heavy intro masterpiece Enough. Tobin thinks he’s heard this before, alas, only a dream. We uncover some unlikely connections with other San Diego favourites Creature and the Woods. We play and listen to the sonorous vocal delivery of Shelbi Bennett. However, Enough of The Midnight Pine! Secondly, Richard has the bookend this week and brings us the sadly now disbanded Broken Dog. Playing to Tobin’s naturally critical streak, Broken Dog’s ethereal and slightly breathy vocals prompt him to take Richard to task. It’s a brilliant two-song set from Martine Roberts and Clive Painter in their previous guise of Broken Dog.
More sabre-rattling to come as Richard is perplexed by Moscow Apartment’s outdated website gallery. No up to date photos? Only photos of the duet as teens? The clouds thereon parted and Richard’s epiphany unfurled before his very eyes. Not one to steal Tobin’s thunder he gallantly steps aside so that Tobin can reveal all. It’s New Music and it’s straight out of Canada this week.
Unexpectedly popular Blithe Field also make a deep impression on Richard much to Tobin’s surprise. He tries to score a hat-trick with Audiodope and Absence of Gravity – does he pull it off?
As always, it’s all about the music on From the Bottom of the Record Box. However, Tobin delivers some important news this week about the future of the show. Thus exciting news indeed. It seems that Tobin, Richard and Jamie are only just beginning the rise of FTBOTRB. There are bigger, better things coming signalling a very bright future ahead. And as we stated it’s always about the music here. But perhaps the biggest news on today’s show is that Harmony Byrne’s debut LP has finally dropped. We spin yet another track from off of it. Destined to become a riotous success, we get to know Harmony before she is untouchable. So, that’s it, listen on for the usual combative conversation and great music.
- Drink Was The Height Of The Day Broken Dog
- In The Moonlight Blithe Field
- Halfway Moscow Apartment
- Enough The Midnight Pine
- I Never Played The Game Harmony Byrne
- Absence of Gravity Audiodope
- New Year Broken Dog
The Midnight Pine – Shelbi Bennett
Arcane sounds rise and fall in the background of The Midnight Pine’s ethereal take on folk music. The band’s lush harmonies and traditional acoustic forms inhabit eerie, desolate landscapes. Here chains rattle, saw blades quiver, and modulated radio signals murmur from the distance like distorted messages.
All these layers are built around the soulful gifts of young siren Shelbi Bennett. Her richly dynamic voice may adopt the sweet and serene hues of Appalachian gospel/Irish folk singer, or the raw seductive power of a cabaret chanteuse. Bennett leads the The Midnight Pine’s spectral folk tunes with spirited self-possession. Composing songs, harmonies and haunting sounds with guitarist/vocalist Matt Molarius and lyricist/percussionist Alfred Howard.
Those that want to find something different should investigate these stunners. Pleasing familiarity commingle with new and brave sounds – the effect is phenomenal.Musical Musings and Such
Live at A.D.
Timbre has always been a signature component of The Midnight Pine’s spectral recordings and live shows. Shelbi Bennett’s velvety smooth voice floats over spatial western blues. It’s faintly augmented by home-made instruments and whirring, vaporous backgrounds. With it’s third, eponymous record, The Midnight Pine turns up its sound, delivering almost sculptural renderings. Veering into alt country and soul, reveling in instrument textures and harmonies that feel as vital to the songs as the compositions themselves.
On the album’s opener, Broken Wing, woozy piano strikes, guitar strums and slides shimmer and sway around a bassy western waltz. The mood shifts and horns punch in to bolster the hip-shaking soul jam of Vice, followed by the slow burn torch song Barricade. Other highlights include the 60s pop infused Mockingbird, the 60s folk influenced Fortress. Also the dramatically unfolding waltz Mother of Wolves, sung in resounding harmony with guitarist and backing vocalist Matthew Molarius.
Bennett’s lilting lead vocals swing easily from sweet to powerful in the tradition of Judy Collins and Cass Elliott. The album’s vintage recording techniques also reveal a fondness for the roomy, bright recordings of that era. Bennett wrote these songs in partnership with lyricist/percussionist Alfred Howard, keyboardist Josh Rice and Molarius. Howard and Molarius also recorded and produced The Midnight Pine. Calling on the talented pool of session players of their Redwoods record label helped them flesh out the tunes. This is follow up to The Midnight Pine’s well received second release, Buried.
Text © The Redwoods 2020