Sunday, February 07, 2010

Hasn't Come Out Yet: Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt

Release Date: April 13, 2010

This weekend, I was very pleasantly surprised to receive a promo copy of an album that I didn't even realize was coming out. The new full-length from Sweden's Tallest Man on Earth called The Wild Hunt. His 2008 release, Shallow Graves, was the best Dylan album that Dylan didn't release. And The Wild Hunt is even better. It's actually the best album I've heard so far this year.

The Wild Hunt does exactly what Shallow Graves did so magnificently, unapologetically jamming raspy vocals a hair above the tolerability index in between delicately folky finger-pickings and strums. And the melodies (my God, the melodies.), they're as soul-soothing as any Carter Family song or Bill Monroe jam. The sound of nature speaks coolly through Kristian Matsson, furthering proof that Sweden might be the most wonderful place in the world. At least musically speaking.

His voice attacks the treble range of the eardrum so directly and purposefully, it's a delight to hear such abandon and under-production in 2010. In a time that seems very "over" the resurrection of folk rock, Tallest Man on Earth is making a sound argument for its permanence.

I missed Tallest Man on Earth last year when he was on tour with Bon Iver, but when I talked with friends who were at one of the shows, almost all of them claimed that Tallest Man on Earth was more engaging with his sole voice and acoustic guitar strapped to his back than the fully-banded Bon Iver. Since this album will be released in April, we can probably expect a North American tour soon. Possibly even a headlining trip.

If anything negative can be said about The Wild Hunt, it's that it's too short (just under 35 minutes). But it is one of those albums that you want to start over at track one and let play all the way through again as soon as it's over. There isn't a weak track, and it's the first great album I've heard in 2010. It's warming me up on this cold February night.

Download the excellent first single, King of Spain: HERE

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