• j b m Stray Ashes (180g vinyl LP + CD, £8.25)

    label: fargo

    After an intense year of touring, Brooklyn-based recording artist Jesse Marchant, a.k.a. JBM, felt an insatiable need quietly gestating. After a much-needed break, he relocated to a remote cabin in the Catskills and started the long process of writing and recording Stray Ashes, his UK debut and follow-up to 2010's limited edition ‘Not Even in July’. Rather than starting with an acoustic guitar and vocals, Marchant experimented with drums and loops of electric guitar melodies. John Congleton joined the project for additional recording and mixing and his contributions help to define a sonic space throughout ‘Stray Ashes’ that perfectly cradles Jesse's earnest vocals, as do the additional performances of McKenzie Smith (of Midlake, Drums), and Macey Taylor (of A.A. Bondy, Bass) on several tracks, which were recorded by Congleton in his Texas studio. The gauzy sonic blanket Marchant and Congleton have created provides a foundation for this mysterious collection of songs. ‘Stray Ashes’ tested the limits of loneliness and self-discipline, and reveals itself to be a dark, dynamic and raw album. It flows with refined grace and intense force, with the elegance in restraint of Marchant’s haunting vocals and arrangements enveloping the listener in a sound that is at once eerie and comforting. "..the Lambchop like 'Crooked Branches' sighs along to sumptuous pedal steel and the splendidly titled (and yes, Bon Iver ish) 'On Fire On A Tightrope' is a show-stopping torch ballad struggling to get out" –Uncut (7/10) "JBM has concocted a glorious half-dream of a third album..for once that cabin may not be a pose, the long hard winter not a metaphor, and this guy actually for real." –MOJO****

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