Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Under the Radar: The Acorn

While we at The middleCoast pride ourselves on staying current with the best new music, we frequently miss remarkably talented acts, failing to bring you, the reader, necessary knowledge. Of course, if you really wanted to stay completely current with the best new music, you'd be reading Pitchfork right now instead of The middleCoast. Nevertheless, we present a new feature for the times artists slip through the cracks: Under the Radar.

The Acorn make music best described as: Of the Earth. Or, Earthy. Organic, if you will (but not in the annoying marketing-ploy version of the term). Their brand of Americana is admittedly eschew, as they hail from Ottawa, but like their Canuck compatriots - Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade - their sound is small-scale epic, focusing on the specific to signify the universal. Simple melodies over chants, stomps, and dense (but balanced) arrangements featuring instruments from various regions, as well as field recordings, give them an all-natural vibe. The Acorn likely fit into whatever box you'd also categorize Fleet Foxes or Firewater or Beirut, but in the end they just happen to be really great indie rock.

Glory Hope Mountain is the latest release, out through Paper Bag Records. At heart it is a concept album from singer/songwriter Rolf Klausener about his mother, Gloria Esperanza Montoya (hence the album title). In a stunningly intimate portrait, Klausener tells of how Gloria was orphaned in her native Honduras - her mother's death in childbirth and her father's abuse - and her subsequent journey to Montreal in the '70s. Klausener's rendering of her life, however, is a subtle weave, and there is no heavy-handedness in the dealing of the material.

Check out the beautifully crafted video by director Christopher Mills for "Flood Pt. 1":

Unfortunately, The Acorn made their way through Chicago earlier this year, so it may be a spell before we get another chance to see them live. And if these tracks on HearYa.com are any indication, they give a masterful performance.

Make friends @ http://www.myspace.com/theacorn.


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