I’m featuring Listener over at Decoy Music for this weekend. I think he’s an interesting counterpoint to La Dispute's Wildlife, which we featured during the week.
“Dan Smith and Christin Nelson are Listener, and together they have brought their unique brand of ‘Talk Music’ to audiences around the globe. Combining spare, folky instrumentation with Southern accent-inflected, spoken-word poetry, Listener invokes everything we love about bands like mewithoutYou and La Dispute— except Smith predates both of them. And with July’s release of Wooden Heart, there’s never been a better time to bend an ear toward Smith. Breaking away from his early hip-hop roots, Wooden Heart is more organic and melodic, putting the focus on his words and the emotions behind them.
Lead single ‘Falling in Love with Glaciers’ is at first a gradual climb, tinged with brass and percussion, that explodes forth in an emotional paroxysm, while ‘Failing is Not Just for Failures’ is caustic with a bassy groove, as Smith laments, ‘I lost my best friend to sadness,’ then shouts, with hope, ‘We are the ones living right now, clamoring around on top of everyone, but it has to hurt of it’s to heal. Well my god, it must be healing, it’s like a knife in the heart, and I’m starting to lose feeling. It’s gonna hurt before it heals, but the pain is getting bigger, this dam’s about to go, and I’m running out of fingers. It’ll hurt but it will heal, I’m starting to believe it.’
Wooden Heart is an intimate, emotional experience, and there’s nothing else like Listener out there right now.”