Monday, February 14, 2011

Featured Artist: Mountain Man

I saw these lovely ladies open for the Decemberists this past Saturday in LA at the Wiltern and I was completely enamored with their sound. Such a lovely dichotomy of seemingly contradictory elements: spare but layered, haunted but comforting, simple but textured, endearingly tenuous yet composed, alluring but unsettling...
Their empyrean harmonies are at once both light and refined in intention but filmy and foggy in their effortless execution. Their sound is a ghostly, gossamer throwback to the haunted hills of the Appalachians or the chilly forests of the coast. They have been designated the new, female Fleet Foxes. Check out their label summary:

Mountain Man
Made the Harbor

We made the harbor filled with wind, bellowing sea lions, and sand dollars from past loves, current sisters. What we have collected are chimes in the salty air. Made the Harbor is an album to swim home to, and to sail away with. It grazes the horizon with its sails.

Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath met at Bennington College, in the small town of Bennington, Vermont. They are from the West, Middle West and Eastern United States. It was not until Molly visited Bennington during a term off that the seeds of Mountain Man were set on the windowsill. At the sound of Molly playing a song in the living room of their shared house, Amelia rushed down the stairs and demanded it be taught to her. At this point, Molly and Amelia were not friends. But they shared the bond of mutual heartbreak, of having been left with space between open arms. Amelia trapped Molly in her room upstairs where she sang “Dog Song” over and over, bewildered and a little afraid, until Amelia felt she could remember it well enough to teach Alex. When Molly came back to Bennington in the spring, Alex and Amelia excitedly sprang into her room, and all three sang together for the first time. They were equally bewildered by each other and by the sounds they made together. Molly and Amelia are still in school, studying Performance and Gender, and Theater and Performance, respectively. Alex graduated in the spring of 2009 with a degree in Literature and Visual Arts. She is now a nanny for two wonderful children.

The music of Mountain Man is nestled in the tradition of American folk, but shoots like diamond dust out of the nest into the high, wide atmosphere. Their songs are shaped by three searching voices, encompassing harmonies and a shared belief in and love of the world. They are mutually moved to sing by their love for people, and for trees, birds and mountains, the ocean, the night, the moon, and being a woman. They all love the rambling, rumbling, rolling summer….

Recorded in an old ice cream parlor from the turn of the 20th century, each track of Made the Harbor is imbued with the likes of warm breaths, creaking of floors, soft thumping of hands against their bodies, the clearing of their throats, or the false start of a tune, evoking the feeling of being in the room with the band as the record plays: demand for intimacy between the art and its listener.

Happy trails,


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