Thursday, January 30, 2014

Phosphorescent's Muchacho - Live this Weekend

I can agree with Phosphorescent’s Matthew Houck that he's probably never made music as good as the songs found on his 2013 album, Muchacho. Houck is realistic about how Muchacho turned out - repeatedly telling critics and writers that, after releasing five albums as Phosphorescent, he simply got better at songwriting. Naturally, right? Don’t get me wrong; just because the brilliant Americana anthems he wrote for Muchacho, while holed away in small-town Mexico, were some of the best of 2013 - doesn't mean we can't appreciate the early albums he released as the newly coined Phosphorescent. His 2010 album Here's to Taking it Easy was the first I heard of the croaky alt-country artist, and I loved it for what it was. Most of the ingredients that make today's Phosphorescent so magical were there then, obviously: his easygoing drawl, pianos that duel guitars on both jangly and melancholy saloon songs. Take this old song, for example. While it has a lovable country drift and bouncy piano finish - it's only a sample of what we were served on Muchacho; an album so shock full of meaning and soul that every single anthem bursts with a hearty revelation of some sort.

What we got with Muchacho were songs like “The Quotidian Beasts.” While it might not have been one of the most played or written about singles off the album, I think it’s songs like this that embody exactly how momentous the album was. Explosive, stage-rattling jams – actually quite spiritual in their make-up – are the real guts of Muchacho. And, if they’re only going to get better from here on out, we can expect to have a hefty discography of timeless Americana classics from this guy.

For me, “The Quotidian Beasts” was an immediate classic upon first listen – a notion secured by seeing the song performed live for the first time this past summer. In a cut-off black tank and tight black pants, probably boiling under the mid-afternoon August sun, the guitars wailed and pianos built underneath Houck’s howl and I felt more alive with every single word and beat. I get to see it performed live again this weekend – and, until then, I’ll be re-living that moment in my head on repeat.

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