several years ago, much to equal amounts surprise and delight of both artists’ fans, fiona apple and nickel creek went on tour together. what seemed like a curious combination turned out to be a perfect match, with the artists sharing the stage with great regularity and, subsequently, great results. since that time, it seems apple’s kept a relationship with the nickel creek triumvirate and she’s hooked up with chris thile’s latest incarnation, punch brothers, for a new track.
a non-profit writing and tutoring center in los angeles, 826la, has organized one of the more creative and unique fundraisers i’ve seen in quite some time. as a creative writing exercise in a songwriting workshop for kids, students wrote original songs that were then performed and recorded by artists such as she & him, cold war kids, edward sharpe and the magnetic zeros and, of course, fiona apple/punch brothers. the artists were tasked with not changing any of the lyrics, but rather performing them just as the young students intended them. you can listen to the entire album here, but i thought i would post what i think is the standout track, so sleepy, featuring fiona apple, jon brion and punch brothers.
in addition to good new music that simply includes punch brothers, there’s actually quite a bit of new music that is actually the direct product of punch brothers. on june 15, their sophomore effort, antifogmatic is due for release. if i’m being honest, their debut release, punch, was somewhat disappointing. don’t get me wrong, instrumentally, it was an incredible album. and when there were lyrics, they were engaging and poignant. but…the lyrics were few and far between and my musical aesthetic doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room for instrumental-driven albums.
antifogmatic is different. from all the tracks i’ve heard so far, it’s primarily vocal-driven…and they’re good. really good. while i haven’t heard most of the tracks in their entirety, i have discovered four tracks (3 from the album, 1 a cover) uploaded to youtube by a radio station out of charlottesville, virginia (WNRN). they’re incredibly well-done videos and the audio quality is great.
moreover than that, the songs are just really, really good. ultimately, the songs, to me, sound like classic nickel creek with a more fleshed-out sound (given the banjo and upright bass). lyrically, it’s chris thile doing what chris thile does best. beyond the 3 tracks from the upcoming album, they also throw in reptilia, a strokes cover.
this is the song