The Playlist: Americana

Jason Molina … showcased at his finest on Soul. Photograph: Jordi Vidal/Redferns Benjamin Booker – Violent Shiver Benjamin Booker...

Jason Molina … showcased at his finest on Soul. Photograph: Jordi Vidal/Redferns

Benjamin Booker – Violent Shiver

Benjamin Booker is a young Floridian transplant to New Orleans, recently signed to Rough Trade, who plays a visceral, heart-thumping breed of rock'n’roll. This track sets out his stall: rampaging, infectious, and a voice that melds the juvenile and the world-weary. He plays his first UK dates next month, and if the wobbly clips on YouTube are anything to go by they should make for some incredible shows.

Lewis – I Thought the World of You

Both Lewis and his music seem to have evaporated soon after the release of his debut album, L’Amour, on private press in 1983. When Seattle label Light In the Attic set about reissuing the album they also embarked on a fruitless yet fascinating hunt for Lewis himself — a story that takes in Christie Brinkley, bounced cheques and a white Mercedes. The music itself is a gorgeous half-heard wisp of a thing, with shades of Arthur Russell, of which this track is perhaps the most compelling.

Dawn Landes – Try to Make a Fire Burn Again

Dawn Landes’s particular charm lies in her extraordinary voice – its prettiness always seeming to teeter on the brink of a deep and heavy melancholy. Here in this study of a marriage fallen apart, that voice has never sounded more plaintive or more toppled.

Felice Brothers – Saturday Night Alone

June brings us a new album from the Felice Brothers (recorded at Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis's studios in Omaha, Nebraska), and while the first single, Cherry Liquorice, is a breezy pop tune, the rest of the record is (pleasingly) a more stewed-in, mangled-up affair. This is a ramshackle yet radiant live performance of one of its finest tracks.

Songs: Ohia – Soul

The death of Songs: Ohia’s Jason Molina last spring, aged just 39, startled many. For all his struggles with alcohol, the scale and quality of his output since the late 90s had been remarkable. A reissue of early singles and rareties brings us this song, Soul, and showcases Molina at his finest: the strange twist and turn of his voice — slightly nasal, faintly raw, the burring way he sang the letter "r", and how pleasing that voice sounded over softly-brushed drums.


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