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Death Vessel — Stay Close [2005]

 Death Vessel — Stay Close [October 4, 2005]

USA Flag              Death Vessel — Stay Close 
••   Maine native makes earthy music from a distant star with a rotating cast of guests and beguiling vocals.
••   „What lends Death Vessel its unique charm is Thibodeau's voice...with an underlying inquisitiveness that's distinctly childlike.” — Dusted Magazine.
••   Country music just ain’t what it used t’be. This may be news if your formative experiences of music were primarily borne in white-hot forge of the last decade of the 20th Century. You’d probably be amazed to known that asking your mates to ‘come round and listen to a bit of country’ used to be about as welcome as getting a public smakerooney from Richard Gere.
Location: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Album release: October 4, 2005
Record Label: North East Indie (NEI37)/Immune ‎— Immune 001 (Vinyl, June 1, 2007)
Duration:     42:00
01. Mean Streak      (2:57)
02. Later In Life Lift      (3:06)
03. Blowing Cave      (4:11)
04. Break The Empress Crown      (5:13)
05. Nothing Left To Bury      (5:16)
06. Mandan Dink      (3:31)
07. Tidy Nervous Breakdown      (2:22)
08. Snow Don't Fall      (3:34)
09. Deep In The Horchata      (3:32)
10. White Mole      (4:35)
11. [Hidden Track]      (3:42)
•   Layout by Alec Thibodeau
•   Vinyl Mastering at SAE Mastering, Phoenix, AZ
•   Recorded at Palais Royale, Bryn Mawr, Penna.
•   Etched in the dead wax on Side B :
"Deep in the Horchata" Live 6.10.2005 @ SPACE — Portland, ME/recorded by Peter Nenortas
•   Track B6 is exclusive to this vinyl release and is not listed on the LP jacket. There is a lock-groove after B5 so to hear B6 you are required to manually drop your needle onto it. This is the "secret track" available only on this release
•   Pressed on high quality virgin vinyl at RTI in an edition of 500 copies.
•   Laura Baird  Claw Hammer Banjo, Vocals (Background)
•   Meg Baird  Vocals (Background)
•   Todd Barneson  Engineer, Guitar (Electric), Vocals, Vocals (Background)
•   Erik Carlson  Member of Attributed Artist
•   Pete Donnelly  Additional Personnel, Audio Engineer, Bass, Drums, Engineer, Guitar, Keyboards, Optigan, Producer, Vocals (Background)
•   Jesse Honig  Engineer
•   Jeff Lipton  Mastering
•   Barry MaGuire  Engineer
•   William Schaff  Illustrations
•   Brendan Skwire  Bass (Upright)
•   Micah Blue Smaldone  Guitar (Resonator), Vocals, Vocals (Background)
•   Alec Thibodeau  Illustrations, Layout Design
•   Joel Thibodeau  Bass Pedals, Fender Rhodes, Fiddle, Guitar, Guitar (Hollow Body), Guitar (Nylon String), Lap Steel Guitar, Mandolin, Organ, Unknown Contributor Role, Vocals
•   Townes Van Zandt  Composer
→   "The terrible band name makes Death Vessel sound like they're probably a Swedish black metal group, but in fact, their debut album is a charming exercise in country-ish folk-rock led by singer/songwriter Joel Thibodeau. There is no insult or judgment implied by this statement, but it must be said: Thibodeau sings like a girl. Seriously, anyone approaching this album without foreknowledge would simply assume that Death Vessel had a female lead singer with a voice along the lines of Gillian Welch or Tift Merritt. Thibodeau's twangy vocal style is the band's most immediately appealing element, followed by the easygoing lope of the band's arrangements, built mostly on acoustic instruments but with none of the straining for folk or country "authenticity" that hampers many similar albums. Thibodeau's primary musical partner, Erik Carlsson, formerly of the Rhode Island-based dream poppers Purple Ivy Shadows, is likely responsible for some of the more atmospheric touches that decorate these songs, but mandolin and banjo are equally well represented throughout. A low-key, unpretentious album, Stay Close is well worth a listen."
In french:
→   Premier album de Death Vessel, le groupe fondé par Joel Thibodeau. Je vous ai proposé le dernier en début d'année.
By Stephen M. Deusner | November 28, 2005 | Score: 7.2
→   There's an inescapable sideshow quality to the band Death Vessel. Listening to the 10 sepia-toned folk songs on its debut, Stay Close, you can almost hear some carnival barker loudly exhorting midwaygoers to step right up and see THE BOY WHO SINGS WITH THE VOICE OF A GIRL. Inside the tent sit a stage, an old microphone, and an unassuming man named Joel Thibodeau gently plucking an old guitar. None of it would strike anyone as out of the ordinary...until Thidodeau opens his mouth to sing. →   From that masculine frame emanates a woman's voice, one that doesn't just hit the higher registers like some Appalachian castrati, but possesses an assertive feminine lilt reminiscent of Laura Cantrell or Iris DeMent.
→   But this isn't the typical androgyny of glam, which has no freight in the Americana traditions Death Vessel adopts. Gender isn't an issue inherent in the band's music, but is projected onto it by listeners and passively undiscouraged by the artist himself. Thibodeau — who plays most of the instruments on the album — doesn't write from a female perspective — or from a male perspective either; on Stay Close the point of view is deliberately clouded by the delivery, which adds a layer of mystery to every note. As complex and compelling as it is, this aspect of Death Vessel proves as much a liability as an asset, often suggesting the mere novelty of a physical feat rather than actual artistry. On a few songs — most notably the jaunty openers "Mean Streak" and "Later in Life Lift" — Thibodeau's vocal delivery sounds like an end in itself, but more often it serves the purposes of his precisely crafted melodies and obscurely out-of-time lyrics, melding nicely into the mix of acoustic guitars, banjo, fiddle, and organ.
→   From the hand-drawn cover art to the history-bound, occasionally impenetrable lyrics — "The load is unneat, sprawling oddly/ J-ing the stern, pelicanly," he sings on "Blowing Cave" — Stay Close has an antiquated style reminiscent of the 1999 movie Wisconsin Death Trip, which reenacts 19th century news stories about wintry deaths and rural despairs. Occasionally this atmosphere sounds studied and rehearsed, but moments like the coda of "Nothing Left to Bury" and the menacing drum-guitar interplay on "Deep in the Horchata" suggest a creative investment that transcends put-on airs. A mortal dread, played out with tensely intertwined guitar lines and gusts of feedback, shadows "Blowing Cave" and "Tidy Nervous Breakdown", making even the capriciousness of upbeat songs like the bluegrass "Mandan Dink", about a leisurely day at a place called Picnic Rock, seem precarious.
→   Stay Close hits its stride on the last three songs, starting with his spacious cover of Townes Van Zandt's "Snow Don't Fall". On "Deep in the Horchata" he scratches out a melody on fiddle to echo his own vocals, as Daneil Mazone's drums stitch everything together. "White Mole" ends the album with a nearly instrumental coda, as Thibodeau's soft ooh's usher listeners out of his world and back into the hubbub of the midway. (http://pitchfork.com/)
• By David McGonigle | Score: ***
••   http://www.musicomh.com/reviews/albums/death-vessel-stay-close
• By Nathan Hogan
••   http://www.dustedmagazine.com/reviews/2052
••   https://megamart.subpop.com/releases/death_vessel/stay_close
• Matt Shimmer | Score: 88%
••   http://www.indieville.com/reviews/deathvessel.htm
• Paige La Grone Babcock
••   http://www.puremusic.com/66death.html
Website: http://www.deathvessel.com/
MySpace: https://myspace.com/deathvessel
Band members:
• Joel Thibodeau
Honorary and/or performing members:
• Erik Carlson — collaborations, guitars & noises
• John Carpenter — bass & singing
• Kyla Cech — violin & singing
• Pete Donnelly — recording engineer/producer & many instruments
• Mike Gent — drums & singing
• Don Larson — banjo, guitar, ukulele
• Matthew Loiacono — mandolin & singing
• Matt McLaren — drums & maracas
• Stephanie Rabins — fiddle, guitar & singing
• Pat Rock — bass & singing
• Chris Sadlers — upright bass
• Mike Savage — drums
• Micah Blue Smaldone — guitars & singing
• Alec Thibodeau — bass & singing
• Jeffrey Underhill — drums, guitar & singing
• Rachel Blumberg — drums
Guest musicians (in the studio):
• Laura Baird — banjo & singing
• Meg Baird — singing
• Todd Barneson — guitars & singing
• Freddie Berman — drums
• Jennifer Black — singing
• Lisa Corson — singing
• Tim Harbeson — coronet & pump organ
• Jesse Honig — drums
• Bon Lozaga — guitar
• Daneil Mazone — drums
• Jason McGill — alto saxophone
• Matty Muir — drums
• Hansford Rowe — singing
• Brendan Skwire — upright bass
• Chuck Treece — drums
• Stay Close (2005, North East Indie, ATP Recordings, Immune Records, Sub Pop)
• Nothing Is Precious Enough For Us (2008, Sub Pop)
• "Island Intervals" (2014)

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