Release date: 26 November 2013
Harlem River is the debut album of Kansas City indie/folk musician Kevin Morby (also from The Babies and Woods) as a solo artist. Wurlitzer and organ support a wandering acoustic guitar. The instrumental passages are amiable and lackadaisical, which mask horrific lyrics of shooting up a town, harboring a crushing unrequited love toward a married ex, and contemplating drowning oneself in the eponymous river. This contrast is reminiscent of the heartbreaking slowcore/sadcore experiments of Mark Kozelek during his tenure in Red House Painters; Morby has a similar aged-beyond-years vagabond demeanor. Fatalism sheds itself in soft twee harmony, as if Harlem River laments innocence and its loss. There is some blues influence in use of harmonica and exploration of themes involving the destitute yet hardworking individual. The stories are painful, but there is hope for the departed. Maybe things will turn out okay after all.
Some tracks are good for morning shows. Released on Woodsist.
All clean. Cuts are in bold, and those for morning shows have asterisks.
*1. Miles, Miles, Miles – (4:48)
*2. Wild Side (O, the Places You’ll Go) – (5:40)
3. Harlem River – (9:15)
*4. If You Leave, and If You Marry – (3:39)
5. Slow Train, feat. Cate Le Bon – (5:50)
*6. Reign – (4:09)
*7. Sucker in the Void – (4:02)
8. The Dead They Don’t Come Back – (4:39)
RIYL: Low, José González, The American Analog Set, Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, Cate Le Bon, Mark Kozelek, Woods