Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Judas Horse - "Holy War" (2011) [Inherent Records]

It's rather hard to pinpoint just what The Judas Horse is. At their heart they are undoubtedly a folk band, paying homage to the greats like Neil Young and the Carter Family, but there is much more going on under the surface. I've seen the word "slowcore" thrown around, and I can definitely liken the wonderful male/female vocal harmonies and the overall emotionally reserved, laid back style to the quiet sounds of bands like Red House Painters, and yet the driving, thick basslines are reminiscent of danceable post-punk that took the music scene by storm in the '80s.

Holy War shows the trio of Meghan Mulhearn (also of USX), Linn Rogers, and David Lynch (who has the greatest name ever, also of Enoch) exploring their various ranges of influence in a hypnotic, fluid sort of way that is highly indicative of the innovative Appalachian scene. Though the pulsating guitar and bass rhythm section has a wonderful, lulling sort of quality, I really feel that this short EP is centered around Meghan Mulhearn's wondrous, melancholic violin, which resides somewhere between sleepy bluegrass and "pioneer folk." If you're looking for an extremely relaxing, introspective, spacey album, Holy War is definitely for you.

What really struck me, aside from the music, was The Judas Horse's unconventional physical release of the EP. You won't find a CD, tape, or record here, rather a gorgeous, professionally done art print with a bandcamp download because, let's face it, people only want the physical part of a release to display while they listen to album rips on their computer. I hear an LP release is on the horizon, though, and you know I'll be all over that like stink on a mule.

Stream the Holy War EP here.


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