The Kingsbury Manx, The Kingsbury Manx (2000)
Ok, let's mellow out a bit here. Or a lot. As a chronic insomniac, I'm always looking for music that might help me drift off, or at least not mind being stuck in a permanent state of semi-awakeness... And while that usually sends me into the arms of Brian Eno, this album is way up there.
Does that mean it's boring? No, in fact, it's downright beautiful. Just pleasantly tranquil.
North Carolina's Kingsbury Manx issued a half dozen or so albums that occupied the space between folky Americana and dream pop, comparable to, say, Bon Iver or Great Lake Swimmers or Iron & Wine and Calexico. But on this, their self-titled first album, the closest comparison is Pink Floyd. Specifically, the brief folky-Floyd period between the Syd Barrett days and the post-Dark Side of the Moon monster years. Think the quiet pieces on More and Obscured By Clouds.
The album is best encapsulated in its epic centerpiece "Piss Diary," and once you get past the title, you're left with the most hypnotically beautiful song you'll hear all year. "Regular Hands" is another great track, just lying back on the river bank dreaming of the water slowly rolling by. And "Whether Or Not It Matters" is particularly Floyd-ian (if when you think Floyd you think "Grantchester Meadows" or "If"), gentle finger-picked guitars and hushed vocals.
While the album is most effective on sleepless nights and lazy Sunday mornings, if you happen to live in a state with legalized recreational use -- because I'm not about to suggest anything remotely illegal -- the album would also well-serve those times when your mind is detached and floating skyward. Just speculating here, of course.
The following year's Let You Down picked up where this left off, more great, mellow tracks; later albums were a little more varied and less sleepy but still quite solid. Alas, they have since disbanded.
I don't think there are any official videos for the album, but, hey, here's someone setting their scenic vacation photos to "Piss Diary":