Band Of Horses: Everything All The Time (2006)
Their 2006 debut remains my favorite, though all of their albums have enough solid material to make them worthwhile purchases. Frontman Ben Bridwell, the one constant among multiple personnel changes, came out of indie act Carissa's Wierd [sic], a terrific little bedroom project that was somewhere between stripped-down angsty indie rock and dream pop. For Band of Horses, he upped the sonics, giving the album an almost arena-friendly wallop. The songs are largely comparable to the freak folk of, say, Iron & Wine or Fleet Foxes, but crossed with classic rock muscle out of the My Morning Jacket playbook, with reverb-drenched riffs to spare.
The aptly-titled opening track "The First Song" is slow and brooding, with big, jangling guitars slowly strummed and Bridwell's distinctive high-end wail in a wash of cymbals. It sounds perfect for backdropping the closing credits of a moody indie film, sweeping and cinematic. There are some grandiose rockers like 'Wicked Gil" and the MMJ-like "Weed Party," and slow burners like the compellingly percussive "Our Swords," with its rolling rhythm section, and the epic goth-tinged "The Funeral." The album closes with a couple quieter, more acoustic numbers, but throughout it just feels big, like an understated Americana-ish indie release trying to break free of its restraints.
It's one of my faves form the aughts, a great spin that totally fills the room.
Here's a live "Weed Party":