Originally a musical outlet for Columbia songwriter Tyler Gordon, Barnwell has emerged as a rock band worthy of attention and close listening. 2014’s The First Ghost was the soundtrack to a young man’s attempt at reconciling his spirituality with the harmless banality of secular life. Though musically Spartan, the album reintroduced Columbia to Gordon’s songcraft after years of separation. Motel Art, released last March, represents the realization of Ghost’s promises. Themes are revisited and excavated further, now against bigger hooks and a sense of joy its predecessor artfully dodged. Listen to the tunes here and here.
The Mustache Brothers seem superhumanly immune to the self-doubt that hangs precariously over the heads of many of their peers. Their reverence for traditional Americana stylings – from backwoods balladeering to ragtime stompers – is just as obvious as their penchant for jammy digression. Through it all, their harmonies are among the tightest in the Midlands and their burly confidence makes every decision appear preordained. Check out the music here.