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Amen Dunes + Kevin Morby + Nude Beach

  • Music, Rock and indie
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Amen Dunes
Photograph: Tuomas KopijaakkoAmen Dunes

Time Out says

Love, the latest from singer-songwriter Damon McMahon’s Amen Dunes project, isn’t the kind of LP that instantly knocks you out. Which might account for why the record, blending McMahon’s Devendra Banhart–esque vocal quavers with a sparse and dreamy sonic landscape, didn’t crack those best-albums-of-2014 lists from the indie-rock cognoscenti. But let Love in, people. After a few spins, its dark yet lush palette will suck you in.

Love is a step forward for McMahon, whose previous efforts had an off-the-cuff, bedroom-recorded quality. (His 2009 debut, DIA, was laid down in a cabin in the Catskills.) Here, however, McMahon took his time, tweaking these 11 tracks for a year before bringing them to a Montreal studio to polish them further with members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, yielding a warm, lived-in sound.

The patience paid off. On one end, there’s “Sixteen,” consisting merely of a few piano chords and McMahon’s soaring voice (the chorus, simply: “Today, my love, you’re gone”). On another, “I Can’t Dig It,” set to a brash, blaring guitar riff you wouldn’t expect from a guy who’s often compared to Will Oldham, Skip Spence and the demos of Syd Barrett.

Arrive at this week’s Dunes show early for a solo set from Kevin Morby, who, as it happens, listened to Love every day for a month. The former Woods member and Babies frontman shares McMahon’s dog-eared, man-on-the-road mysticism, as heard on last year’s excellent Still Life.—Tim Lowery


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