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Review: 'About Farewell' cathartic for Diane

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Brian Krasman
Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 7:53 p.m.
 

‘About Farewell'

Alela Diane (Rusted Blue)

★★★★

The last few years clearly were tough for singer-songwriter Alela Diane, who went through a divorce and has been forced to face tough situations. But her stripped-down new record “About Farewell” sounds like catharsis for her as she revisits past love and closes a chapter of her life for a new one.

Wildly different from her last record “Alela Diane & Wild Divine,” this 10-track record is rustic, often quiet, heartbroken, and emotionally sobering. “I hate to let you go,” she admits on the gorgeous title track, and there are dark emotions lurking elsewhere from “Nothing I Can Do” to “Before to Leaving” to “Black Sheep,” that manages to rock out a bit. The album often hurts, but hopefully it helped her come out on the right side.

‘Ceremony'

Anna Von Hausswolff (Other Music)

★★★½

Swedish artist Anna Von Hausswolff has figured out a way to make her liturgical-style organ playing and mix it with soulful indie pop to make a record that certainly stands apart the rest of the pack. This is a grower, but once you've got it, you won't be turning back.

The 13 songs on this record range from the instrumental hypnosis of “Epitaph of Theodor” and “Epitaph of Daniel” to the intoxicating melodies of wintry “Mountain Crave,” the feedback-drone-rich “No Body” and moody, emotional, sticky “Harmonica,” that's my favorite of the set. If you like to be challenged now and again, Von Hausswolff has just what you need.

‘If You Leave'

Daughter (Glassnote)

★★★★

Some albums and artists, for whatever reason, seem to fly way beneath the radar. Had my wife not been listening to radio station The Current and clued me in on them, I'd still be in the dark about the British gazey folk artists of Daughter.

Elena Tonra's gorgeous voice and dark poetic lyrics are the driving voice behind this excellent band, which backs her up with atmospheric noise to hammer home its points. High points? There are plenty, including reflective “Smother”; foreboding “Tomorrow”; and airy “Amsterdam,” where Tonra wonders, “Is this called living or something else?” Check out Daughter at Mr Smalls in September.

‘Prince Avalanche Original Movie Soundtrack'

Explosions in the Sky/David Wingo (Temporary Residence)

★★★½

Explosions in the Sky's music often has been described as cinematic, and the band is no strangers to contributing its sweeping, arresting music to a movie soundtrack. With composer David Wingo they're at it again, but don't go in expecting a typical ETIS-style project.

The songs for this film are quiet, woodsy, aquatic, and relatively short, as if they're there just to add color to film scenes. It's a really good piece, it feels very human, and the music makes me want to see the film (starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch) so I guess Explosions in the Sky and Wingo have done their job.

‘YT//ST'

YAMANTAKA//SONIC TITAN (Suicide Squeeze)

★★★½

The experimental Canadian artists of YAMANTAKA//SONIC TITAN not only have a bizarre name but a pretty unique approach to their catchy, spastic rock. It's a band that could turn on ambitious pop fans and more open-minded metal fans.

The band recently signed on with Suicide Squeeze, so the label is reissuing its killer 2011 debut that rocks, simmers, confuses and agitates. Core members Ruby Kato Attwood and Alaska B keep things moving and shaking with Raccoon Song,” “Reverse Crystal//Murder of a Spider,” and “A Star Over Pureland” on a record that sounds like nothing else you'll hear this year.

Brian Krasman is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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