“Scatter the Remains,” Guy Capecelatro III
Burst and Bloom Records
File under: Bedroom Folk, Pop, Americana
Sounds like: Damien Jurado, Unbunny, and Magnolia Electric Co. wrote a soundtrack to a Spike Jonze movie
They say you can judge a person, or perhaps even a musician, by the company they keep. For decades, Guy Capecelatro has consistently and deservedly found himself in the best company the Seacoast has to offer. As one of the area’s most prolific songwriters, he’s a lynchpin in music community, humbly compiling an exhaustive roster of collaborating musicians, artists, and writers — and all of them friends. Guy’s songcraft may be eclipsed only by his ability to choose the perfect companions with whom to perform them. This trait has bolstered his endearing, endlessly productive career and his brilliant new album, “Scatter the Remains.”
Guy’s numerous records have always succeeded, in part, because a good storyteller can create the feeling they’re sitting right next to you. The space he occupies with the listener has always been quaint and cozy, even with the trove of musicians that play on each record. On “Scatter the Remains,” Chris Decato’s remarkable production has revealed an atmosphere and detail we never would have realized were missing from Guy’s stories. That familiar space is opened up a bit, with dynamic guitar tracks, airy keyboards, and bright digital effects that illuminate, rather than obscure, the narrative and pop sensibilities.
The result is a mature, captivating indie-folk album that spans 10 buoyant tracks. Highlights include the spirited opener, “My Every Cell,” the electronic refrains of “Unknowable” and the lilting “Stupid Moon.” The record coalesces on the rocking Americana gem, “Doing Time.” When Capecelatro and Jocelyn Mackenzie (of Pearl and The Beard) belt out the chorus together, “Let’s get in the truck and drive back to Kentucky,” I’m ready to go with them. It’s hard not to get lost in this record, one of the best local releases this year. And that’s just how it is when a storyteller, and his friends, sit next to you and tell a great tale.
Guy Capecelatro III will be playing with Tiger Saw and Mara Flynn at the Red Door on Monday, Dec. 22.
“Self-Titled,” Thrift Store Ransom
75 Or Less Records
File under: Folk, Americana,
Sounds like: Impromptu jams from The Byrds, Electric Light Orchestra, Elvis Costello, and
Thrift Store Ransom was born out of the annual RPM Challenge. As many RPM alumni know, to write and record an entire album in the year’s shortest month is a journey best experienced with friends. The studio project that began with songwriter Eric Ott and Sean Yadisernia quickly grew to a gathering of 10, including Guy Capecelatro, producer Chris Decato and even Ott’s daughter, Lindsay, who contributed the majority, and the best, of the albums’ lyrics.
The band’s name is, in a sense, literal, as if Ott, Yadisernia, and company have raided a thrift store and plucked out gems from the past. The songs travel from decade to decade, employing the best sounds of their respective eras. The ’60s are well represented in the pop hooks on the album’s standout track, “Moonshine,” and the slow psychedelic sounds of “Cold Blue.” The ’70s “Crazy Horse”-inspired sounds of “The Mill Song #2” give way to the ’80s Costello-esque ender, “Crescent Palms.” The transitions are seamless, and combined with Ott’s resonant vocals, make for traveled-time well spent.
Ott is recording new solo material and playing with Nate Laban in Bear, Brook and The Elephant. Let’s hope he finds an occasion to bring Thrift Store Ransom together again. It would be interesting to see what they could do with more time, literally and figuratively.
“Dig,” Deidre Randall
File Under: Folk, Country,
Sounds Like: Gillian Welch, Rosanne Cash, Lucinda Williams
Deidre Randall’s storied career in the Seacoast spans decades. Along the way, she’s earned numerous accolades for her music and poetry. It’s been 10 long years since her last album, time in which she raised a family and hens. She’s also been writing all the while. With a new star-studded cast of players, Randall’s “Dig” is a triumphant return.
Farming and family have reshaped and re-sharpened Randall’s repertoire. The songs on “Dig” are more direct and more calloused than the softer, brighter bluegrass of her previous efforts but still retain their memorable hooks. The incredible production from Marc McElroy, Guy Capecelatro III and Chris O’Neill creates the perfect stage for Randall’s fiery vocals and gritty stories.
On the redemptive track, “A New Girl,” Randall proudly proclaims, “I’m not the girl I used to be” and that she’s “found my feet, and you’ll see, I’m a new girl.” With “Dig,” Randall has re-established herself and crafted a powerful record as a monument.