John Vanderslice, 'Emerald City' (Barsuk)

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Emerald City
Critical Mass
Label: Barsuk

by Jon Young

With a gift for creating troubled, realistic characters, gloomy San Francisco songwriter John Vanderslice excels at evoking a simmering dread, and Emerald City may be his most unsettling work yet. Tense folk-pop melodies and sorrowful vocals offer zero comfort in these portraits of loss, which range from a mother coping with a child's murder to survivors who can't forget burning towers and vaporized dust. Describing "dripping blood on the road," the lovely yet horrific "The Minaret" is the ultimate antiwar song for today.

Now Hear This: John Vanderslice - "White Dove" DOWNLOAD MP3

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