Damien Jurado’s Fantastic New Album, “Mariqopa,” Streaming on A.V. Club

Feb 14th, 2012 in Music

As reported here back in November, one of our most anticipated albums of 2012 is Damien Jurado’s Mariqopa, which will finally be released next week on Secretly Canadian.  Jurado’s 2010 album, Saint Bartlett, made our Top Albums list for 2010 and his album, Rehearsals for Departure, is one of our all-time favorites.

As can be immediately heard on the opening track, Nothing Is the News, Jurado’s recent comrade on Saint Bartlett, the ascendant producer Richard Swift (Mynabirds, Gardens & Villa, etc.), has taken Jurado’s usual highwater songwriting and expanded his sound palette in fittingly ambitious ways to lift his songs even higher.  Jurado has never hidden his appreciation for Neil Young and has subconsciously (at a minimum; just listen to that falsetto) paid homage to Young over the years in his songs.   So it’s not a great surprise that at times on Mariqopa, Swift seems to be to Jurado as Jack Nitzsche was to Neil Young on Young’s seminal Harvest album.  Nitzsche reached high on the Harvest songs he produced, and the rest is beautifully bombastic musical history.  On Mariqopa we hear Nitszchean strings, waves of guitar, children’s choirs, keyboards, flutes, horns and most of the rest of the kitchen sink.  The Swift one also brings Phil Spector and Dave Fridmann production elements to the mix, though at the right times rightfully defers to Jurado’s vocals.

Highlights off the album (so far):  Reel to Reel (with its Flaming Lips feel), Working Titles (with its pointed lyrics and Motown-ish backup vocals), the very Young-ian Mountains Still Asleep and Everyone a Star, the poignant So On, Nevada, and Museum of Flight (with its propulsive rhythms and fab falsetto vocals).  That’s right, we didn’t leave many songs off the highlights list.  That’s because it’s a tour de force from stem to stern.  He’s one of our best.  Check it out.

Go stream Mariqopa over at the A.V. Club HERE.  And then pick up the album when it comes out next week.

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