The Pines: Above the Prairie
The Pines describe themselves as “transcendental folk.” The group — who hail from Moonrise, Iowa, but have strong local ties due in part to their longstanding relationship with St. Paul’s Red House Records — have never sounded more transcendental than on Above the Prairie, the new album they’re releasing on Friday. The title, illustrated with a cover that shows a sky full of stars above a cabin in a field, fits the Hearts of Space vibes they tap with the synths that wash over the whole album. Don’t think ’80s, though: think Springsteen in the ’90s, when electronic keyboards murmured behind emotive story-songs like “Philadelphia” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” The Pines are currently on tour behind the album; the tour concludes with a March 18 gig at First Avenue. Above the Prairie is now streaming on Folk Alley.
Ellis: The Guest House
Ellis’s Facebook page describes her as “very responsive to messages.” Of course she is, because Ellis Delaney is basically the nicest person on Earth, and you can hear that in her music. Her aptly-titled new album, The Guest House, is sure to be a cozy place to curl up, full of the solid songwriting and precise but warm arrangements that have marked the Minneapolis-via-Texas musician’s entire career. Ellis will be among friends — including Radoslav Lorković, Vicky Emerson, and Desdamona — on Saturday night at the Cedar for an album-release show.
Sawtooth Brothers: One More Flight
“A group of four talented musicians looking to make a name for themselves,” wrote Lilli Speakman in a recent Local Current profile, “Sawtooth Brothers are a band that will redefine your understanding of what bluegrass can be.” Though the band — featuring not one but two pairs of brothers — have been playing together for a decade, they consider One More Flight the debut album of their current lineup; it’s also their first album of entirely original music. They’ll be at the Fine Line for an album release show on Friday, supported by Dead Horses and the Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League.
Yeah Wings: It Feels Like Laughing With You
“I can’t wait for everyone to hear this sad, sad album,” writes Collin Dall — a.k.a. slowcore artist Yeah Wings. If you get excited about Band of Horses, saddle up for “deep cut dynamics and meditative, monolithic lyrical styling” that constitute a musical “home for cold and lonely folks of the Twin Cities thru the brutal winter season.” Embrace the kind of loneliness you can find in a crowd of likeminded folks at the Hexagon on Feb. 11, where you’ll find Dall making melancholy with the new material.
Demolition Means Progress: Lovesongs for Saboteurs
I won’t speculate as to exactly which buildings this St. Paul band were thinking of when they chose their name, but their dryly peppy sound — think John Darnielle fronting the Byrds — will provide an apt soundtrack to any activity involving a wrecking ball you might have in mind. Conveniently, they’ve separated the album into a work-life balance: “side A is life, side B is work.” Well, a little less work if you’re not listening to vinyl. The quartet will cross the river for Friday’s release show at the 331, with Niki Becker for sure and cake maybe.