09.26.2015 — “Bugbear” by Wickerbird

Blake Cowan (Wickerbird)

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Bugbear” by Wickerbird (2015, from the album The Leaf Maker).

Wickerbird is the ambient indie-dream folk recording project of Blake Cowan, from Mt. Rainier, Washington. Yesterday, he released The Leaf Maker, his second full-length album. If you like Fleet Foxes and the newest Grouper record, this should be very much up your alley.

As the story goes, Cowan was enrolled at college in New York City. After his sophomore year, he decided to return to his native Washington and retreated to a cabin in the woods. There, he wrote the songs that became The Leaf Maker. The songs are both inspired by and odes to the mountain itself. The mountain, by the way, is an active volcano. It hasn’t erupted in over a century, and there isn’t any evidence pointing to an imminent eruption, but it is still considered to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. They say the mudflows that an eruption would cause could reach and potentially destroy Seattle, which is 50 miles away.

I had never heard of Wickerbird until I got something in the mail bag yesterday, and it didn’t take long to win me over. To be honest, I haven’t even listened to the rest of the album, because I’m just mesmerized by this song and “The Coppice/A Haunting”, which are tracks #2 and #4 respectively. These songs are beautiful, mysterious, and haunting. Like the newest Grouper record, it seems like a perfect thing to listen to late at night, after you’ve already settled in to bed.

“Bugbear” by Wickerbird

The Fleet Foxes and Grouper analogies are easy ones to make, in part because of the way the vocals are treated. They’re quite nice, but they sound really distant and have a significant amount of delay added. That’s a main part of the ghostly, beautiful soundscape.

Also, please enjoy the video for the song. It’s breathtaking and super-mysterious. It features two mask-clad nymph-like figures along a deserted stretch of beach on the Pacific Ocean, and a mysterious wooden box. It’s actually “part one” of a two-part video series. Part two is the aforementioned “The Coppice/A Haunting”, which follows the nymph-like figures into the woods The videos are as lovely as the songs.

You can grab a digital download of The Leaf Maker for $5 USD via bandcamp here. Also, check out the bandcamp page to get lyrics for all of the songs. It would be completely impossible to guess those lyrics.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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