A Hidden Treasure by Little Silver

by delarue

Little Silver put out their debut album The Stolen Souvenir before this blog existed. But that’s no reason to ignore this quietly brilliant piece of darkly psychedelic folk-rock from Brooklyn, from the summer of 2010. Erika Simonian and Hem’s Steve Curtis weave a darkly hypnotic web of guitars with occasional extra texture from banjo and piano, and join voices for an apprehensive, gorgeously nocturnal feel.

The title track is slow and sparse, kind of a big sky theme, banjo mingling tersely with the acoustic and electric guitars and some sweet vocal harmonies. Food from the Cow is done as a nocturne, sparse, haunting electric guitars intertwining and growing more crepuscular, Simonian’s vocals more lush than on her own recording of this song (from her classic 2004 album All the Plastic Animals), emphasizing the lyrics’ bitter resignation. They do Leadbelly’s Irene, Goodnight as a sad farewell, adding layers of guitar until it practically collapses with heartbreak: it’s as poignant as it is hypnotic and psychedelic. The last track, Sleep Til Morning reminds of Hem, a lingering, slow, warily atmospheric folk ballad with echoey electric piano that’s the closest thing here to contentment – although it never becomes more than an approximation. “You draw the dreamland right into the day/I watch my waking thoughts, I watch my way,” the two intone as the piano ends it with an austere elegance.

They’ve also got an album of covers titled Dress Up which came out earlier this year, with similarly pensive, more country-flavored versions of songs by Chris Whitley, the Cure, Hem, Sun Kil Moon and the Speedies. Both albums are streaming at Little Silver’s Bandcamp site.