Hymns for a Dark Horse

(DOC017 released: 06/19/2008)

“Only once every ten years or so does one hear a new band this good, this bursting with ideas, this audibly in love with music… It is beyond stunning. This band is the complete package.”

Ears tend to prick up when a record review sings praises like these, especially when the praises come from the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle, as they did recently on his Last Plane to Jakarta website hailing the Bowerbirds’ debut album, Hymns for a Dark Horse.

Dead Oceans is overjoyed to be sharing the sounds of Bowerbirds with listeners worldwide. Hymns for a Dark Horse was originally released in July of 2007 on Burly Time Records, and now will be issued in an expanded form featuring two bonus tracks.

In their early days, Bowerbirds were a duo–guitarist and principle songwriter Phil Moore and accomplished painter Beth Tacular on accordion and percussion. Before the recording of Hymns for a Dark Horse, Mark Paulson joined the band, adding piano, violin and percussion to their musical equation. All three members share intertwined vocal harmonies, and paired with the acoustic instrumentation, have conjured a mystical, gorgeous debut.

Moore and Tacular currently reside in an AirStream trailer on the outskirts of Raleigh, NC, on a quiet plot of land that is completely off the grid. This sort of organic, rural, simple way of life is reflected in their music. The songs could be written underneath a moonlit sky, joyously sung around a campfire, and performed without the use of any electric amplification. The music is pure, spiritual and perfectly unrefined, and with each song, Bowerbirds remind us that we humans are part of something larger than our culture, larger than humanity — something beautiful and sacred.

  • 1. Hooves
  • 2. In Our Talons
  • 3. Human Hands
  • 4. Dark Horse
  • 5. Bur Oak
  • 6. My Oldest Memory
  • 7. The Marbled Godwit
  • 8. Slow Down
  • 9. The Ticonderoga
  • 10. Olive Hearts
  • 11. La DenigraciĆ³n
  • 12. Matchstick Maker

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