Tuesday, March 31, 2009

DM Stith - Heavy Ghost

DM Stith
Heavy Ghost
(03.2009, Asthmatic Kitty)
RIYL = The Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, David Thomas Broughton

I don’t know why, but I have had a hard time getting my footing on this debut record, Heavy Ghost by DM Stith. I have listened to the record at least a dozen times over this past weekend (and plan on listening to it dozens and dozens of more times in the very near future) and just can’t quite get my head all the way around it. That, by the way, has been a very good thing. DM Stith has done something fantastic here, something brimming with magic; and oh, that voice! I hope you recognize by the RIYLs above that Stith’s voice is among the master class crooners of our generation. Completely unique in its tenor and, more importantly, its various melodic uses on Heavy Ghost. I’ve been mulling over this record in my head, trying to come to terms with it because I’ve just been plain eager to get something written and onto the interweb for display. This is one of those records that you immediately want to share just because it’s that good. So, aside from my wandering mumbling here, there very best thing you can do is click play on that YouTube player down there and take a listen for yourself. Anyway, I’ve just been thinking to myself “Heavy Ghost, Heavy Ghost,” and upin this reflection I have come to the realization that this is the perfect title. As an admission, I haven’t delved super deeply into Stith’s lyrics yet, but Heavy Ghost feels like the perfect title for this record in terms of aural ambience. There is just something weighty and otherworldly going on here that I’ve had the hardest time putting my finger on. It is not until I just gave up and gave in that I settled with Heavy Ghost, the album title, as the simple explanation for the lush darkness the broods throughout this little masterpiece here. I have noticed a couple comparisons to Grizzly Bear as a similar artist when reading reviews on Heavy Ghost. I agree with the comparison, there are some parallel lines of thought here, but just for the record: Heavy Ghost is just about ten times better than Veckatimest. Mmmm, there is just so much to love here and it is so consistently exultant. Stith places his vocals all over this thing like little ghostly haunts appearing as a cloud of mist behind his lead vocal lines. The orchestration here is incredible as well. Heavy Ghost is fleshed out fully, centered mostly on guitars but accompanied with al manner of brass, strings supplementation. It is al placed perfectly too. Nothing is overdone or underdone; it has all been managed with the perfect restraint. Heavy Ghost is a theater of baroque specters that have been bedded with the perfect balance of indulgence and restraint. For those who know me this will be the recommendation that is of most worth: DM Stith is an album that you must purchase on vinyl. It is that good. Something you will want to have on your shelf (and the album art is delicious as well), something you will want to drown out your nights. This is one of those debuts that mark the emergence of a truly bright new artist. DM Stith is one with which you will want to keep tabs on.

-Lil' Thistle


baroquepop said...

You're right, this really takes some time to understand, although its quality is soon apparent to a careful listener. I'm going to agree with the other Grizzly Bear comparisons. It's difficult to imagine liking one and not the other. Much as I love Grizzly Bear, I agree with you, Heavy Ghost is better than Verkatimest!

Lil' Thistle said...

Just picked up the vinyl - so worth it. 2LP and on side D is a bonus EP.