Several of these artists, including Justin Townes Earle, Electric Wizard, and Vashti Bunyan, are here largely thanks to experience. In other words, they’ve long since known how to develop and configure these particular sounds. That’s not to say we didn’t find invention this week, too — just check on The Bug’s collab with Grouper or the latest from the one-woman black metal project Myrkur. Regardless of one’s career stage, there’s a broad range of textures and emotions here, and whether familiar or otherwise, all of it is just about undeniable.
10. Jesse Marchant – “Every Eye Open”
New York-via-Montreal songwriter Jesse Marchant is now recording under his birth name after preferring the moniker JBM; accordingly, for the latest song off his self-titled follow-up to 2012’s Stray Ashes, he’s unguarded and contemplative, singing somber notes of romantic dis/mistrust. It’s built on sturdy guitar chord progressions, but pretty soon the song’s legs are stretched out, with purposeful drumming and one-string drips elevating the song to a post-rock crest. “I’ve been living in lies, too,” Marchant hums, acknowledging common ground he shares with his muse, achingly hoping he’ll find more. Jesse Marchant is out September 9th on No Other. –Michael Madden
09. Vashti Bunyan – “Across the Water”
Vashti Bunyan, the pushing-70 English songwriter who reemerged in the mid-’00s after decades of obscurity, will return with her third and final album on October 6th/7th. “Across the Water”, our first taste of Heartleap, isn’t exactly a radical left turn; inching forward with acoustic guitar picking and light string work later on, the song is a beautiful Vashti Bunyan recording first and last. But while the composition appears tight and controlled on the surface, Bunyan’s pure voice alone expands the atmosphere until the whole thing sounds like a sketch of a majestic Astral Weeks getaway. –Michael Madden