Daniel Tosh can talk all the smack about Alabama that he likes; the duo Colossal Gospel will redeem the Yellowhammer state in the eyes (and ears) of hipsters and common folk everywhere. Hailing from Leeds, AL (outside of Birmingham for those that don’t know southern geography) and comprised of Stephen Weibelt and Chris Johnson, Colossal Gospel shines a light on the dark side of Americana. Their brand of stripped-down southern blues incorporates traditional elements (e.g. prominent acoustic guitar, primal rhythms, gospel harmonies, subtle piano) with modern sounds (warm psychedelia of Grizzly Bear and a subdued take on gritty blues of Black Keys) to produce something inventive but also comforting and familiar.
Circles is a concept album recorded at home (mostly in the closet, actually – see picture below) that tells the story of a man that leaves his wife and domestic life behind in search of something greater in the world – something he feels is calling him. The opening track ‘Leaving’ details the impetus of his journey, and the album follows him on his expedition, culminating with ‘Coming Home’ and ‘Afterword (All I Am)’. The nine-minute ‘I Have Heart, I Have a Heart’ evokes the ghostly nonchalance of Grizzly Bear with ethereal vocals, reverb guitar, plinking pianos, and pinging ride cymbal. The album is full of brooding melodies and resonating performances; it’s a remarkably powerful record from a previously unknown duo. Pick up on Colossal Gospel!
Check Out: Leaving [mp3]
Check Out: Never Could Find [mp3]
Download ($5) or Stream: Circles