Album: Here's To Taking It Easy
Label: Dead Oceans
Release date: May 11, 2010
Rating (Skip, Stream, or Buy): Buy
Download: "Mermaid Parade"
Local Show(s): Phosphorescent plays an 8 p.m. show at the Croc with J Tillman and a 3 p.m. in-store at Capitol Hill's Sonic Boom on Saturday, July 31.
If Matthew Houck didn't stumble out of the top-floor bedroom of a Texas saloon, slide down the banister, tucking in his buttoned-down white shirt en route to the bar's upright piano to record the dusty, jubilant "It's Hard to Be Humble (When You're From Alabama)", the first track off Phosphorescent's May release, Here's To Taking It Easy, he did a good job faking it.
"Humble," like the rest of the album--with it's easy pedal steel, clinking piano chords, and drawled howls--is marked by its effortlessness, grin, and authenticity, not to a specific genre, but to the musicmaker himself. Houck was obviously raised on a steady diet of outlaw country, but he's not immune to the 21st Century indie rock scene, either. And while he seamlessly fuses the two on Taking It Easy, there's no indication that Houck--who makes music as Phosphorescent--is attempting to do anything here other than what comes natural to him when he rolls out of bed in the morning, or at least his hour between sleep and breakfast.
At a time when the co-opting of country, folk, and twang--musically and lyrically--has reached levels of absurdity, it's refreshing to hear a natural do it with sincerity.