Today’s Sounds: Night Beds

Night Beds, playing tonight at Casa del Popolo, delivers an impassioned, no-nonsense slice of serene folk music, PLUS a slow sexy house track by Serbian duo Kompleks and a video by British gossip girl Chlöe Howl.


Night Beds, Country Sleep (Dead Oceans)

Sometimes I just like to lie awake at night, staring at the ceiling (or if the weather’s nice, I lie outside on the grass). I’m pretty sure that evokes a sentiment everyone feels at some point, and for those wistful moments where you’d much rather wallow in your thoughts than forget them, 23-year-old Yank Winston Yellen is there.

His voice is beyond pristine; he’s controlled yet impassioned, with the slightest Southern lilt. He sounds like Fleet Foxes at times, and My Morning Jacket during others. He’s singing about simple things, while the arrangements are utilitarian and never obtrusive. It’s easy to get excited about the ornate or envelope-pushing or complete wackiness, but every so often someone comes along with nothing to add to the conversation except beautiful, tender vocals and a sense of honesty and wonderment. Winston Yellen is that special someone, and Country Sleep is that no-nonsense slice of serene folk music.

The album was recorded in a Nashville house once owned by Johnny Cash. It’s an interesting footnote, but hardly indicative of Yellen’s intentions (based on the final result, at least). And contrary to what I’ve read elsewhere, I don’t think he overdoes it on the vocals. There’s an emptiness to the recording that makes his occasional wails or falsettos more piercing, but it’s hardly bashful tremolos. It’s music for starlit nights, and as such doesn’t do much except invite you into its vastness. I’ll take it.

Night Beds opens for Indians at Casa del Popolo (4873 St-Laurent) tonight, Tuesday, March 5,  8 p.m., $12


Kompleks, “D.E.R.T.”

Serbian duo Kompleks roll out a subterranean patchwork of slow, deliberate beats and bass, Dead Man guitars and spectral vocals. Strange, sexy house.



Chloe Howl, “Rumour”

Cute and sassy 17-year-old British pop singer Chlöe Howl likes to gossip. Give the title track from her EP a listen, and pass it on.

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