There’s a deliberate, contemplative air to Clint Niosi’s third studio album, Captives of Sense, all but forcing listeners to stop and take notice.
The irony is that Sense was created in an atmosphere of relative haste. According to press materials, Niosi imposed a deadline on himself, giving himself just a month to write and record the follow-up to his 2012 LP For Pleasure and Spite. In between, Niosi also composed the soundtrack for independent film Her Wilderness, which was released last year.
A cinematic sensibility indeed perfumes much of this nine-track collection — languid instrumental opener Modern Ruins carries listeners on a sonic sojourn through a vivid landscape — and Niosi isn’t afraid to let his songs linger: Ubermensch unfolds hypnotically over more than nine minutes.
By focusing so intensely and assembling these dense, fascinating tapestries, Niosi has produced an arresting portrait of an artist freely exploring his darkest corners. Niosi will celebrate Sense’s release Friday at Lola’s Saloon with Sarah Ruth and Triangulum.
Dawn & Hawkes, ‘Yours & Mine’
It’s been a hectic couple of years for Dawn & Hawkes. Miranda Dawn and Chris Hawkes (who originally hails from Arlington) are an Austin-based husband-wife duo, who first gained notice in 2013 with their cover of the Beatles’ I’ve Just Seen a Face during their audition for The Voice. After touring the country, the singer-songwriters have found time to fashion Yours & Mine, their full-length debut, following the 2012 EP Golden Heart. It’s a beautiful record, full of the pair’s sweet harmonies (the simple, tender title track — “Good things come to those who wait,” the pair coos — is an unexpected emotional wallop) and a gentle, rustic Americana style, which often makes listening to these 11 songs feel like a twilight song swap on a porch somewhere out in the country.
Daniel Markham & Claire Morales, ‘Harmony in Hell’
The spooky season can last past trick or treating, right? Denton singer-songwriters Daniel Markham and Claire Morales, formidable talents in their own right, joined forces to release the self-described “alt-country doom folk rock” hybrid Harmony in Hell last month on — when else? — Halloween. Fortunately, there isn’t much in the way of Monster Mash-style tunes here, but rather a brace of gorgeous, autumnal songs that often cut like a gust of cold wind. Markham and Morales are phenomenal duet partners — her voice often lingers behind his, like a ghostly shadow, as it does on Velvet and Calypso. Hopefully, Hell is merely the first in a series of heavenly collaborations.