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Three Record Reviews

Folk variations from three Perpetual Doom artists.

Published onMay 15, 2022
Three Record Reviews

Records reviewed:

Rancho Shalom
Evan Kertman
Perpetual Doom, 2022

Lucky Nights
Mila Webb
Perpetual Doom, 2022

Ghost Approaches
Earl Vallie
Perpetual Doom, 2022

Rancho Shalom Evan Kertman

Evan Kertman - Rancho Shalom (Official Lyric Video)

World, meet Evan Kertman. His debut album, Rancho Shalom (Perpetual Doom), invites the listener out onto the back patio to bask in his sun-dappled California country-folk glow. Chamber pop instrumentation charms and the clean West Coast-style production shimmers.

Radio-ready tracks “Only The Birds” and “The Same Song” hint at jangle pop and psychedelia, respectively, but the collection as a whole stays firmly rooted in Americana roots music. The overall vibe is mellow — think Leonard Cohen in Nashville or Bob Dylan in Muscle Shoals.

Evan Kertman - Only The Birds (Official Video)

Kertman's lazy baritone is front and center in each mix, his lyrics boasting a sly self-assuredness usually reserved for singer-songwriters longer in the tooth. Kertman's work on this album provides a fine breezy summertime listen. A most impressive debut.

Lucky Nights — Mila Webb

Mila Webb - Lucky Nights (Official Video)

Lucky you, listener, beholding for the first time Mila Webb's debut EP Lucky Nights (Perpetual Doom). Even having a genetic leg-up on other musical artists (what with being the daughter of songwriting legend Jimmy Webb and all), Mila has obviously made the most of honest hard work, crafting her songs in relative Zen-like anonymity.

A light-handed rhythm section, gentle acoustic strums,and tasteful electric guitar chimes and slides all get stirred into a gorgeous dream pop/indie folk stew. And the sparse haunted poetry of the lyrics befit her double-tracked ethereal voice. The four songs here breeze past in the time it takes to watch a winter sunset fade, most definitely leaving the listener wanting more — always a good thing!

Mila Webb - Masterpiece (Official Video)

Luck and chance may play their roles, but gritty persistence and a monklike devotion to art get one further along in the end. What a mesmerizing and delightful small-scale wonder Lucky Nights is, promising more good things to come.

Ghost Approaches — Earl Vallie

Earl Vallie - Ready to Die (Official Video)

California desert-baked off-kilter troubadour Earl Vallie raises the dead on his new album Ghost Approaches (Perpetual Doom). With rough around the edges production from Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), the album veers back and forth between balls-out classic rockers (Boss-esque/psych-stoner opener "Ready to Die," fist-pumping anthem "Tarantulan Son") and more nuanced goth-tinged Americana pop numbers ("Prom," "Autumn Leaves"). Vallie's vocals steal the show with rockabilly crooning yodeling yips and harrowing laser-lit stadium screams. On the brooding "My Baby's Broom," he somehow evokes Nice Cave contacting Roy Orbison on an Ouija board. This man is truly filled with the high-and-holy rock-and-roll spirit, and Ghost Approaches is possessed with it in the best way possible.

Earl Vallie - Prom (Official Video)

Harold Whit Williams is a prize-winning poet and guitarist for the critically acclaimed indie rock band Cotton Mather. A multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, he is the recipient of the 2020 FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize, the Mississippi Review Poetry Prize, and the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. The author of five books of poetry, Williams lives in Austin, Texas where he records lo-fi jangle pop as Daily Worker, while cataloging the KUT Collection for the University of Texas Libraries. Mel Bay’s Book of the Dead, his first book of short stories, is available from San Antonio Review Press.

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