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It looks like local troubadour Aaron Thompson has picked up and moved to New York City, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cop his new EP. Thompson did, after all, live until recently in the District, releasing music through stalwart label Sockets.
He’s also staffed the Vessel EP, which is out today, with some D.C. personnel, including percussionist Nathan Jurgenson (formerly of Phonic Riot, currently of really smart tweets about Internet culture) and Janel Leppin (of new-music duo Janel & Anthony). I’ve appreciated his songs in the past for their blend of old folk-music tropes and laptop-y atmosphere, but this set gets its power from a more orchestral, organic kind of ambience.
From the songs and from a recent promo video, it’s clear Thompson has wanderlust on his mind. These songs follow him from foreign shores (“took the last boat to America, its ports a one way line,” he sings in “In a Velvet City”) to domestic coastlines. In “The Pines,” the album’s most powerful and least characteristic song, he waxes dystopic about (I think) a Gulf Coast oil spill, invoking the devil and communing with a terror-strewn natural world as his vocals are subsumed by a massive, apocalyptic string motif. It’s really something.
You can buy the EP from Thompson’s Bandcamp page, or stream it below.
Hey, and this isn’t the only local release out today. Noisegazers Screen Vinyl Image and backpack rapper yU (I’m not just saying “backpack”; dude does wear a backpack) have new full-lengths, both of which are reviewed in this week’s City Paper.