In Opening Track, we take an early look at a forthcoming record that we’re excited about. Today, we check in with Daniel Rossen, who will release a solo EP, Silent Hour/Golden Mile, on March 20.
Why we're excited: Rossen is a primary songwriter behind two top-flight indie-rock groups, Grizzly Bear and Department Of Eagles, neither of which have put out new albums in several years. Grizzly Bear currently is at work on the much-anticipated followup to 2009's Veckatimest, which should be out later this year. But it's always nice to have a little snack to tide you over before the meal.
What we've heard: The five-song Silent Hour/Golden Mile started life as demos that Rossen considered for inclusion on the new Grizzly Bear album. But by the end of 2011, he decided instead to release them as an EP, believing that the songs hung together well on their own. Unlike CANT, the R&B side-project launched last year by Rossen's Grizzly Bear bandmate Chris Taylor, Silent Hour isn't a dramatic departure from his usual sound. Rather, Silent Hour very much resembles half of an excellent new Grizzly Bear record.
While he enlisted a few guest musicians here and there (including Dr. Dog drummer Eric Slick), Silent Hour mostly was recorded by Rossen himself. Many of the songs spotlight Rossen's lustrous guitar playing, which achieves a Zeppelin-esque majesty on "Silent Song" and "Return To Form." He pulls back on the hymn-like piano ballad "Saint Nothing," which consists mainly of music that Rossen recorded in one take.
Silent Hour offers some of the best, most melodic songs that Rossen has yet written. It shouldn't be perceived as a preview of whatever Grizzly Bear does next, though if it is a sign of the band's latest direction, then the new record promises to be even more accessible (and popular) than Veckatimest.
Have a listen: Here is the best track on Silent Hour, "Silent Song."