Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012

Stream Ghost of James' Debut Full Length, "Disappear"

Homegrown folk-rock of a different kind

By Evan Rytlewski
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As Ghost of James, Wisconsin songwriter Paul Smirl plays pretty, vaguely tortured folk-rock, but not quite the kind of pretty, vaguely tortured folk-rock that the state is known for. Smirl’s rustic tunes are cut from a heavier swath of flannel than those of Justin Vernon and his peers, and his arrangements are less indebted to arty indie-rock conventions than the grungy gravity of ’90s alternative rock—think Neil Young by way of Mark Lanegan, or even Alice in Chains’ doleful unplugged work. In a husky voice somewhere between Bob Mould and Damien Jurado, Smirl meditates on themes of transition on Ghost of James’ first full length, Disappear, which he posted to Bandcamp late last month.

Smirl hasn’t done much to promote the album yet—blame the timing of its release; it came out just days before he moved to Chicago for college—but he plans on playing shows with a four-piece lineup of the band early next year, when he hopes to give Disappear a physical release. Until then, you can stream the record below.


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