Download Phantom Farmer's Alpha for Free [Fresh Tracks]


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We've heard plenty from local songster Joel "Joel J. Dahl" McAnulty over the past several years. Whether it was as the driving force behind once-poised-for-world-domination art-pop troupe De Novo Dahl or as the driving force behind current indie-folk ensemble By Lightning!, McAnulty's full-throated croon and penchant for big, pluralistic anthems have made the dude a fixture on the local landscape for roughly a decade.

So then, good news for fans of two things: 1) Joel McAnulty, and 2) isolated-sounding, acoustic indie-folk anthems. Dahl recently released his solo debut under the moniker Phantom Farmer. It's called Alpha, and it's available for free download via Phantom Farmer's Bandcamp page. The eight-song Alpha features just McAnulty's voice and his guitar, as he strums out big, reverb-ensconced, nouveau-spiritual acoustic numbers about the grandeur and complications of life, and finding peace here on earth and all that jazz. It's sparse and wide-open, and in the hands of a less gifted singer, it might fall a bit flat and static. But, as I noted, McAnulty's croon is a big, bold, full-throated one, and he pours a lot of emotion and a lot of breath into each and every note. If you're searching for a listen that features, I don't know, danceable beats and up-tempo feelgoodery, then you're going to want to look elsewhere. All you're going to find here are loping, wistful, weary folk numbers that sound like they were recorded deep within the head of a man who is surrounded on all sides by nothing but dark forest and sad memories, peppered with grains of hopefulness though they may be. Not party-time fare, no. But then, neither is the output of dudes like Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt and Will Oldham, and I'll just bet McAnulty has listened to some of their stuff in recent months and years.

Stream all of Alpha below, or get it for free here.


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