Read the rest here, and snag an MP3 below. MP3: May Day Orchestra, "Death Letter"
Despite the presence of some of the local rock and folk scenes' most inventive musicians, the arrangements on the vinyl-only May Day, or Songs for Lucy Parsons are mostly spare and stark, moving between low-slung ballads and foot-stomping fightin' songs. The slow-pulsing drone of the eight-minute opener "Cause for Alarm" feels static and overlong, though the pivot-point trumpet and trombone flourishes, along with [Brien] Seyle's twang-laden fiddle, gives the song a much-needed harmonic handhold. The band perfects this formula of concrete-fisted guitar strums and solemn brass-and-string accompaniment on the excellent "Death Letter," which sounds like an experimental castoff from Uncle Tupelo's March 16-20, 1992.
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