Songs:Ohia Magnolia Electric Co.

[Secretly Canadian; 2003]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: indie rock, alt country
Others: Lambchop, Cat Power

For those of you not privileged to hear this masterpiece yet, get ready to spend. Jason Molina is an amazing prolific artist who has managed to improve upon each release. Like fellow indie solo-slash-ringleader of collaboration honcho Phil Elvrum of the Microphones, Molina succeeds best when he gathers friends to back him up. We saw some of this in the warm backup vocals he dabbled most in on his most recent album, Didn't It Rain. Magnolia Electric Co. is a full-fledged band project, lush with strings, slide guitar, and plenty of "ooohs" in the background. This sounds less like textbook spare Songs:Ohia than it does like full-on country outfits like The Court and Spark. Parts of more than one Oldham are to be found here, and Molina even lets guests (including a lovely go by Scout Niblett) take over the vocals on a pair of tracks. There's hardly a weak spot on this lovely record, but I must say that the bulk of Magnolia Electric Co. can't quite match its phenomenal opener, "Farewell Transmission." Even so, this record comes with full recommendation to fans of anything indie, country, or anything in between.

1. Farewell Transmission
2. I've Been Riding with the Ghost
3. Just Be Simple
4. Almost Was Good Enough
5. The Old Black Hen
6. Peoria Lunch Box Blues
7. John Henry Split My Heart
8. Hold On Magnolia