Flock Of Dimes – Head of Roses: Phantom Limb (2022) [FLAC 24bit/48kHz]

Flock Of Dimes – Head of Roses: Phantom Limb (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 58:09 minutes | 654 MB | Genre: Alternative, Indie
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Sub Pop Records

The selection of live recordings here run the spectrum, from solitary to exuberant. Some were made solo, in the summer of 2020, while other tracks are electrified with the energy that comes from a day cooped up making music with your friends. The versions of “Spring in Winter” and “Like So Much Desire,” from Wasner’s 2020 Like So Much Desire EP, were both recorded alone, on a grand piano in the rural sprawl of Pittsboro, North Carolina at Manifold Studios. The undulating, subdued version of “Hard Way” was recorded live for a KEXP session while Wasner was holed up in the Californian desert, and the live versions of “Two,” “One More Hour,” and “Price of Blue” that live on the bonus disc were recorded with the help of Wasner’s friends Mountain Man, Matt McCaughan, Joe Westerlund, Michael Libramento, Alan Good Parker, and Nick Sanborn out at Betty’s in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. There are also covers of two of Wasner’s favorite songwriters — Joan Armatrading’s “The Weakness in Me” and Joni Mitchell’s “Amelia,” the latter featuring contributions from former bandmate Aaron Roche.

Released as something of a companion album to 2021’s Head of Roses, Phantom Limb is a collection of outtakes, unreleased songs, covers, and live cuts from Jenn Wasner’s Flock of Dimes solo project. While the unburdening of one’s vaults has become a widely embraced tradition among artists of the COVID-19 pandemic era, this set comes as a bit of a surprise given the relative brevity of Flock of Dimes’ career output. So far, there have been just two full-length albums — 2016’s If You See Me, Say Yes and the aforementioned Head of Roses — padded by an EP and a handful of singles. Even more intriguing is that almost all of the material featured here was made over the previous two years. Among the apparent heaps of quality tracks Wasner had lying around are the fluttering “Go with Good” and the washed-out “Wonder,” two outtakes from Head of Roses that are quite pretty and laced with Flock of Dimes’ otherworldly strangeness. There are live tracks that sparkle (the nimble full-band version of “Two” recorded at Durham staple Betty’s) and haunt (a KEXP solo performance of the lonesome “Hard Way”). Hearing Wasner tackle Joni Mitchell’s Hejira standout “Amelia” feels like a natural fit, though her version of Joan Armatrading’s ballad “The Weakness in Me” is a little more revealing. Another strong female artist known for her multi-instrumentalism as much as her songwriting, it makes a lot of sense that Wasner would consider Armatrading an influence. Like most odds-and-sods collections, Phantom Limb plays like a compilation more than an album, though it manages to satisfy on multiple levels, offering fans a deeper look at Wasner as a performer, interpreter, and songwriter. – Timothy Monger

01. Flock Of Dimes – It Just Goes On (03:33)
02. Flock Of Dimes – Go With Good (04:26)
03. Flock Of Dimes – Price of Blue (Tiny Desk Version) (06:03)
04. Flock Of Dimes – Through Me (03:59)
05. Flock Of Dimes – Wonder (03:20)
06. Flock Of Dimes – Two (Live at Betty’s) (03:27)
07. Flock Of Dimes – Hard Way (Live at KEXP) (03:24)
08. Flock Of Dimes – The Weakness in Me (03:42)
09. Flock Of Dimes – Like So Much Desire (Solo Piano) (03:30)
10. Flock Of Dimes – One More Hour (Live at Betty’s) (04:13)
11. Flock Of Dimes – Lightning (Acoustic Demo) (04:01)
12. Flock Of Dimes – Amelia (05:51)
13. Flock Of Dimes – Awake for the Sunrise (Live at Betty’s) (04:05)
14. Flock Of Dimes – Spring in Winter (Solo Piano) (04:28)