I’m going to jump right to it with this one: Balto’s October’s Road is gorgeous. Goosebump-inducing gorgeous. The album, which is available on Bandcamp, is the work of Daniel Sheron and five of his friends (including Philippe Bronchtein of Hip Hatchet), and comes attached to a truly excellent origin story:
Balto came into being when Daniel Sheron abandoned his life in Moscow, Russia and went alone into Siberia. Against an ever shifting backdrop of railways and desolate wastes, he wrote a cycle of songs to tell the story of what had happened in that strange country, why he had exiled himself, and why he thought it mattered. In train cars and crumbling cities he encountered PEOPLE, and they inhabited the songs he was writing and the notes he was taking. In the fall, Daniel brought Balto back to America and called his friends to record an album in one day. On December 15, 2010, six people entered a basement in Brooklyn, New York and emerged that night with an album that no one had expected. October’s Road.
The album (listen below) opens with “The Railyard,” a song that captures a profound musical Americana in a form that feels very much like something Fleet Foxes would produce on a great day. It’s a strong, epic introduction to an album that often suspends itself between poles of meditative introspection and raucous barnstorming tracks (see “Elizabeth the Bumblebee” or “Don Quixote”). And more importantly, perhaps, it feels like the beginning of that journey away from the familiar.
And really, this idea of the journey, which so informed the album’s creation, is an absolutely appropriate way of thinking about the experience of listening to October’s Road. It’s intimate, and challenging, and just chock full of surprises. I could belabor the point, but I really think you should have a listen. The album can be heard below, and purchased for $4 over at Bandcamp. Seriously, $4 for one of the best albums of the year. Why wait?
Here’s the album:
And here’s “The Railyard.” Enjoy!
[audio:https://www.shh-listen.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Balto-The-Railyard.mp3|titles=Balto – The Railyard] Download