Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “A Little Time” by Arborea, from the 2011 album Red Planet on Strange Attractors.
Equal parts psychedelia and folk, Buck Curran and Shanti Curran are the Maine folk husband and wife duo known as Arborea. Formed in 2005, Arborea draws inspiration from progressive folk and rock traditions of groups like Pentangle, Tim Buckley and Led Zeppelin, as well as contemporaries Espers, Ray Lamontagne and Iron and Wine. Buck plays guitar, slide guitars, bowed strings, flutes, banjo, and vocals. Shanti provides lead vocals, banjo, ukulele, bowed strings, harmonium, and percussion.
Their latest album, Red Planet, is the followup to their 2009 release, House of Sticks, on Borne! Records, and it perfectly captures the group—multi-instrumentalists Shanti and Buck Curran, as well as the guest work of cellist Helena Espvall (of Espers). It was even picked by Rolling Stone as one of the “Top Under The Radar” albums of 2011. The Maine-based group’s sound has certainly matured, but there’s still a raw quality to the material that feels natural and honest. The album includes a rich array of string instruments (banjo, tenor ukulele, guitar, violin) and other exotica (harmonium, hammered dulcimer, music box, flute, kalimba). It’s folk music that runs through your veins ice cold, but in a way that’s so compelling and irresistible you can’t help be moved by it. Shanti’s voice rises above sparse instrumental backing like a cool fog, and while the pair has earned comparisons to acts like Pentangle and Alela Diane, Arborea are utterly unique and entirely captivating.
The Currans are currently in Austin for a couple of shows during SXSW and then will be traveling around the East Coast in late March/early April. You can find dates here. So far, there’s no West Coast tour planned yet, but keep checking their website and Facebook page for updates. For now, here’s the video for our featured song “A Little Time”: