"Apocalypse" by Bill Callahan on iTunes

7 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

As Smog and as himself, Bill Callahan writes and records subtle, flat-toned tunes that are dryly hilarious. Lyrics come first for Callahan and listening straight through a handful of his songs, it’s apparent that he has a thirst for words and concepts. Apocalypse plays to his strengths. “Drover” begins as a faux-Western. The chords build dramatically. A fiddle saws until the music falls away and it weeps. “America!” plays as word-association, with Callahan sounding like he’s messing around on the guitar absent-mindedly while the rhythm section takes an occasional break that leads to an over-caffeinated ending with everyone celebrating so hard they trip over themselves. “Universal Applicant” throws a flute into the mix. Recorded and mixed in Texas, Apocalypse prominently reflects the great sprawling real estate of that state with pauses and leisurely paces in nearly every tune. “Free’s” clocks in at a punchy 3:13, but the others are all over five minutes. There’s nothing indulgent here. Every moment deserves to be heard. The album ends with “One Fine Morning,” a beautifully expansive piece that is reminiscent of the great works of Van Morrison.

EDITORS’ NOTES

As Smog and as himself, Bill Callahan writes and records subtle, flat-toned tunes that are dryly hilarious. Lyrics come first for Callahan and listening straight through a handful of his songs, it’s apparent that he has a thirst for words and concepts. Apocalypse plays to his strengths. “Drover” begins as a faux-Western. The chords build dramatically. A fiddle saws until the music falls away and it weeps. “America!” plays as word-association, with Callahan sounding like he’s messing around on the guitar absent-mindedly while the rhythm section takes an occasional break that leads to an over-caffeinated ending with everyone celebrating so hard they trip over themselves. “Universal Applicant” throws a flute into the mix. Recorded and mixed in Texas, Apocalypse prominently reflects the great sprawling real estate of that state with pauses and leisurely paces in nearly every tune. “Free’s” clocks in at a punchy 3:13, but the others are all over five minutes. There’s nothing indulgent here. Every moment deserves to be heard. The album ends with “One Fine Morning,” a beautifully expansive piece that is reminiscent of the great works of Van Morrison.

TITLE TIME PRICE
5:24 $1.29
5:30 $1.29
5:33 $1.29
5:53 $1.29
6:05 $1.29
3:13 $1.29
8:45 $1.29

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5

57 Ratings

Billy boy

Thomas Colantuono,

Kind of annoyed because I accidently bought it twice... But it's okay because it's Bill Callahan. Great album.

This is the mountain

C.Dyer,

This is the mountain over which all future american music must climb. This one will turn out to be part of the canon.

Best album in decades.

About Bill Callahan

After almost 20 years of using the alias Smog for his music, Bill Callahan switched to his given name for his releases after 2005's A River Ain't Too Much to Love. The 2007 EP Diamond Dancer and full-length Woke on a Whaleheart both mixed the intimate, reflective, largely acoustic sound of later Smog albums like Supper and A River with gospel, soul, and pop elements, and boasted arrangements by former Royal Trux mastermind Neil Hagerty. For 2009's Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle, Callahan returned to the more intimate acoustic-based sound of latter-era Smog albums, featuring string and brass arrangements by Brian Beattie. The live album Rough Travel for a Rare Thing arrived in March 2010, and in July Callahan issued his 79-page "epistolary novelette" Letters to Emma Bowlcut, comprised of 62 letters from a nameless protagonist to a woman he saw at a party. Callahan kicked off 2011 with Apocalypse, a more uptempo collection of seven country- and blues-inspired rock tunes that recalled some of his edgier work with Smog. A softer offering, Dream River, was issued in the fall of 2013. The next year Have Fun with God surfaced, remixing the eight tracks of Dream River in more haunted and electronic styles. ~ Heather Phares

  • ORIGIN
    Silver Spring, MD
  • BORN
    1966

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