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New Music Tuesday: Michael Daves, Orchids and Violence

Orchids and Violence album cover

The long-awaited “Twins Album” is finally here. And it’s really fucking good.

Alright, I need to speak my peace up front. I frown on artists who crowd fund their records. It reeks of unprofessionalism and gives the impression that you don’t believe enough in your music to put your own money behind it. This record was crowd funded for $41,456. The original goal was $33,000.

And that is all I have to say about that.


Orchids and Violence is a phenominal record! The playing, the singing, the production; all are exceptional. As a bluegrass lover and indie rock fiend, I can’t help but love everything about this. Okay, it does get a bit newgrassy for me in there, but really, both of these records are seriously good on their own.

Michael Daves’ voice bares a striking resemblance to Del McCoury. On “disk 1,” he meanders in and out of traditional bluegrass, newgrass and country. His signature vintage Kay guitar cuts through the mix with heavy mid-rage, which to me adds to the traditional element. His bluegrass rendition of “Dark Angel” (an obscure waltz by Whit Connah) is a great example of this. The mandolin is overpowered by his biting steel string in this duet, and it is tragically appropriate.

Daves isn’t afraid to chart new territory on the bluegrass side either. From his boogie woogie “Darling Cory,” to strait up country tunes like “A Good Year for the Roses” which is one could easily mistake for Robbie Fulks. Lets move on to “disk 2.”

Have you ever asked yourself what a Sonic Youth bluegrass album might sound like? Neither have I, but I’m pretty sure this could be it. And you know what? It’s really awesome.

This is one of the most refreshing things in Americana I have heard in a long time. Everything about the “electric disk” oozes what I love about playing music in my own band. It’s passionate, sweet, musical, and wide open to your interpretation. It’s really something magical.

In the case of the electric version of the aforementioned “Dark Angel,” I am particularly floored. This beautiful waltz from the “bluegrass disk” is reworked into a tragic Grant Lee Buffalo tune. These two recordings of this song are the only two I am aware of in existence. If for no other reason, you need to hear this record.

As I said before, both records to great on their own, but with the magic of modern digital music, a staggered playlist of each version back to back is a really cool way to listen. Checkout the Apple Music playlist I made with this staggered order order.

Buy Orchids and Violence Now. You need to hear this.

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