My pal Dave Wechsler — who used to be the Rough Guides publicist who had to deal with me, the poor bastard — is also a member of the very groovy band Piñataland, which specializes in a type of music which, for lack of a better term, I would call “alternate history Americana”: Instrumentation that is old-time Nashville by way of gypsy caravan, and songs that celebrate both the heroes and misfits of American history (mostly the misfits), and point toward visions of our country that are best described as collapsed potentialities rather than where it actually went. Basically, the sound of what America might have been if it had zigged instead of zagged at some indefinite point in the past. Naturally, I think this is kind of cool.
Last Tuesday Piñataland released its most recent album, Songs for the Forgotten Future, Vol. 2, which is available for download on iTunes, eMusic, Amazon and other sites. If the idea of listening in on a secret history of the United States seems like a fun time to you (and I don’t know why it wouldn’t), I’d recommend checking it out. It’s smart and wistful and not much like anything else you’ll be listening to this year.
Here’s the leadoff track from the album, called “Ashland,” which I’m streaming to you with permission of the band. Enjoy.
You can also sample more of their music on their MySpace page.