Songs for the Forgotten Future, Vol. 2

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.

10 Comments on “Songs for the Forgotten Future, Vol. 2”

  1. Good thing you included a sample on Whatever, because when I tried to stream from the Pinataland website I was asked for my password and login. I’m betting that’s not a custom feature.

    In any case: Quirky. Sort of bluegrassish, early white man’s jazzish. Plunk, plunk, plunk with vocal harmonies.

  2. I’m really fond of hearing musical instruments being played by musicians, singing done by someone who can sing, and songs that tell stories. The samples I’ve heard hit all my folk/trad buttons with the added benefit that they’re new to me. I’ll definitely be picking up their music.

  3. Hey Another Dave, this is Dave from Pinataland. That’s weird about our website doing that to you. There’s a press page that’s protected but the listening page (though needing to updated with the new songs) should be fine. What page were you at? I checked the listening page and it shouldn’t reference anything that needs a password…

    If anyone else has a problem with that do let me know where, as websites are mysterious animals to me and I need to don my safari hat before plunging into the html to find the problem.


  4. With your description, I imagined it being an album my husband would listen to while playing his steampunk roleplaying game.

  5. Hey, these are the guys who did that cover of that 18th-or-19th century political song repurposed for John Kerry you posted about four years ago, right?

  6. I’m completely crippled by the internal decision as to which “Songs for the Forgotten Future” is better. I like the historical aspects of the first, and the speculative aspects of the second. Both mix the familiar and the breathtakingly obscure elements from history, and both display regrets at the loss of the past as well as optimism for the future, but they do it in different ways. I’d like to rephrase that about 90 different ways, to simulate the discussion in my head. Get both so you don’t miss out.

    I also recommend David Wechsler’s “Vacations,” which is found in the same microgenre as Pinataland’s music, which very roughly narrates a trip across time and around the planet, and a parting from a relationship, ending wiht a return home and reunion, sort-of. Both Vacations and the two SftFF albums have a permanent place on my MP3 player. I didn’t know DW worked for Rough Guides– that might put a spin on my next listen.

    Djscman, the song is “Little Know Ye Who’s Coming,” and it’s on the Pinataland website under the streaming songs. Also get “East River Slocum Disaster 1904,” about the tragic riverboat fire, which is not on either of the SftFF albums.

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