Tuesday evening waiting in a bus stop gutter
shaking off ten hours of travel and work -
from here I can see the bank building,
thousands of black blocks stacked
back to back, blank, reflecting nothing.

I stood on the bus's center circle
hanging on straps, turning with the corners
while a grey-haired man recited Yeats
somewhere in the back seats -
everyone window-gazed like it was normal.
He proclaimed: "The silver apples of the moon,
the golden apples of the sun," and smiled like a Siddha.
He didn't care. He moved on to Shakespeare.

The Liffey was low and lucid,
dark brown-green mirrored bridges,
totally calm, absorbing sound and light,
wasteland water full of traffic cones and mud,
and the rain held off until I got to shelter,
and I felt like myself again -
soft apple flesh rotting around a seedling,
I don't know what I'm becoming.

This is original work

I will find out where she has gone
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
- William Butler Yeats
from The Song of Wandering Aengus

Devendra Banhart is the probably the most famous singer/songwriter of what has been dubbed the Freak folk or Psychedelic folk sound. And in 2004, on April Fool's Day, Banhart and Arthur's magazine released a limited edition album made up 22 different bands and singers that all fall under the Freaky folk banner. The Golden Apples of the Sun is a great primer if you have never heard Freaky folk before or if you have heard a little and want to expand your collection. The music is basically folk and country in the tradition of Woody Gutherie, The Incredible String Band, Joni Mitchel and the like, but suffused with a brand new energy and otherworldly quality. Its purveyors often sing in strange ways, guitars are tuned funny, sometimes there are harps and looped beats, sometimes fiddles and mbira. Often the lyrics, like in Joanna Newsom's Emily, are extremely poetic and would be as alive read off a page in silence as they would be put to music. Sometimes the lyrics just sound fun coming out of your mouth, like Barnhart's Chinese Children. Most importantly the movement contains a diverse group of great songwriters. But you don't have to take my word for it, you can download The Golden Apples of the Sun and decide for yourself what adjectives and allusions best describe it.

Some of the artists on this album, like Vetiver (a personal favorite), Coco Rosie, Vashti Bunyan and Joanna Newsom, have far more to offer than might be initially apparent from listening to one song. Some of the tunes are not so Freaky or unique at all. Here is the track listing:

Vetiver and Hope SandovalAngel's Share
Joanna NewsomBridges And Balloons
Six Organs of AdmittanceHazy SF
Viking Moses!Crosses
Josephine FosterLittle Life
EspersByss & Abyss
Vashti Bunyan & Devendra BanhartRejoicing In The Hands
Jana HunterFarm, CA
Currituck CoThe Tropics Of Cancer
White MagicDon't Need
Iron & WineFever Dream
Diane CluckHeat From Every Corner
Matt ValentineMountains of Yaffa
EntranceYou Must Turn
Jack RoseWhite Mule
Little WingsLook At What The Light Did Now
Scout NiblettWet Road
CocoRosie Good Friday
AntonyThe Lake

Like what you hear? Check out Bright Eyes, Nick Drake, Mazzy Star, Marrisa Nadler (super yum!), Andrew Bird, Sufuan Stevens, Gillian Welch, Fleet Foxes, T-Bone.

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