I'll be honest. Anytime I hear Jason Lytle is involved with an album or song, I am predisposed to check it out. The Grandaddy front man has long been one of my favorite songwriters working today. I had read about his involvement on this EP from Kramies Windt, who drops the last name for his music project, last year, but lost sight of the release date and it damn near fell off my radar.
Luckily, the quiet and calm at the beginning of a new year of music releases allowed me to re-discover some of 2013's hidden gems and The Wooden Heart by Kramies is just that. Obviously I am biased towards material Lytle is involved in and he contributes his production and instrumental talents on two tracks here, "Sea Otter Cottage" and "Clocks Were All Broken". Both easily will appeal to fans of Lytle and Grandaddy as all the signature elements of his sound are there. Awash in swooning melody, strings and keyboards, as well as Kramies' uniquely intriguing voice, check out the video for the gorgeous "Sea Otter Cottage" below.
The rest of the EP was produced by Todd Tobias, best known for his work with Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices. Yes, that makes two heavy hitters in the indie music scene, Kramies wasn't fooling around with this release. The Dutch/American singer/songwriter, who was born in Cleveland but is now based out of Colorado, excels with his dreamy pop sound. Opening with a track called "The Beginning" and closing with, appropriately enough, "The Ending", The Wooden Heart is dripping in melody, top notch song writing and emotional complexity. With acoustic guitars, piano, a wide swath of electronic flourishes and keyboards, it is music that is instantly appealing to my tastes. Listeners appreciative of atmosphere, maturity and melody in their music will find Kramies a welcome addition to their collection.
Favorite tracks: "Sea Otter Cottage", "Clocks Were All Broken", "Upon The Northern Isles"
The Wooden Heart was released October 15, 2013 via Hidden Shoal Recordings.