Brooklyn’s own Sacred Bones Records is doing all the right things these days. Honestly, they have to be one of the most consistent and ambitious underground imprints I’ve come across, so much so that I’ve made it my personal mission to listen to every album they’ve put out and will put out since I got wind of their early dealings with Blank Dogs and Zola Jesus (cough, hoping to review that new Zola record come October, cough, cough). Anyhow, the label is always on point with the artists they choose to support and it’s in that decisiveness that I knew Case Studies wouldn’t fall short.
Case Studies is Jesse Lortz, formerly of the harmonic, downhome, co-ed acoustic coupling of The Dutchess and The Duke, at his grittiest and purest, brewing Americana folk and adding into it some fine tenderness and grim solitude. I was never much of a listener of his prior harmoniousness with D&D (not Dungeons and Dragons, sorry everyone) but The World Is Just A Shape To Fill The Night nails that which I genuinely appreciate about country, blues, folk, or anything else of that breed and that, my friends, is storytelling.
This folkie play lonesome ditties from the darkened countryside, dusty ballads that reflect a spectrum of experience, fearing not to venture into the unlit corners of man’s desperation as well as rallying forth, blazing new trails through shining fields of grain with a gee-tar on his back. Each track has a history of their own, given a voice through Lortz’s sincere and poetic warbles, sometimes accompanied by fluttering piano or soft taps of a tambourine.
The record is introduced by, “From The Blade of My Love,” a sorrowful piece that sets the stage for the dire realities to come. Skip forward a tad and you’ve got the springy, amorous hymn entitled “You Folded Up My Blanket Like We Were Already Lovers” followed, not so closely, by “Texas Ghost Story” and “Dagger,” haunting and beautiful as they play out. There are no two better requiems to eulogize the end of the album than the harmonious solemnity found in “California Ghost Story” and “The Day We Met.” Case Studies debut’ resounds with unfiltered emotion, go ahead and give it a try.