Penny Blacks, “Harbour” (selfreleased, 2011)
That awkward moment when you’re listening to a great album and realize no label, big or small, bothered to release it. Canadian songwriter Jason Ogden did it all by himself - or perhaps he didn’t, as his project Penny Blacks eventually grew to be a full 7-piece band - and selfreleased his first LP, Harbour, without any help from the big ones. The result is a stellar folk-rock album from a group of musicians who clearly look like they’ve been doing this for a long time now; although they’ve been compared to The Dears or Decemberists in the past I would place them somewhere between Americana acts Richmond Fontaine and Centro-matic - Ogden’s vocals definitely sound like Will Johnson’s, which is one of the best compliments you can give to anyone who sings in a band like this. Listening to Harbour while working on a cafe (like me, as I write these words) could be your favorite thing to do on these cold Fall afternoons. You can do it below on their Bandcamp - and buy the digital for a tenner if you like it enough.