I walk into the Gramophone in the Grove neighborhood of St. Louis at around 7:30 p.m. to find the members of Acoustics Anonymous in the middle of sound check.
Over years on the singer-songwriter circuit, Carrie Elkin and Danny Schmidt have built a musical friendship that they fulfill on their first duo record, "For Keeps," which leads off with the graceful, carefree "Two White Clouds." If this song wasn't made to welcome in the summer, no song could be.
Two Aussie brothers Anthony and David Gill make up the core of City Walls Autumn Falls, a band now based in Brooklyn, New York. For their new album "Factory," they went to the same Woodstock, New York hills that inspired some of Bob Dylan and the Band's greatest work. The track "Sheltered Me" proves the trip wasn't just a random errand into the folk wilderness.
"Wonder Lensed" by the Wonder Revolution, a collaboration between guitarist David Lord and Les Easterby, drifts through a lush, impressionistic landscape of stringed instruments and cascading voices to create something like a soundtrack to a dream you're sure you've had before but still can't really place.
Fear not. Evil Forces isn't another black-metal band skulking out of obscure reaches of the Nordic lands. Evil Forces is a folk group from Jyväskylä, Finland, and its sound, especially on the plaintive, wintery "Parcels of Sleep," couldn't be more inviting.