Album Spotlight

#4 Marlon Williams – “Marlon Williams”

On Marlon Williams’ new self-titled album, this rustic crooner proves he’s the coolest thing to come from New Zealand since Unknown Mortal Orchestra and those roving landscape shots from “The Lord of the Rings.”

Williams draws influence from The Band and Gram Parsons, American country-rockers whose sound informs his singing and strumming. These Americana moods, paired with ghostly vocal layering and sprawling slide guitars, help to transform otherwise ordinary folk ditties into darker and more atmospheric songs. You can almost see the tumbleweeds rolling by on “Hello Miss Lonesome,” the album’s jumpstart opener. “After All” sounds like a forgotten Rolling Stones song from the band’s “Exile On Main Street” album.

All of these elements come together to form a record that is a cooler, grittier take on the Americana and folk revival of recent years than those by mainstream artists like Mumford and Sons or The Lumineers.

Start with: “Hello Miss Lonesome,” “After All,” “Dark Child.”

Recommended if you like: The Band, Frontier Ruckus, Mumford and Sons.