album of the week: Jaguar Palace - RF Shannon

words: Kat Harding

RF Shannon is poised to break out this year. Following SXSW appearances, back up on Jess Williamson’s Heart Song record and tour, and an incredible album, Jaguar Palace, out now on Venice, California’s, Cosmic Dreamer label, there is nothing to hold them back. Shane Renfro, the man behind the band, with Jeff Renfro, Austin Burge, Luke Dawson, and Nathan Dixey, have put forth haunting songs that stick in your chest long after the record has stopped spinning.

Each song on the album is a long, slow listen, deserving the full attention of a darkened sky, candles burning, and no distractions. If you can do all of this in Marfa, Texas, Joshua Tree National Park, or any other western wonderland, all the better. Open spaces and desert feelings are woven through the album, with reverberation on guitar, flickering flutes, and dark, heavy drums.

Title track and lead song “Jaguar Palace” kicks off with a drawn out blues feel, Renfro’s vocals rebounding off Southwestern rock formations, coming back to join with vibrating guitars and whispering keys. “In The Wilds Of My Mind” picks right up with a reverberating, dark sound, brightened by Renfro’s sweet voice. While the music is crashing down around you, his voice comes through as though a light at the end of the tunnel.

Closer “New Weimer Train” is the longest, clocking in at more than 11 minutes, but holds and captivates your attention. It’s a journey, and you’re looking out of the window as the landscapes blur past, your feelings remaining still and calm. A sweet piano twinkles through the song, over twangy guitar and lap steel, and echoing vocals.

This is road trip, mind wandering, desert listening music. You need to be warm and in a wide open space, or at least daydreaming of one while at the office. Order the new record here.