When you also become addicted to this band: Great Lake Swimmers. I've listened to 3 of their albums, the most recent Ongiara is the real gem, in my opinion. The track "Your Rocky Spine" carries a crisp banjo tune, as do most of the other tracks, but that got my attention to begin with. The shuffling drums and guitar that accompany it paint a slightly sadder background, and Tony Dekker's vocals also have a slightly dour tone, leading to obvious comparisons with M. Ward with fewer pack-years. Ongiara overall is a strong, cohesive album. Their sound is well established and well represented on that album. Other standouts on the album are "Passenger Song" and "Where In The World Are You " which carries a similar theme of allegory and love. I've also enjoyed Bodies and Minds, the album released prior to Ongiara, particularly the song "Various Stages." The first album, Moving Pictures Silent Films, a) lacks a banjo and b) lacks some of the musical cohesiveness of the later albums. Admittedly, I haven't listened to it too much to get a real feel for it. It has potential.
Also - here's a good thing to do for bands you love: Vote for NPR's best CD's of 2007. It's also a great reference for music we need to hear for ourselves.
We'll try to get parlour #2 set up before Christmas, keep an eye out.