10 essential dark americana albums

About the list: Making this list is equivalent to skating on a thin ice, since almost everything are ”dark” or ”americana”. Anyway, here’s my list. You probably got a different list, completely or partially.



 Cover Album Artist





1401739331 65



North Star Deserter




Vic Chesnutt

Some people highlight "West of Rome" while others emphasize "At the Cut". But this no. 1. The lyrics are dark: "...but all the recurring dreams, will increase and then peter out and cease, tears do evaporate, but oh so slowly like piss on toilet seat".





1401739331 65



I See a Darkness




Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

This is Will Oldham's sixth album and the first released under the Bonnie 'Prince' Billy moniker. The album is a masterpiece without any weaknesses. It's a very dark album. In fact, it's pitch-black and too calcitrant for most people.





Lambchop-Is A Woman album cover



The Mysterious Tale Of How I Shouted Wrong-Eyed Jesus





Jim White

The debut album from Jim White. The actual recordings took little time, but the editing required ten weeks and many hours per day. On the album Christian imagery is combined with Southern cultural heritage. Deep into the underbelly of the South, that is.





Lambchop-Is A Woman album cover



 Is a Woman





Lo-fi americana from Lambchop. The album marks a change from the more lavish sound on former albums with it's sparse arrangements and minimalist instrumentation. Frontman Kurt Wagner's revolving lineup knows how to do things. 





1401739331 65



A Handful of Locusts




The Victor Mourning

The debut album from The Victor Mourning. I stumbled over them and thought how good can it be? I was amazed. There is a dark streak in their music, but at the same time it's razor sharp and cuts right through your marrow and bones.





1401739331 65




Island of the Dolls





American Sinner

With this third album they take their music in a new direction. The songs are darker than ever, while the vocals are restrained. What can I say more than that I'm flabbergasted. The title refers to "La Isla de las Muñecas".




1401739331 65



 The Shivers





The Shivers

The Shivers was an early and important precursor. The songs are grim stories embedded in beautiful music. It’s very deceptive and highly effective. The Shivers were "playing and singing each note as if the wolf was permanently at the door".








Like, Love, Lust and the Open Halls of the Soul




Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter

This is the third album by Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. The songs "The Air is Thin" and "Station Grey" stand out. Like, Love and Lust is the only things that matters according to a heavily tattooed bar patron in Reno, NV.




1401739331 65



The Luxury of Sin




Leslie Woods and the Dark Mountain Orchid

"The Luxury of Sin" is the second album by Leslie Woods and the Dark Mountain Orchid. The songs "Train", "Little Bit of Me" and "Heart is Black" stand out. "Dark, erotic, dreamy-style" according to reputable site No Depression. 




1401739331 65



Regard the End




 Willard Grant Conspiracy

Uncut wrote: "In ditching most of their traditional band ethic, they've tapped into the finest folk gothic traditions of death, suffering, misery and hardship and fashioned a paradoxically uplifting, transformative record of extraordinary power."



Before After Before