This column covers what we're listening to from the far flung branches of Indie music. Read on for tips from lo-fi to shoegaze, post-punk to emo, indie-folk to art-pop, and anything between.
Wild Powwers Skin
We’re loving this new record from the Ballard trio. We already gushed a little about this one over here.
Cat Power Wanderer
The music of Chan Marshall is no secret by now, though as an artist gets deeper into their catalog some times it takes a little more reminding that they’ve got it. Cat Power has still got it. If anything Wanderer drops a little more of that old-school Cat Power spareness over her crisp and confident contemporary sound. Always worth hearing!
Adrianne Lenker Abysskiss
This is the pure solo outing from the voice behind the much loved (at least around this office) Big Thief. It’s just Adrianne and her guitar mostly, a little more raw loose and lofi. It’s great to hear the intricacy and soul of her playing of that instrument here, lending this record a mystic folky quality. Of course her songwriting is full of feeling and on-point as well.
Pile Odds and Ends
Meaty indie-rock with loud and noisy guitars is getting exotic, but Pile’s got some. This is technically a loosies and singles collection, but that’s always been a fruitful endeavor for bands working this lane. These guys range from cathartic to technical and back again, sometimes in one track. Vocals are smart and assured until they rip loose to a yell. There’s a lot happening on this one!
Goon Sax We’re Not Talking
These Australians subscribe to that Jonathan Richman school of vocal delivery, half spoken, cool, and heartfelt. Musically this is a little more filled-out than their spare debut, these guys sound like apt pupils of the brainy pop-underground. RIYL: The Soft Boys, The Go-Betweens, etc. It’s an invigorating listen!
Whitney Ballen You're A Shooting Star, I'm A Sinking Ship
Whitney is a Seattle songwriter with an immensely unique voice, haunting and high, and it might be too much for some. But for those on board she’s made a brilliant set of songs here, full of lyrical intrigue and honesty. This one has that occasionally soaring feel and melodicism, as well as emotional complexity, that marks a lot of the Northwest’s now-classics of indie-rock music.
V/A Uneven Paths: Deviant Pop From Europe 1980-1991
The always interesting Music From Memory label once again deviates from their self-ascribed field of ambient electronic music, with another perfectly assembled set. Curated by Resident Advisor writer, Raphael Top Secret, from the deepest recesses of European New Wave, Post Punk, Synth and Deviant Pop, this collection listens as a new discovery seemingly from some parallel decade of the 80s to the early 1990s. Even for the most dedicated of Post Punk and New Wave aficionados, there are numerous new names and uncharted Euro-centric Deviant Pop territory to be explored through these "Uneven Paths".
Greg Sage Straight Ahead
This is a reissue of Greg Sage’s long way-too-scarce solo LP from 1985. Away from his main gig leading The Wipers you get a little more of the raw anguish and the nuance of Mr. Sage’s songwriting, and also a healthy dose of the seedy psychedelia that it shares with some of the best of the Wipers mid-80s output. A great unsung record.