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.
Tomberlin At Weddings
Tomberlin is the abbreviated working name for Kentucky songwriter Sarah Beth Tomberlin. At Weddings is her immersive and emotional debut full-length. This is a spare folk record, often just a softly plucked acoustic guitar and Sarah's striking voice. It's really impressive, I don't think we can do better than this review where Stereogum names it Album of the Week.
Wire Pink Flag / Chairs Missing / 154
Reissued on LP for the first time in decades, beginning in 1977, these are the three albums that started it all! Bruce Gilbert, Graham Lewis, Colin Newman and Robert Gotobed would go on to become one of the most influential postpunk acts of their era, working in a sound and medium before it had a name. Mathy, rocking and angular, the sharp edges of "Pink Flag" would become more nuanced and varied by the time of 1979's "154". Outside of these first three entries, not certain where to begin? For last year's 40th anniversary, The Guardian put together a perfect assembly of the five songs that define their career.
Tony Molina Kill The Lights
Tony Molina, if you're not familiar, is a master of stripping pure guitar pop back to it's essentials. His songs are brief, and quick to the point, delivering ample melody and hooks in under 2 minute doses. And his songs are full of feeling, but are written with a careful ubiquity and universality that lets you the listener feel your own thing. Fans of classic indie-pop ala Teenage Fanclub, Guided By Voices, and The Posies need to hear this guy right away.
Ty Segall & White Fences Joy
Two of the brightest minds in today's world of psychedelic rock get together again for another collaboration. These guys really bring the best out of each other, both are avid collaborators, so it's not too surprising. Joy is all over the place, you really get to hear both artists' range, and it's a wild ride, tilting all the way from experimental to pastoral, bizarre passages flow to total rockers. A joy indeed.
Thee Oh Sees Smote Reverser
Thee Oh Sees have been one of the most exciting rock bands of the decade, and prolific at that. With no shortage of material to enjoy, sometimes appreciating the group is about appreciating any specific record's tweak of their adrenalized psych-punk formula. Smote Reverser finds them toying with a touch of heady 70s prog-awk, heavy on the fuzz. It's exactly what you want to hear when you put on a record with demonic beast trouncing a city on the cover!
T. Hardy Morris Dude, The Obscure
You may have heard T Hardy Morris in one of his previous bands Dead Confederate or Diamond Rugs, or maybe you haven't, they didn't exactly burn up the charts, and that might just be part of the inspiration behind his new guise. He's now out on his own making records arguably better than anything in either groups discography. One part that reverbed sounds of modern garage-psych, part lonesome neo-Americana, and another just classic down-on-their-luck songwriter, Mr Morris has created an excellent record with Dude, The Obscure.
Moldy Peaches Moldy Peaches
Perhaps the greatest record produced by the "anti-folk" movement is back in print! This is young Kimya Dawson (along with Adam Green) making direct and charming folk tunes grounded in a punk-rock ethos. Perhaps you've only heard these guys in the film Juno, here's a chance to get the records as intended. It really is a modern classic.