Baltimore’s Other Colors have been mining the well of “exploratory pop” music for the past few years, putting out home recordings driven by infectious melodies, vocal harmonies and atmospheric lo-fi production. Comprised of songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Will Ryerson on guitar and vocals, Pat Berberich on bass guitar and vocals, and Dan Whatley on keyboard, guitar and vocals, the group teamed up with members of Dope Body and Wye Oak for their latest album, Free Thoughts, now available digitally and on cassette via Genpop. Stream it below.
Other Colors play our co-presented show in Toronto tomorrow night alongside Jacco Gardner and company. Details HERE.
In his book The Poetics of Rock, Albin Zaks explains that recording “includes many skills and sensibilities not traditionally associated with musical composition.” Zaks was one of few, aside from perhaps Les Paul, who foresaw the future of recording and the ways in which it would not only change music, but alter the ways in which musicians were able to create it. Today, we are seeing an increasing number of musicians who rarely enter a traditional studio, but can create an entire record all on their own with only a few microphones and an 8 track. It eliminates the need for a band, and it allows the genius of one musician to come alive without any outside help. Take Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker or Matt Mondanile’s early Ducktails recordings, or perhaps the latest example in Dutchman Jacco Gardner. Mining a well of 60s influences and studio masters like Syd Barrett, The Zombies, Curt Boettcher, Gardner’s debut LP for Trouble in Mind, Cabinet of Curiosities, traverses a similarly psychy-pop trail and was recorded entire by Gardner in his “Shadow Shoppe” home studio in Zwaag, Netherlands. But, like Parker, Gardner also sought help from a seasoned veteran to during the mixing and mastering process, famed studio engineer Jan Audier who worked on albums by Q65 and Golden Earring (in Parker’s case it was Dave Friedman of Flaming Lips fame). Hear Gardner’s lush arrangements and studio wizardry in the standout album track, “Where Will You Go,” below.
Purchase Cabinet of Curiosities here.
San Francisco’s Rangers first came onto my radar last year with the release of the highly impressive debut LP Suburban Tours (and then again on the split Bored Fortress 7″ with Ducktails). That release featured a collection of infectuous radio nuggets steeped in the frothy haze of lo fi, tape-warped pop. Much of that sound carries over into the new LP, Pan Am Stories, but on this one those lo fi 80s pop grooves meld with with genuinely proggy undertones to push the songs into jammier, more expansive soundscape. That’s not surprising considering that the man behind it all, multi-instrumentalist Joe Knight, “grew up taking classical guitar lessons from a dude who claimed to have ‘toured with the Dead.'” Below, listen to one of the new tracks from Pan Am Stories, and then head over to No Not Fun to purchase it. This one will surely be making a run for our ‘best of 2011’ list.
“Conversations On a Jet Stream”