Saturday, October 22, 2011

Return of attack of indies

How many times do we have to tell you? How many times?? Yes, the explosion of d-i-y music has put the means of production in the hands of a slew of wannabes who should probably stick with their day jobs. But it has also enabled a number of truly, phenomenally, mind-blowingly talented indie acts to deliver music to you that deserves both your attention and that of a million more like you. All you have to do is LISTEN.

For example, in just-for-the-heck-of-it reverse alpha order:

Last Charge of the Light Horse is the vehicle for the amazing songwriting (and singing and guitar playing) of Jean-Paul Vest.  Last Charge's two full-lengths, 2005's Getaway Car and 2008's Fractures, are musical gut-punches, song cycles that explore the emotional trapdoors and cul-de-sacs of suburban America with a fearless, unrelenting honesty. This is powerful poetry set to music, friends. And the aptly-named Curve EP, reviewed this week on the DV, is another exceptional notch in Mr. Vest's songwriting belt.

Chris Cubeta might be the most prodigiously talented singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist-arranger-producer-Yankee fan in the universe. When he's not busy producing a raft of other NYC-area artists at his Galuminum Foil Studios, he and partners in crime Danny Lanzetta, Jeff Berner and John Passineau make stunningly beautiful Springsteenesque Americana as Chris Cubeta and the Liars Club. Their 2006 disc Faithful and this year's self-titled follow-up are both brilliant pieces of work.

Big Big Train are simply the most talented progressive rock band working today, bar none. Their 2009 album The Underfall Yard and 2010 EP Far Skies Deep Time match up against anything Genesis, Pink Floyd or Yes produced in their prime. BBT are currently working on a double CD due out in 2012, English Electric, which promises to be truly epic. If you're a prog fan and are missing out on these guys, you are missing out indeed.

Arms Of Kismet make "lush, layered, ultra-literate and idiosyncratic postmodern pop," and they do it like no one else. Like Last Charge, AOK is the vehicle for one man's musical vision, and singer-songwriter-guitarist-producer Mark Doyon's capacity for invention feels limitless. Debut disc Eponymous (2004) and follow-up Cutting Room Rug (2005) form the foundation, while 2010's simply brilliant Play For Affection climbs the pinnacle of insightful, tuneful, thoroughly unconventional music to set your every neuron firing.

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