Yep, the music industry is still dying. Eric Bachmann, the singer/songwriter behind Crooked Fingers and '90s indie-rockers the Archers of Loaf, knows from experience. After working with major indies like Merge and Saddle Creek, Bachmann gambled that he could promote himself as well as any label, and he self-released the previous Crooked Fingers LP. It disappeared with little blog lust or Pitchfork hype.
When the time came for a follow-up, Bachmann appealed directly to his fans. He set up a Kickstarter account to fund a sequel to his well-loved 2002 covers EP Reservoir Songs, raising more than $12,000 in a few days. A $15 donation reserved a vinyl copy of Reservoir Songs II; larger sums could net fans tickets to Crooked Fingers shows and even a private concert.
Still, Reservoir Songs II isn't just fanservice. Bachmann recasts old chestnuts like Glen Campbell & John Hartford's "Gentle on My Mind" and Merle Haggard's "Shelly's Winter Love" as atmospheric and melancholy folk pop. His raspy croon flirts between Tom Waits and Neil Diamond, evincing a weary resignation that contrasts nicely with the music's bright textures. Reservoir Songs II might not match the first volume's depth, but it's a pleasant diversion for dedicated fans.