The Bloomington indie Jagjaguwar evolution
Back in 1996, the Bloomington (Indiana) indie Jagjaguwar was conceived as a way for the band Curious Digit to release their music. But the label has since evolved into an indie juggernaut, with a catalogue that includes titles by Jad Fair and Daniel Johnston, Black Mountain, Okkervil River, and the Besnard Lakes. Here’s a selection of tunes you can find at www.jagjaguwar.com/mp3.php.
Okkervil River, “Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe”
This curiously titled track from Okkervil River’s upcoming The Stage Names is rousing and anthemic. It takes a hair-raising left turn in a bridge filled with psychotic atonal piano and squalls of guitar feedback. Will Sheff’s angst-ridden, powerfully emotive Win Butler–esque vocals bring it all home. If this song is any indication, The Stage Names is sure to end up on a number of Top 10 lists at the end of the year.
Minus Story, “Stitch Me Up”
Off the recently released My Iron Truss, this track reveals a more polished side to Kansas-based lo-fi psychedelic rockers Minus Story. John Congleton (Explosions in the Sky, Polyphonic Spree) produced, and under his guidance the band’s Olivia Tremor Control sprawl has morphed into something tighter and more controlled. Harrowing and sordid lyrics juxtapose with a gentle xylophone pop reverie; it all evokes Nico-era Velvets before segueing into a hallucinatory guitar-and-piano rave-up.
Julie Doiron, “No More”
On “No More,” a track from Woke Myself Up, Julie Doiron is joined by her former bandmates from ’90s Sub Pop band Eric’s Trip. Unfortunately, the reunion produces little of their old noise-pop magic. The spare and generic rock accompaniment detracts from the moody indie folkster’s musings about love and loss, and even the talented Doiron can’t keep the result from being flimsy and disposable.
Lightning Dust, “Listened On”
Lightning Dust is a side project featuring members of retro space-rockers Black Mountain; both bands drink deep from the same late-’60s/early-’70s psych-rock well, but “Listened On” contrasts Lightning Dust’s lighter, folk-pop yin with the yang of Black Mountain’s shambolic, hedonistic assault. Amber Webber’s plaintive vocals blend nicely with acoustic guitar and Joshua Wells’s organic keyboard warmth. The morose atmosphere, however, may leave some yearning for Black Mountain’s super-stoned good-time groove.
, Amber Webber, Okkervil River, The Olivia Tremor Control, More