For almost four decades, Matt Wilson has been a vital, though often-overlooked part of Minneapolis’ influential indie scene. His work with the Twilight Hours and, especially, Trip Shakespeare provided an artful pop counterpoint to the punk-leaning music emanating from the Twin Cities in the ’80s and early ’90s. Wilson’s latest project is Matt Wilson & His Orchestra, whose When I Was A Writer (Pravda) is a collection of pretty, intimate songs—not by an actual orchestra, but a quartet featuring banjo and harp. It’s a stunning record, one that again proves that Matt’s aim is true.
Loud, quiet, loud. This not only describes KatieJane Garside’s singing style but also the way she lives her life. Her maniacal, performance-art-worthy stage presence—first witnessed with early-’90s rockers Daisy Chainsaw—is a stark contrast to the soft-spoken woman who’s spent a substantial amount of her life living in seclusion at sea—as a teenager with her parents and sister on the family yacht (four years), then with romantic/musical partner Chris Whittingham and their daughter on the family sailboat (four more years). liar, flower is Garside and Whittingham’s current band—an outgrowth of Ruby Throat—and the duo is set to release debut album Geiger Counter via One Little Independent on August 21. These are the real isolation drills.
You either see L.A. or you be L.A. Pokey LaFarge chose the latter. His 2018 move from St. Louis to Los Angeles almost killed him. And quickly. So while Rock Bottom Rhapsody (New West) was written during his demonic downward spiral in the City Of Angels, the album was recorded the next year in Chicago when LaFarge returned to the heartland of the living. These 13 timeless tunes about a dude dead set on destruction are sung by a wretch who reached redemption. It’s not quite a Hollywood ending, but at least LaFarge will be around to make the sequel.
A funny thing happened on the way to Braids isolating themselves in their Montreal studio to work—with no outside involvement—on their fourth album. Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie, Decemberists, Nada Surf, Tegan And Sara) rented space there for a different project, so the trio decided to let him into their circle of trust to co-produce and engineer Shadow Offering (Secret City). The result is Braids’ best LP yet, a dynamic art-pop album that’s as musically intrepid as it is lyrically intimate. As Raphaelle Standell-Preston sings on lead single “Eclipse,” “There’s so many layers.”
If you missed out earlier this year on the black watch’s Brilliant Failures (A Turntable Friend), have no fear, as John Andrew Fredrick and Co. will be back with 19th LP Fromthing Somethat on October 23 via ATOM. Fredrick and his revolving cast of bandmates have spent the past 32 years cranking out the kind of brainy indie rock that critics love but somehow never manages to find a bigger audience. And if you overlook Fromthing Somethat as well, Fredrick won’t care a bit. He’ll have album number 20 in the can, just waiting for you to ignore all over again.