Fred Abong was especially busy throughout 2018 and 2019. He re-ignited his on/off solo career with the excellent ‘Homeless’ EP, which subsequently saw him touring as support with his old Throwing Muses bandmate Kristin Hersh. That was swiftly followed by the equally cool lo-fi release ‘Pulsing’ which saw critical acclaim from a few indie websites which led to Abong going on the road with Hersh once more. Not just as support act, but doubling up as the evening’s opening entertainment and as bassist with the KH Trio.
With a maudlin heart that could be compared to The National and Elbow, but driven by a noisy and distorted wall of sound that ensures they never sound too much like either band, October Drift’s debut album ‘Forever Whatever’ was an enjoyably downbeat affair. Between a solid sound and some brilliantly constructed rock pop hooks, it was the kind of record that was broad in appeal for the indie/rock fan. The events of 2020 meant that the band weren’t able to promote the release via a mass of live dates, but their online presence and a few very vocal fans more than helped to spread the word.
Trevor and The Joneses’ 2012 full length LP ‘There Was Lightning’ was a well-constructed celebration of retro rock. The Vegas band’s fuzzy guitar driven style pulled a bunch of great late 60s and 70s influences together and gave garage band fans a record that blended psych and rock with the best elements of The Stooges, Lou Reed and Neil Young’s Crazy Horse. What it lacked in originality it more than made up for with enthusiasm, and despite being the kind of record that took a while before it found an audience, it had a few very vocal fans. Not least of these was Chris Topham, owner of the independent UK record label Plane Groovy, who picked up the album for a vinyl release in 2014, long before vinyl sales rocketed and twelve inches of shiny black plastic became the hip medium of choice.
Over the past few years, a clutch of great indie bands emerged that took influence from the 90s far more than most. A few real standouts, The Daysleepers sounded as if they’d been raised on a steady diet of The Cure circa 1990, while the brilliant Muncie Girls and Adult Magic would have been right at home on an Indie Top 20 cassette.
After Guided By Voices reunited in 2012, the band went into recording overdrive. Robert Pollard’s abilities to be prolific were always known – at any one time, he could be working on a variety of projects – but few would have suspected the band would release three albums of brand new material in a little over ten months. Their comeback disc ‘Let’s Go Eat The Factory’ was a return to many of the ramshackle lo-fi experiments that filled the much-loved ‘Alien Lanes’ and while it sounded great upon release, time has allowed a little rust to set in. Some of the moments that sounded like welcome imperfections now sound like generic GBV filler rather than lo-fi quirks. Thanks to a few amazing tunes – and a really catchy single in ‘Doughnut For A Snowman’ – it’s worth a spin once in a while, but looking at the much bigger picture, it ranks somewhere in the mid table of the band’s vast output.