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.
Hi/Jack’s 2016 album ‘No Cover’ is one of those records that lacks something. Across its forty minutes, the duo pound through eleven tracks that blend a garage punk aesthetic with furious metal riffs. They certainly couldn’t be accused of approaching their work in a half-arsed way, but it shows why the guitar/drums/no bass set up is perfect for a purer garage rock sound but not much else. When applied to music that should be given the full bells and whistles approach – as with the semi-metallic influences that infuse most of Max Liam’s guitar playing – the lo-fi approach just sounds shoddy.
Since the demise of his indie rock band My Cruel Goro a few years ago, Andy K. Leland has immersed himself in a world of very lo-fi singer songwriter songs. His last EP was so DIY, it was possible to hear the creaking of floorboards as he played.
His new digital single ‘A Chair Is A Chair’ continues down an ever introspective path, this time with his sparse acoustic work joined by drone guitar and mellotron. The track has been complimented by a no-frills, lo-fi, VHS inspired video clip, which you can now view in full below.
In the summer of 2018, singer-songwriter Fred Abong released his ‘Homeless’ EP, effectively returning him to the world of recording and live performance. In support of the disc, Fred made extensive appearances across the UK with Kristin Hersh, including a very memorable show at Ramsgate Music Hall on a very hot Sunday night.
Unleashed into the wild on the eve of a second UK tour with Kristin, ‘Pulsing’ in many ways, is a logical continuation of ‘Homeless’. While half the EP takes an electric stance, fans of Abong’s previous release will find an immediate kinship in its deliberately introspective vibe.
Andy K. Leland first came to the world’s attention as one third of Italian/Icelandic alternative rock band My Cruel Goro. Disbanding after just two (excellent) EP releases, the band decided that having members so widespread wasn’t geographically viable and Andy embarked on a solo career. The first fruits of his solo work are minimal. Fans should not expect the full volume Ash-meets-S*M*A*S*H riffage of his previous band. Instead, ‘Happy Daze’ presents Leland with an acoustic guitar and a few microphones in a lo-fi, introspective set up.