The Asheville music community let out a collective “Who the hell is Jackson Scott?” on Tuesday after Pitchfork plucked the 20-year-old former UNCA student from obscurity and featured his home-recorded song, “That Awful Sound,” as its Best New Track.
That’s not to say that Scott (also of local psych-rock outfit Sin Kitty) is undeserving of the nod. His hazy, lethargic indie pop is instantly likable and vaguely familiar to fans of jangly, lo-fi indie rock (check it out here). It’s just that no one seemed to know who this guy was. His website provided few, if any, clues.
“It’s not like I was necessarily trying to be like, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s really mysterious,’” Scott explained over coffee earlier this week. “It was more like … I find it annoying seeing pages where it’s like, ‘I’m this person, I’m from here, this is my life story: Now you can listen to my music.’”
It turns out, the Pitchfork feature surprised Scott as much as everyone else. He was walking home from the convenience store when a friend called and told him about the article.
“I was like, ‘There’s no f**king way.’ So I ran back to my house, and I was like, ‘This is nuts.’”
Since the feature posted on Feb. 26, “That Awful Sound” has received more than 30,000 listens. More importantly, a host of managers, booking agents and labels (including Fat Possum, Captured Tracks and Mexican Summer) have expressed interest.
“I don’t want to be implying that any of these are sure fire-things or anything, but I’ve been conversing a little with this guy from 4AD and from Domino, and either of those would be absolutely insane. 4AD would be like … if I could somehow be on the same label that the Pixies were dropped on, I think I would probably just collapse and not be able to understand how it happened.
“The funny thing about it is, I was trying to send [the album] to these very same labels in November. And obviously it was just another unsolicited thing and I knew I probably wasn’t going to get a response, and I didn’t. But it’s kind of funny: You get on Pitchfork and everyone’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m really digging this track!’”
“It’s definitely pretty nuts. But it’s cool because it’s not as if it totally happened out of nowhere. I really have been pretty much devoting all my time, literally, to music for the last year or so.”
Scott made the album at home on a four-track tape recorder last fall, playing all the instruments himself, and then posted it online for free. Ironically, he removed the tracks just before the Pitchfork article at the urging of a small Brooklyn-based label he was then in talks with. Now, with so much interest from national labels, it’s unlikely they’ll reappear. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to wait for its official release.
“If anyone really really wants it, at least until I officially get signed, I’ll just send it to them if they, like, email me or something,” he offers with charming nonchalance.
— Dane Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.