Moogfest Bands: Foundations in indie-rock

Let's be honest: it's a hollow, blanket term with little meaning in the age of sub-sub-genres. That said, at a festival where even sub-sub-genres don't begin to encapsulate the spectrum of influences in the musical goulash, indie rock is probably as good as it's going to get for this rag-tag bunch of guitar-loving experimentalists. From rock-band side projects to dedicated electro-philes who can't shake that post-punk bug, these artists all share a common (however diluted) link to that most ambiguous of genres: indie rock. — D.S.

Multi-instrumentalist Annie Clark, mastermind behind the sprawling, theatrical creations of St. Vincent, began her meteoric rise as guitarist for the psychedelic, notoriously robed Polyphonic Spree. Her dark brand of chamber rock often teeters on the brink of schizophrenia, where orchestral, Disney-like arrangements take dark turns into territory that, quite frankly, would scare the hell out of Snow White. Oh, and she also shreds a guitar like nobody's business. — D.S.

Atlas Sound is the moniker for the ambient, melodic solo work of Deerhunter's Bradford Cox. The eccentric and highly prolific songwriter embraces a diverse musical pallet that touches on everything from shoegaze and krautrock to post-punk and feel-good pop. But whatever landscape Cox is embracing at the moment, one thing is certain: his repetitive, dreamy creations are sure to induce the best kind of trance. — D.S.

Cloudland Canyon is the ear-splitting, wall-of-noise brainchild of Panthers' Kip Ulhorn. The band's previous work (with King Khan and the Shrines' Simon Wojan) was centered in highly experimental, drone-y, all-over-the-goddamn-place psychedelia; but more recently, it's delved into a cacophony of dizzying shoegaze. Its latest effort, Fin Eaves, begs the question, "Is it even legal to use that many effects on a record?" And while that's debatable, there is enough semblance of hooks and pop sensibility buried beneath the ocean of delay to keep the onslaught of echoey space madness more intriguing than nauseating. — D.S.

TV on the Radio's genre-slaying concoctions take the bouncy energy of dance music, the dark synth landscapes of post-punk and the vocal dexterity of classic soul to a delightfully natural space where Prince and David Bowie suddenly have a lot in common with Echo and the Bunnymen and The Pixies. Basically, it's a modern, pop-friendly take on music your mom enjoy as much as the pretentious hipster at the record store rarities bin. — D.S.

 

Much to the dismay of just about everyone who likes to dance, LCD Soundsystem called it quits early this year. Luckily, the project's mastermind James Murphy teamed up with the band's live drummer Pat Mahoney to bring obscure dance records (it's been reported that often the pair themselves are unsure what they're spinning) to delighted audiences as Special Disco Version. Fans of Murphy's work listen closely — these are the tracks that shaped his creative output, and you're not likely to hear them again anytime soon. — D.S.

 

 

It could be argued that Dreams Come True is Chris Taylor's The Eraser. The Grizzly Bear bassist’s solo debut, under the CANT moniker, is packed with slow-burning, sinister electronic musings, complete with ghostly vocal layers and spacious but thoughtfully arranged atmospheres. And while these songs aren't especially dynamic, Taylor certainly knows how to take an idea and run with it. Which isn't always a bad thing, especially when it's a good idea. — D.S.

The Antlers walk a fine line between ethereal electronics and lush indie rock, though its latest effort is a clear move toward the former. The static builds that once served as the backdrop to The Antlers' climatic tales of despair have given way to more static, hazy keyboard atmospheres. However, one thing, perhaps the most important thing, remains constant: frontman Peter Silberman's devastating falsetto could make Chuck Norris cry. — D.S.

 

In high school, Chaz Bundick fronted an indie rock band at the same time he was developing a close musical partnership with Washed Out's Ernest Greene. So it makes sense that his beautifully complex work as Toro y Moi would retain some level of conflict between indie and chillwave. But having the freedom to write, arrange, sing and record everything oneself leaves a lot of wiggle room to explore. And Bundick seems comfortable in the in-between. What began as a heavily sampled, blippy synth endeavor has recently evolved into a more organic, retro dance sound, utilizing live instrumentation like organ and drums to craft cozy atmospheres that support the singer's heavily layered vocal melodies. — D.S.

 

For full Moogfest coverage, click here.

 

 

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