This week, we’re kicking off the Listening Party with local Western-leaning, moody-indie-rock act Nevada. The group has come a very long way since their first unstable steps onto the Asheville stage, and spent the better part of their first few years together in the shadow of vocalist Sean Robbins’ brother’s band, Wayne Robbins & The Hellsayers. But, with the release of their 2007 debut, The Sunlight and the Sound, Nevada has proven to be the dark horse, seemingly coming out of nowhere to become one of the most interesting and relevant bands in the local scene. We suggest starting with “She’s gone,” which is currently available on the group’s MySpace page.
Next up on the playlist is The Green Fields, an unabashedly joyful band helmed by Chris Mondia. There’s a kind of happy tone to their music which has often — and not inaccurately — been compared to the sound of the early Beach Boys, the Byrds and the work of Gram Parsons. In a sense, Mondia’s music is a throwback to the kind of musical optimism of rock music the early-to-mid 1960’s, before the counterculture became jaded and cynical. Assuming you’re in the mood for its relentless onslaught of upbeat and dreamy Americana, there’s a lot to like about the Green Fields’ sound. We suggest starting with “Here tonight.”
Closing out this week’s Listening Party, we thought it would be a good idea to wipe clean all the reflective emotion of Nevada and all the happy, easy-to-get-lost-in bliss of the Green Fields, and instead give you something can you can only enjoy if you really set your mind to it. What could be better fit for this than the music of Dig Shovel Dig? In order to “get” DSD, you’ll probably find it helpful to view them either as unabashedly experimental musicians in search of a new soundscape, or as a pair of incompetent auditory visionaries who like to hunt down an unruly sound, grapple it to the ground, give it a pink-belly and make fun of its mother until it’s too furious to be made into anything resembling regular music. There’s a good argument for both views, but the end result is the same, being a chaotic and bizarre explosion of sounds that, every so often, hints to an underlying vision. It’s not that Ted Robinson and Mark Williams aren’t good musicians — they’re outstanding in the right context, actually — but rather that they seem to have little interest in making any kind of music that isn’t interesting to them first and foremost. We suggest starting with “Higher Starts With A T,” which is available on their MySpace page.
Now, it’s your turn. Tell us your thoughts on these performers by posting into the comment fields below. This is your chance to be the music reviewer, so praise and pan as you see fit.
Also, if you’d like to suggest a band for Listening Party, or have questions about the column, visit this thread on our Mountainx.com forums