Up-and-comers on the indie music scene have not gone into hibernation. Watch for them closely and shake-off winter slumber with their new releases.
Ode to Thinking
It’s a rare occurrence when an artist goes from buzz to AWOL to reemerging with a triumphant and fresh new sound. Such is the case with Bobby Long. The British-born, NYC-based singer-songwriter made a fan of Dave Matthews back in 2009 and was signed to Matthews’ ATO Records. Before Long knew it, he was performing on Leno and released a couple of full-lengths and two EPs on ATO, though none of them took off. Newly signed to the Nashville-based, more roots-centric Compass Records, Ode to Thinking is the sound of an artist hitting the restart button. Roots, blues, country and folk are all genres Long seems comfortable playing and this offering demonstrates a more lyrically nuanced approach.
Some Pulse readers may be familiar with the spirited sax sounds of LA brass-man Kamasi Washington through his solos on Kendrick Lamar’s smash LP To Pimp a Butterfly. The musical savants met on the west coast music scene and instantly hit it off, but Washington would follow his contributions on Butterfly with a nice little record of his own. This three-disc, 17-song suite fittingly entitled The Epic most certainly is. It’s filled with a mix of up-tempo, funk and fusion-style jazz, proving that Washington is more than a session musician for big name rappers. His live show features some intensely volatile improvisation and is well worth the winter ride to see him play at Webster Hall in February.
(Exploding in the Sound)
Regular readers of this column might remember the recommendation of Torres a few months back. She was in the area again this winter, but with a new opening act music fans should have on their radar: Boston-based Palehound. While frontwoman Ellen Kempner is too young to have grown up with 90s alt-rock heroines like Liz Phair and Veruca Salt, listeners of a certain age will hear those artists’ guitar-heavy influences all over Palehound’s debut LP. The single, “Healthier Folk” is an anthem of self-depreciation featuring crunchy guitar riffs and clever lyrics that perfectly balance the thin line between teenage angst and slacker malaise.