Artist of the Month

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Andrew Strader's debut "No Improvement" needs no improvement to be a solid listen

Andrew Strader's debut recording No Improvement is a stripped down slacker tale that still feels fleshed-out and doesn't cut any corners. No Improvement takes itself completely seriously, sometimes a feat for bedroom compositions, but still takes advantage of its lo-fi tape hiss aesthetic to keep the whole thing fun. Vocals hiss and crack, solos wander in and out of the frame, and the (remarkably tasteful) reverb fills your ears like cotton. It's a brief listen, and you'd be doing yourself a disservice by skipping it. -Austin Phy


Shanshala explores the dark corners on "Creepier Than Family"

There's something weird going on in Nashville, and I like it. Remember when the underground scene started getting some attention and everybody realized there was a rich layer of music underneath the shiny radio country exterior? That whole scene is sure no secret anymore, and we're starting to see signs of a layer growing underneath that. It's moldy, the temperature is stifling, and we have every reason to believe this is where the mole people are hiding some form of civilization.

Ace Quaalude is the first one we spotted, but that could have been an isolated incident. It's when we noticed Velcro & The Slow Children and its parent Mesoamerica Records that it became clear some kind of funky movement was brewing.  Shanshala's Creepier Than Family is the sprawling manifesto for that movement. Featuring the aforementioned misfit stalwarts, as well as fellow Deli favorites Bummr City and a handful of other contributors, the album sounds something like if Ween were raised on the garage rock ethos. Despite covering a lot of ground, Creepier Than Family keeps focus with admirable precision. The Bandcamp page notes that these songs were recorded during sessions for an official full-length debut by Shanshala. Keep an eye out for that, but hit the stream below in the meantime. -Austin Phy


Spliff Jacksun gets heady on "Sad Summer II"

Have you ever been alone in a department store after hours? Things change after the lights go down. It's almost imperceptible, yet every bit as impossible to ignore as it is to describe. The gravity feels a little different and the air takes on a sinister tension. It's the same place you've been a million times before, but a change in time and perception tranforms it into an alien planet.

Sad Summer II from Spliff Jacksun is the music that plays on the half-busted PA somewhere up in the rafters of that department store. At times Sad Summer II is almost serene. At other times, it borders on maddening in the discomfort evoked by its dilapidated lo-fi rap beats. The only constant is a slightly skewed forward motion—a detuned synth here, a dragging snare hit you can never quite latch on to over there—that lodges itself in a part of your brain that you probably don't tend to very often. Hit the stream below and get ready to check out a real weird headspace. -Austin Phy


Celebrate 3rd and Lindsley's 25th anniversary tonight (04.05) with *repeat repeat, American Dream, and Benjamin Harper

What plans do you have for your next birthday? Do you have a badass week-long series of show happening in your living room? No? Then chances are you aren't 3rd and Lindsley (your ability to read this article is another clue, though I have no doubt the dawn of sentient music venues is on the horizon), which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in style this week. Included in the week of festivities is a little shindig tonight (04.05) featuring *repeat repeat, American Dream, and Benjamin Harper of Magnolia Sons on an all-locals bill you don't want to miss.

Check out the full week's calendar at the 3nL website (does anyone call it that?) and stream a *repeat repeat track below. -Austin Phy


Velcro & the Slow Children harness some weird energy for "Enough to Die While Sleeping"

Enough to Die While Sleeping, the fruits of a collaboration between Syd Shanshala and Chandler Mills Brown, is the apex of bedroom music. That's "bedroom music" as an aesthetic more than a description of technique—the cough syrup weirdness is here in full force, but the production values and planning are a step above what's typically associated with outsider art. Every move is intentional, and each track and transition lands with its feet on the ground and its eight hands in the air.

 As far as we can tell, this is the first release on Mesoamerica Records, a budding label/art collective founded by Brown. If this album, a freak-flags-high triumphant march heralding an evolution in outsider art, is any indication of what we'll be seeing from them in the future, consider us psyched. -Austin Phy



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