Monday, September 20, 2010

John Vanderslice Drops Free EP

John Vanderslice has always had something of a reputation as being one of the more solid individuals in the indie rock scene. So, when it came over the wire that his new EP Green Grow The Rushes was being given away for free, we can't say we were exactly shocked that he would indulge in such awesomeness.

The record finds the versatile Vanderslice in one of his more experimental modes, and the tracks all have a certain minimalist air that places Vanderslice's multi-tracked vocals atop percussion and subtle instrumentation. Given that the tracks were recorded with a variety of collaborators, it's interesting that they manage to achieve a certain level of sonic unity.

That being said, there is also versatility in the tempos and delivery, and the record is by no means overly staid. While it's bookended by the more meditative "Thule Fog" and "Penthouse Window", the tracks in between offer a solid landscape: "I'll Never Live Up To You" finds Vanderslice dipping his toe in some 8-bit synths, "Pony Express" finds a more organic singer-songwriter vibe, and "Streetlights" is notable as the record's most rock and roll moment.

The fifth track, "Lay Down" (below), was especially notable for us here at HAD, in that it was engineered and produced by Spoon's Jim Eno. Eno manages to harbor Vanderslice's melodic and melancholy side, while at the same time balancing it with a straight ahead drum track and some crunchy atmospheric guitars. Occasionally, JV's darker vibe can get us down, but this track manages to keep things flowing musically and capture the essence of emotion at the same time. Win.

As we mentioned, you can enjoy all this awesomeness for free (mp3 or uncompressed!) by heading to Vanderslice's web site. Alternatively, if you share our fetish (and JV's) for all things analog, then you can bide your time with the digital copies, and pick up the vinyl pressing that's due early next year. Either way - enjoy!