Tobin Sprout, former guitarist / songwriter of indie-rock icons Guided By Voices, has a new album (his first in 7 years), The Universe And Me (Burger Records), out on January 27. The Universe and Me takes a deliberately primitive approach that focuses on feeling, as opposed to production. The result is a vague bridge between the ballads of psych-era Beatles, and the haunting vulnerability of Daniel Johnston’s Hi, How Are You?.
Sprout penned and sang GBV classics including 14 Cheerleader Coldfront, It’s Like Soul Man, Awful Bliss, Ester’s Day, To Remake The Young Flier and Islands (She Talks In Rainbows). Burger Records will also be reissuing Sprout’s out-of-print 1990s Matador solo albums, Carnival Boy and Moonflower Plastic. In 2017, Sprout will be performing throughout the US with his 4-piece band.
Elf Power formed in 1994 and over the last 23 years have released thirteen albums, two eps, and a handful of singles, while touring North America, Europe, and Japan many times. Albums such as 1998’s Dave Fridmann-produced “A Dream In Sound” and 2008’s collaboration with the late Vic Chesnutt, “Dark Developments” have cemented the bands’ reputation as the finest purveyors of modern melodic psychedelic folk rock around. Their tour in support of their last album , 2013’s “Sunlight on the Moon” , took them on an extensive tour in support of Neutral Milk Hotel’s much acclaimed reunion tour, as well as dates with Broken Bells and headlining dates.
Their latest album “Twitching in Time” combines experimental arrangements and sublime songwriting with their powerful live bombast, into their strangest, most cohesive, and most exciting sounding album yet. Opening track “Halloween Out Walking” combines minimal and beautiful folk rock arrangements with otherworldy Moog synthesizer gurglings to awe-inspiring effect. Other highlights include “Watery Shreds”, a piano ballad that transforms itself into an explosive an unexpected distorted guitar drone freakout, sounding like an unlikely marriage of avant-garde keyboardist Laurie Anderson and drone metallers Sunn 0)) . Songs like the title track and “Cycling Aimlessly” are classic fuzzed out melodic rock songs the likes of which the band has become known for , while songs like “Gorging on the Feast” explore a jazzy, melancholy terrain before descending into a shredding heavy rock assault. The constant shifting of sounds and styles makes for one of the band’s most diverse and satisfying albums yet. On this album, singer/songwriter Andrew Rieger and longtime collaborator multi-instrumentalist Laura Carter are joined by Matthew Garrison on bass, Peter Alvanos on drums, and Davey Wrathgabar on guitar.
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