Hooray for independent record companies Narnack, Wichita, and Dischord — all of them are worthy of Pulitzer Prizes for releasing records that smash the existing trends that bog down creativity. Wichita, the label that introduced the world to Brave Captain and early Bright Eyes, has rereleased the first records from My Morning Jacket, At Dawn and Tennessee Fire. (Also available are limited editions of My Morning Jacket’s new 7″ with songs from its yet-to-be-named summer release.) These guys are poised to be indie rock’s next wet dream, with a sound reminiscent of Neil Young and Crazy Horse, reinventing the sound of Americana with a gleeful spin and even taking the piss out of perfect takes. Jim James’ reedy voice over the scraggly, rough, and ragged edges of Tennessee Fire is wonderful. At Dawn is more of a diverse exploration, and it could be a template for future releases. Both are double gatefold albums.
Narnack Records has been busy releasing music by Guitar Wolf, Friends of Dean Martinez, and the Coachwhips. This tiny New York label with San Francisco connections has finally put out the long-awaited Sonic Youth/Erase Errata split 7″ as part of its ongoing Buddy series on limited-edition colored vinyl, and it sounds bitchin’. To pair these two is genius, and doesn’t happen very often. In other words, go get one now. Also out on Narnack is the West Coast’s answer to dance-punk, Condor‘s A Big One, at times sounding like a demented Mario Brothers routine and others like a menacing Devo or even a more dirge-y Interpol, minus all the bullshit New York posturing.
Black Eyes‘ self-titled LP, out on Dischord, is the ol’ new punk rock filled with politics, stream of-consciousness poetry, cuss words, and the dissing of a defunct major-label band. Ian MacKaye produced, so to say the group sounds derivative of Fugazi is a given. This can grow weary at times, but with each movement the Eyes still seem to keep it inventive and fresh.
Some quick notes about reissues: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club rereleased early singles “Whatever Happened to My Rock ‘n’ Roll” as well as “Spread Your Love.” Pajama Slave Dancers‘ first recordings can be found on the tiny Italian label Mindless Records, with the supergreat songs “No Dick,” “Trainwreck on Prom Night,” and “Porcelain Bus.” The new Vagrant split 7″ from the Get Up Kids and Rocket from the Crypt is not worth buying, but Evan Dando‘s new LP, Baby I’m Bored, is totally worth it. Yep, that Evan Dando has a great thing going these days.