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indie Archives - County Tracks
Dec 232021
 
best vermont albums of 2021
20. Narrow Shoulders – Now Be Here

Spare and haunting, the debut release from Narrow Shoulders’ Zach Pollakoff does a lot with a little. Ambient noise, synth tones, the occasional pluck of guitar string, or a simple drum beat get layered just so to create an immersive instrumental world. The fact that Pollakoff works for A-list pop producer Ariel Rechtshaid (Haim, Vampire Weekend, etc) in his day job is no surprise. Though the genres couldn’t be more different, Pollakoff clearly knows to to construct a soundscape.

19. Jack O’ the Clock – Leaving California


The only progressive rock I have much use for is Jethro Tull and Jack O’ the Clock’s new record scratches that folksy itch nicely (the band name even evokes a Tull song). No, there’s no flute solos, but a whole host of other instruments make appearances, from violin to harp to sudden bursts of choir – and that’s just in one track! Then the next song opens with a clarinet solo. It’s not a flute, but close enough. Continue reading »

The Best Vermont Songs of 2021

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Dec 222021
 
best vermont songs of 2021
25. Jade Relics – With You


My main gig is covering cover songs, so I appreciate a song that shouts out “Nina Simone covering Bee Gees” (that’s the 11th Best Bee Gees Cover Ever, in case you were wondering). A new production trio from three veterans of Vermont’s hip-hop scene – Elder Orange, IAME, Rico James – “With You” brings some freak-funk vibes, like some old Stevie Wonder sample. Maybe someone will cover this soon. Continue reading »

The Best Vermont EPs of 2021

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Dec 202021
 
best vermont eps 2021
10. Lavenderlux – Nest Inertia


A remote collaboration between Vermont singer Amelia Wilcox and Washington musician Joseph Human, Lavenderlux arrives fully formed on their debut EP Nest Inertia. “Itching” touches on depression and boredom with phase-shifting guitars and Wilcox’s buttery vocals, while “Hold Out” features chiming instrumentation and a catchy slow-burn melody. Continue reading »

The Best New Songs of August-September

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Sep 302021
 
Alice Damon – Treetop Winds


In 2013, revered reissue label Light in the Attic dug up an obscure artist named Alice Damon for their compilation I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America 1950-1990. They drew the track “Waterfall Winds” from an album she’d recorded in the early ’80s in northern Vermont and, apparently, never released. She died several years ago, but her album, Windsong, is finally getting its four-decades-delayed release next month. The breathy, wordless vocals sound like Juliana Barwick long before her time. Continue reading »

Sep 282021
 
tom pearo

One of my favorite albums of 2019 was titled I Am A Mountain. Despite it being an entirely instrumental album, Tom Pearo’s ambient guitar-driven odyssey came with a rich storyline, a mythical quest of light and darkness. Pearo’s first release since that Tolkien-esque epic is a three-and-a-half-minute single, “Love Wave.” Despite its more modest size, though, “Love Wave” is no less ambitious; he went from from a Mountain high above sea level to recording literally underwater. Continue reading »

The Best New Songs of July

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Jul 302021
 
best songs july 2021
Abby Sherman – I’ll Be There


Abby Sherman’s “I’ll Be There” is not a Jackson 5 cover, but the sentiment is much the same. It rocks a lot harder though, with some punchy swagger in the instrumentation and a killer guitar solo. The sound underpins Sherman’s bluesy belt in the Susan Tedeschi vein, which she really unleashes near the end. [Update: I must be prescient – a few days after I drafted this blurb, Susan actually sat in with Abby on this exact song!]

Adam Rabin – Maiden Voyage of the Acrolite


The slide guitar on “Maiden Voyage of the Acrolite” at first sounds like early Fleetwood Mac, but over the course of the two minutes the song morphs entirely, to a electro-prog-funk mash. It’s weird, but all those genres packed into such a small package works far better than you’d expect. Continue reading »

The Best New Songs of June

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Jun 302021
 
best songs june 2021
Bull’s Head – When He Speaks


No idea what the opening verse means, but I dig this creepy David Lynch energy: “When he speaks it’s all poetry / And he claims that his words are free / But under the table he’s / Got a gut and it’s full of bees” Continue reading »

The Best New Songs of May

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Jun 012021
 
The Best New Songs of May
Babehoven – Bad Week


No, indie-pop duo Babehoven “Bad Week” isn’t a play on R.E.M.’s “Bad Day.” “Bad Week” is a moving electro-shoegaze dirge about fighting through depression. As singer Maya Bon sings, “It’s hard to talk about it being a bad week / When it’s been a bad week / For so many weeks now.” She elaborated: Continue reading »

Apr 012021
 
The Best New Songs of March
Aspetuck – Rescue Mission


Aspetuck (aka. Griff Fulton)’s bio says his music was inspired by immersing himself in the nightlife of New York and Los Angeles. Yet now he lives near where he grew up in rural Vermont, an area not exactly known for its club scene. Somehow I feel like that dichotomy comes across in “Rescue Mission.” You can imagine it playing on a dance floor somewhere, but it works equally well just sitting at home and vibing out. Continue reading »

Clever Girls Remember Stonewall from a Sleeping Bag

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Mar 192021
 
clever girls stonewall

Clever Girls’ “Stonewall” is not literally about the Stonewall riots. The lyrics are pretty explicitly about a romantic partner stonewalling you. It’s “stonewall” as a verb, not a proper noun. But the title’s resonance with an important moment in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is presumably no accident. The band’s entire upcoming album Constellations was partly inspired by frontperson Diane Jean’s coming out as queer and gender-nonconforming. Continue reading »