This incredibly flourishing Brooklyn indie scene is overwhelming.
Tonight, thousands of hipsters will raise their glasses of shitty Walmart wine by an eclectic smorgasbord of candles while listening to artists like Mac DeMarco, Tonstartssbandht, Shorts, and Alex Calder.
Each artist has their own developed, singular sonorous identity. Tonstartssbandht is your prime example of vintage gypsy rock (?!?!?!?), DeMarco provides the cute, yet sensual indie pop rock, and Shorts provides a hybrid dream pop/shoegaze + indie rock.
Calder works in a very interesting manner of indie. Bear with me, it’s still indie. Just very - scary.
He boasts an impressive musical background from Canada, like his cohort DeMarco. Calder played drums in the capricious Makeout Videotape during its brief life, and retained a solid camaraderie with DeMarco throughout the following years; it was solid enough to prompt DeMarco to include Calder in his video for “Passing Out Pieces”.
His debut release, Time, as put by Pitchfork reviewer Zach Kelley, is “a demented take on 1960s flower pop”.
With his proficient use of echo and reverb coupled with his spunky, ebullient guitar, try-hard vocals, drums that could rattle a house and not wake a baby simultaneously and steady, dad-behind-the-wheel bass, I don’t think there’s a better way to describe it.
His EP opens with a cute little indie sonnet to a “Suki”, who seems to be having a much better love-life than 67% of Americans. His grand canyon vocals titillate the track to an uncomfortably suitable level. Seems strange to find such a haunting effect on such a love-enfused track.
Following with similar vocal effects and a very tight-knit-party feel, “Light Leave Your Eyes” serves as the only music video-worthy track on this EP. There aren’t too many songs that emit the “single” vibe, but if there’s any on this EP, it has to be this one. This is the fortunate son of the EP, the one that did things correctly. Unfortunately, this is not an emotion easy to describe. Sort of one of those “you-have-to-get-it” moments. Another reason why reviews suck.
"Location", the next track, seems to be a humble reiteration of his reverb-drugged vocal effects. This track introduces the listener to Calder’s excellent usage of sound effects, which continue for the rest of the EP. Often, that is said in a negative connotation. This time, not so much. He’s got a leg up on the indie competition with his 2spooky grabbag that encompasses the record dangerously. Black coffee, anyone?
The EP carries on with “Time”, the EP-named epitome-of-his-genre track. This has all your basic elements of an out-there flower-pop hit - your static, delay-driven guitar riffs, bass mimicry, and of course - Calder’s personal favorite - the most spacey vocals you’ve ever heard in your goddamned life. Cutting in at a deft 2 minutes and 14 seconds, this baby-faced glamour shot of Calder shoots u into the skyyyyyyyy………….way past Mars, Jupiter, Venus…….
A once-again vacuously powered sugar-pop-gone-horribly-wrong number, “Captivate” rolls the EP along like a pizza dough. It’s here, however, where you’ve got to recognize the fact that this pizza is never going to be baked.
Calder’s gimmicks have run their course. While he’s surely the dude to do his thing, his thing is getting a little annoying. His inundating usage of echo-driven vocals and boogaloo guitar seem to find their way on to every track, including the next two, “Fatal Delay”, and the final track, with an impossibly fitting title - “Lethargic”.
Calder has the workings to become a very omnipotent figure in indie music. He’s just got to open up his palette.
This circumstantially becomes ironic, however - for while Calder has the abilities to become a key figure - sadly enough - it’s of the most droning music genre ever.
He’s doing everything adequately for his people, but enough translates to some for others. In this instance, he’s got to diversify massively, or else he’ll trip into the history books as the most happy-sleepy indie artist ever.
Easier said than done.