The row of anonymous doors of a storage facility on the cover of Blanks, the debut from Nashville's Clayton Waller, is an apt visual metaphor for this tasty clatch of infectious hooks and addictive harmonies. Have you ever wondered what's inside of all of those storage units, off of the side of the highway? They could be full of moldering newspapers or rat droppings or dead bodies or the Holy Grail.
For people that don't spend their life digging for great music, the world of independently released records might be like those anonymous U-Stor-Its; seemingly all the same, a faceless, tasteless blur. In this case, it would surely be your loss, as this pocket universe is chock full of amazing songwriting, which is captured admirably by sterling production. Clayton Waller handled all of the recording, as well as playing every instrument himself, only eliciting outside help for the mixing and mastering, which were handled by Clay Jones and Brian Lucey, respectively. The former has mixed records for Modest Mouse and Elvis Costello while the latter has mastered records for Beck, The Black Keys, and Arctic Monkeys.
What the heck is a fledgling, self-produced, self-releasing auteur from Nashville doing with Modest Mouse's sound engineer?You see what happens when you make assumptions?
Clayton compares his style to The Shins, Jack White, and Danger Mouse, which means that you will hear artful, cosmopolitan pop, mixed with roughhouse blues soul and galactic hooks and choruses. That's in the hemisphere of what you actually hear, on Blanks. The mood stays in the vicinity of a glammy, good time swagger, which is shot through with thoughtful sentiments and genuine heart, which glows beneath the surface like pyroclastic cracks in the earth. Twangy guitars meet layers upon layers of vocal harmonies, that would make the Wilson Brothers proud.
And when you hear the quick, barbed wire turnaround on "Home", with a strobing descending chord change. I mean, really? The first song on your first record? I would throw my guitar in the river, if I weren't so stubborn. And those laser phased vocal harmonies! Clayton is just brimming over with ideas. Blanks has been dipped in a rainbow sheen of reverb, which gives a feeling of warmth as well as an indeterminate age. This record combines the experimentalism of '60s art psychedelia, like Sgt. Peppers et al, mixed with the early '00s stripped down cosmo power pop, by the likes of The Strokes, and The Hives, but The Shins remains the most pertinent touchstone.
Considering the fact that The Shins have hardly released a bad note of music, you might be right in thinking the world needs more music like this. Blanks threatens to shut down the critical faculty of my thinking, in a rush of rock 'n roll adrenaline and sheer mad love joy at being alive and that art like this is possible. The fact that one lone person is responsible for such a glorious racket almost defies description. You definitely need to hear this! And tell your friends. I think we'll be hearing a lot more from Rock Eupora.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook