I’m constantly listening to new music, both for work and pleasure. Sometimes the two intertwine and at other times they do not. I can be rough or gentle on both sides of this and oftentimes I find myself thinking too much about it all. I mean I can’t change someone’s mind if they like an album that I think is complete garbage. Even if I have excellent, well thought out and scholarly sounding valid points and I yell a lot and point my finger it does nothing but raise my blood pressure. I think something most people reading this can agree with me on is that popular music for the most part is simply that “popular music” is made for the “populous.” And that’s fine. But there are also lower tiers of “popular music” within the pseudo-mainstream of that once veiled and now awful and awfully popular genre, “indie.”
Let it be known that I am not trying to grind an axe here, only trying to further figure out what makes music “music” and what makes said “music” beyond the obvious answer that everything is subjective. I found myself questioning this after listening to Sanderlings cheekily self-titled album Sanderlings, a, by all means, curt little EP that sounds like it was recorded in a garage that was inside of a garage it’s so lo-fi. It makes early Guided by Voices recordings sound like they were recorded at Abbey Road.
To get the point Sanderlings is the solo project of a guy from San Diego who goes by the name of Woody. Woody spoke of the genesis for his EP, “I don't often have something to prove to myself or anyone but this, this sorta, in a complicated and self-fulfilling way, was to prove that I am capable.” This spoke to me in a way that helped to humanize the creator of Sanderlings and I heard between the lines so to speak what is going on here. On the how low can you go lo-fi “Cut the Morning” one hears acutely the hum of each out-of-tune guitar strum, the out-of-range crash of every cymbal, and the little hint of reverb on Woody’s droll monotone vocals, as it also does on the slightly surf-punk pair of “Clear like Daze” and “Without.”
Sanderlings is short, inherently sincere and for the most part completely un-fucked with as far as production goes. But it’s also wiry and scrappy like a terrier barking at a German shepherd. Whenever I read about established artists giving lesser known ones a word of advice it usually involves a lot of bullshit like “just follow your passion” or “do what you love” or “get out there and take chances.” Sanderlings is nowhere near a perfect record, but that’s not the point. The point is that maybe all those established assholes are right about just getting it done first, and worry about making it perfect later.
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