For the longest time, making thick, rich, fully-formed recordings was solely available to the already-rich-and-famous. This privilege filter greatly reduced the amount and kinds of stories we got to hear. This is part of why conversations regarding representation and bias are so integral, as we just never really got to hear from many different voices, from many different walks of life.
Of course, there's always been folk music, which is traditionally the terrain of academics and those willing to delve and dig through the rough fidelity of raw, unfiltered, lo-fidelity field recordings.
Missed Connections from Omaha duo The Zebos is an example of 21st century folk music. Interestingly, there is not an acoustic guitar, banjo, ukulele or traditional tune in evidence. Instead, The Zebos ply a razor-sharp brand of cosmopolitan indie electro, constructed solely in a college dorm on GarageBand. Vocals and guitars were tracked solely using a modest Bluebird microphone with bass and drums meticulously added in post-production.
To The Zebos credit, they don't try and make their artificial artifacts sound like the real thing. The bass sounds more like a neon monolith dredged from the bottom of the ocean than a P-Bass, while the drums sound like Animal from the muppets bashing away on a Syndrum.
Of course, the increased fidelity wouldn't matter a toss if the songs and content weren't good. The Zebos both have a strong melodic sensibility with catchy melodic keyboard motifs flying every which way, like latter day Sufjan Stevens at his best. Vocals are clean, clear and in-tune, with just a bit of ragged lo-fi buzz, to deliver some warmth and charm.
The Zebos jokingly referred to Missed Connections as a kind of personals ad, looking for a drummer, bassist and a patron of the arts. Let's go ahead and extend that outreach. If you own a ridiculously wealthy startup that is looking for some underground talent to fund, The Zebos would be a solid investment! If Connor Brandt and Jordan Gaul can do so much with such modest materials, they could likely take over the universe for less than ten grand!
If The Zebos are an indication, Omaha, NE seems to still be a hotbed of indie talent, following the indie explosion of Saddle Creek Records in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Conor Oberst, if you happen to be reading, sign these gents instantly!
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