The Midwest Indies, 'Truman'

<em>Truman</em> - The Midwest Indies

I stumbled across The Midwest Indies on Spotify in one of my many discovery sessions. These usually start with a song from "my" library grabbing my attention. I'll pull the artist up and start clicking through to related artists and sampling a few of each artist's top tracks to see if anything stands out. Sometimes I find something new and compelling and start listening to one of the artist's albums in it's entirety. Such is the case with Truman.

The Midwest Indies have created something really special with Truman. From start to finish Truman carries something rare, an album with few, if any, flaws. The range of sound on the album spans simple acoustic, piano and vocals on "Frederick Fleet" to the slow build of the banjo led and trumpet infused "If You Can't Convince Them, Confuse Them" where the pacing evolves into a song that sounds completely different on it's end than it did when it began. Brad Thomas's voice is staggeringly (and sometimes hauntingly) mature while the harmonies that the band creates layer the vocals in a way that only solidifies the complex individuality of The Midwest Indies sound. The production quality of the album is absolutely stunning; especially when you consider the backstory of how the album was made.

When an artist makes an album that intrigues me in the way that Truman does I usually start researching the band and learning as much as I can about them. The backstory for Truman only adds to my fondness for what these guys have created. In early 2011 Tanner Brown, Chandler Reed, Brad Thomas and Blake Tucker were in high school and college when they formed The Midwest Indies and started writing music and playing it locally in the Springfield, MO area. After fine tuning their sound they started preparing to record Truman and turned to Kickstarter to fund the studio and marketing costs.

Their goal was $1,500 and was fully funded in February of 2012 by 44 wise individuals. It's easy to read the budget on this album and assume that it has a quality that's comparable with Iron and Wine's Around the Well which, while beautiful, is also something that only Iron and Wine can truly pull off and have it add value to their music. The album is mastered so thoroughly in order to layer all aspects of the album in such a cohesive package that negates the need for the typical production faults such as autotune. Ultimately, the fact that these 4 guys were able to create something to the quality and originality of Truman for $1,500 is a testament to their talent. The album artwork is somewhat of another story. While it looks great at first glance it is obviously photoshopped together when viewed at full resolution. This is one of those things that I assume either one of the bandmates or a friend of the band created. Either way I still like it and it's what comes into my mind when one of the songs from the album comes on.

The Midwest Indies are currently working on their second album and have released two singles since Truman released; "Bad Vibrations" and "Voyager". Until their sophomore release we have Truman and that's not a complaint by any means.

Find it on: iTunes | Amazon | Spotify

Freelance Whales - Weathervanes

Freelance Whales - Weathervanes Album Artwork

As I branch out into music with the site I’m starting strong with this pick.

While Weathervanes by Freelance Whales isn’t their most recent album, it’s definitely what keeps me coming back to the band. I imagine this album being recorded inside a robot which adds the theme comprised of unique sounds that runs through the album. Those sounds are layered into a five person band where the instruments include harmonia (think accordion), xylophone and banjo and it seems that everyone lends they’re voice to the mix. Judah Dadone and Doris Cellar’s vocals are spot on with the overall happy vibes that the album aims for. Lyrically the album tells stories with fairy tale style that sometimes brushes what I imagine it feels like to be a hip New York based band like these lines from Hannah:

And if you’re partial to the night sky
If you’re vaguely attracted to rooftops
Hannah takes the stairs
Cause she can’t tell that
its a winding spiral case
Is she right side up
Or upside-down?

Weathervanes is a cohesive package of story and sound that delivers it’s own unique world[1]. It’s a world I love to live in at least once a week.

Find it on: iTunes | Spotify | Rdio | Beats Music

  1. This is a world that may be best exemplified through the album’s artwork.  ↩