Ryan Adams, Wilco, Bon Iver
Renowned for having one of the sweetest and most soulful voices in independent music (which was wonderfully showcased by his short-lived first band Tulsa), Maryland-raised singer-songwriter Carter Tanton refuses to be pigeonholed. As evidenced by his new full-length solo album Freeclouds (Western Vinyl), Tanton gets itchy occupying a single genre. Freeclouds jumps from indie rock to alt country to (gulp) dub reggae. He even released an intriguingly weird remix by Atlanta-based electronic music producer/DJ Distal (available as a free download via XLR8R). These experiments are interesting, and, hey, we are all for experimentation around here, but Tanton’s wheelhouse is the fuzzy, warm indie-folk epitomized by “Murderous Joy”, wherein his dreamy, yearning, soulful even sorrowful tenor is perfectly ensconced amongst the instrumentation. With the slightest country twang, this song evokes big Western skies and roadtrips full of self-reflection. Even better is “Fake Pretend”, featuring the equally formidable voice of singer Marissa Nadler. On this track, the spacey keyboards and echo-y distortion intertwine and complement our singers’ angelic voices, culminating in a blissfully hazy synesthesia.
- Andrew Bangs
After the unfortunate demise of his first band in 2009, Tanton has played with artists like Marissa Nadler and Twin Shadow, and currently with the awesome and underrated Lower Dens. The dissolution of Tulsa was apparently a result of label drama, and perhaps Freeclouds, recorded entirely in his New York apartment, is Tanton’s attempt to display his versatility, dabble in new sonic territory and define a new direction. Tanton even spent a few months playing on the New York City subway platforms late at night, to take advantage of the nice station acoustics and connect with small audiences. Surely this is one of the purest voices around, paired with an equally strong and clear songwriting acumen; we hope his musical wanderings will lead him down a path to showcase that wonderful instrument.