Max Indian - You Can Go Anywhere, Do Anything
This album is my current obsession.
The songwriting by Carter Gaj is classically great, like Beatles-informed great, like tunes-we-long-for great. There are influences poking out, but they are seamlessly combined into something that feels new to these ears. The production is weird and cloudy and slightly off-putting; when something with a small degree of treble breaks through the darkness like a shaft of light, it helps point out the other little shimmers already there. The singing is low-keyed, almost unnoticeable in the midst of the sonic blur. Yet, when you focus on it, the voice is perfect for the songs' lyrics. It's effortless and soft and questioning. James Wallace does double duty on ambient, trashy drums and smart piano; he had a lot to do with the production here as well, deserving a big thanks and a little WTF--it's almost as if the album was designed to make the listener work harder to extract the little gems embedded in the sonic swamp.
I've seen Max Indian live a total of one time, when they played with Luego at the Pour House in Raleigh. Even then, as a new listener, I sensed something majestic and timeless about the music as it went by. This album, which defies the concept of using every last minute of sonic clarity available to the artist, is nine songs' worth of great music. I wish it was longer, but it makes me anxious to hear more.
I think the only place you can buy this record is from their myspace page, but I cannot recommend You Can Go Anywhere, Do Anything enough without suggesting buying multiple copies of this little masterpiece to spread around to your serious music-listening friends near and afar.