Hi everyone! As some of you know, I’m getting married in 10 days, and for that reason, I’m feeling more ridiculous than normal, and kind of like everything is floating around in my head and I can’t get a grasp on it. I locked my keys in my car yesterday for the first time in my entire life. My head is not screwed on right, and it will probably only get worse until November 8th. You’ve been warned.
Yesterday one of my friends said he resisted reading The Indie Handbook for a long time because we sound pretentious. Ok, he didn’t say we sound pretentious, he was actually really nice about it, but the basic jist was that we sound sort of stuck-up and obsessed w/being indie. And this is one of my friends. He knows me. He likes me (I think). So I have no idea what you guys think when you read this, and I don’t know how Eric feels about me saying these things, but I would just like to clarify. If you read our About the Indie Handbook page, you will understand our goals. But if we come across as biting, condescending, or elitist…I’m really sorry. When it all comes down to it, I really don’t think I’m better than anyone else. I don’t like myself very much most of the time. I think the music I listen to is pretty great, and I want you to listen to it and like it too, partly because you may not have heard it and I think a) you deserve to hear as much good music as possible and b) good music deserves to be heard, and partly because I want to connect with you–I want you to appreciate what I appreciate, and I want to be understood.
We don’t really care about being indie (I mean come on, read Eric’s “The State I Am In” post), whatever that means. We don’t really care what Paste magazine says is cool (except to be mad when they think STUPID things are cool…haha joooooke…). I hope you don’t take our sarcasm for elitism, and if you do, there’s not much else I can say about it at this point…so, I apologize.
Moving on, today I wanted to write about Nic Dawson Kelly, but that stuff sort of sidetracked me, but I’d like to get back on topic and talk about music again, if that’s alright. The other day I was listening to Nic Dawson Kelly’s debut album Old Valentine at work, and one of the students asked me, “are you listening to folk music?” To avoid more explanation, I said that yes, I was listening to folk music, but in reality, Old Valentine is much less easy to label, more of a folk-blues-rock mix. I could have sworn that somehow the White Stripes had slipped in at the beginning of “The Musician” (“We’re Going to Be Friends”), but after the first few chords, the whistling and one-of-a-kind voice gave it away as something completely different. How to describe Nic’s voice? At first, I wanted to compare him to Coner Oberst, but I feel like Nic has a better grasp on technique and is less grovelly/talky. It seems kind of lame just to call his voice unique, even though it is different from anything I’ve ever heard and in a good way. He just really knows how to use it, like a classically trained musician; like I said recently, you find that once an artist knows the rules, it sounds/looks/feels better when they break them. Nic knows what he’s doing, and he uses his voice in a ton of very cool ways–shaking and narrating and teasing–and, like Will Sheff from Okkervil, you can hear the emotion in it. This is great because he achieves tenderness, sarcasm, and fun convincingly, with soft chords (“Marilyn”, “Oh Well”) or playful swagger (“The Musician”, “Old Valentine”) backing evocative vocals. As for the album itself, I’m impressed with how well-crafted it is. The songwriting is beautiful and the flow is perfect. I was afraid at first that it would be too country, but it definitely isn’t; there’s a level of soul in every song that is incredibly refreshing and works as a nice balance to the harmonica/acoustic guitar sound. Frickin’ awesome. I think Nic Dawson Kelly is a definite up-and-comer, or whatever the crap you call it, and I’m excited to encourage you to buy this album! On iTunes! Tonight! You can even get a first listen on his myspace, just to prove it. My favorite on the album is “Marilyn,” just fyi. Precious. And look at that precious face!