John Vanderslice
John Vanderslice

John Vanderslice, with Portastatic, Spain Colored Orange

Maybe it's a trend. Musicians whose day jobs are helping other musicians ply their trades seems to be de rigueur. John Vanderslice runs Tiny Telephone, a studio he uses to help other indie musicians hone their craft, but if you think Vanderslice has embraced the digital age, think again. This is a man who eschews technology (as much as he can, anyway), and spends most of his hard-earned -- and well-deserved -- money on old two-inch decks and analog equipment. His latest album, Pixel Revolt, is a study in contrasts. Co-written with Mountain Goat John Darnielle (Vanderslice helped produce the last two Goats' efforts), the album is full of melodic slices (no pun intended) of Americana -- whether he's singing about soldiers, stalkers, lunatics or simply himself, Vanderslice's ability to weave together the new and the old without sounding stale makes his songs bristle with eccentricity.

Similarly, Portastatic's Mac McCaughan stays busy helping other musicians. And as co-founder of North Carolina's Merge Records and a member of indie champs Superchunk, McCaughan knows a thing or two about what makes a good record. Portastatic's latest effort, Bright Ideas, continues the group's homage to '60s pop and '80s Midwestern rock.

Houston's Spain Colored Orange, the closest thing to ELO since…well, ELO, opens the show. Their EP for Lucid Records should be available soon.


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