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Carter Tanton Is Not In Tulsa Anymore...Or, Come Hear The Murderous Joy Of Free Clouds!...Better, BUY THIS RECORD AND SEE THIS SHOW!

Carter Tanton alone in his room with a magnificent view...
From the opening strains of "Murderous Joy", the leadoff track from Carter Tanton's new release Freeclouds, I instantly remembered what it was that I loved so much about the singer/songwriter's previous incarnation Tulsa. Tulsa was one of those bands that I was infatuated with and was lucky enough to see at 2008's NoisePop Festival in San Francisco. They had a Neil Young-influenced sound that combined jangle and groove, mysterious yet defined, delicate but forceful. At the center was Tanton's ethereal and haunting vocals and guitar. I just assumed I'd have another opportunity to see them play on their next swing through the Bay Area. Fast forward three and half years and I'm finally getting that opportunity in the form of Carter Tanton solo - opening for Purling Hiss and War On Drugs at the Independent this Sunday, October 23rd. The Massachusetts-based Tanton (and latest addition to Baltimore's Lower Dens) brings a unique quality to the "neo-folk" movement - that includes contemporaries like Kurt Vile - and that is a gift for combining yearning with confidence.
His album Freeclouds, out on Western Vinyl, is an exceptional musical statement. At its core are songs that seem born of nights spent strumming an acoustic guitar alone in a bedroom. Listening to a song like "Pitch Bent Flute" you can almost see the sun begin its ascent into the sky when viewed through a window criss-crossed by the iron of fire escapes. The music washes over the listener in waves and layers with Tanton's angelic voice to calm the musical wanderlust. "Fake Pretend" (which features a vocal by Marissa Nadler who Tanton has worked with) plainly states, "I'm nobody's fool but I've got nothing now." What he does have, is a perfect blend of drum machine beats, shimmering effects on densely layered guitars, and some lovely organ carving out his musical landscape. "Gauze of Song" is a dreamlike serenade with the vague sound of horns in the distance and anchored by a bassline that rolls in and out. "Saturday" is a well-crafted ballad with an acoustic refrain that drips with melancholy minus the melodrama. This song is followed by "Horrorscope", a 3:50 second lo-fi gem that is the most reminiscent of his work in Tulsa. The song will make you want to put on your headphones and hit the streets. In fact, it might render you invisible to everyone participating in the street theatre, save for the dumb, knowing grin of glory the song inspires. "Pasture Sounds" even dabbles in dub and reggae characterized by its reverb-drenched beat. There are so many wonders to be found in this album, it truly bears repeated listens to get at all of Freeclouds nuances and subtleties. This is a can't miss album and a must see bill. Tanton will be joined this Sunday at The Independent by two of Philadelphia's best Purling Hiss and War On Drugs. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!

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