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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

A press release from Planet Alt


I just got a PR email that went like this:
"Painting a layered and hazy, John Fahey-indebted landscape, the Lambchop and Silver Jews associate comes across as travel-weary cartographer and six-string virtuoso all at once." —SPIN
Recorded and mixed at Beech House in Nashville and co-produced by Tyler and Mark Nevers, Impossible Truth features guest appearances from Chris Scruggs, Luke Schneider, Roy Agee, and Lambchop compatriot Scott Martin. 2010’s Behold the Spirit, William Tyler’s first album under his own name, was celebrated by Pitchfork as “the most vital, energized album by an American solo guitarist in a decade or more” and established him as a critical favorite, the picker who, according to his friend and tour mate M.C. Taylor from Hiss Golden Messenger, “connects the dots between Sandy Bull, Richard Thompson, Bruce Langhorne, and Reggie Young.”
Of the album, Uncut raves: “This terrific record feels less like an exploratory folk session, more like a virtuoso guitarist and arranger using the tools of a folk musician to reconsider and deconstruct rock music.” And Pitchfork writes: “Without pandering in the slightest, Tyler wields his staggering fingerpicking technique as a means of presenting something accessible and lyrical.” Popmatters included the album in their "Listening Ahead" feature, while Spin chose William as one of their "5 Artists to Watch" in February. 
It struck me that this may be one of the most pseudy unsolicited communications I've received from a PR. Nowadays they have more namechecks than a stud book. The line "connects the dots between Sandy Bull, Richard Thompson, Bruce Langhorne and Reggie Young", which is borrowed from M.C. Taylor from Hiss Golden Messenger (with whom we are all obviously familiar) is a particular beaut.

I know far too much about music and even I would have to go and look up most of those names.

It's a classic of its kind: quotes within quotes, references within references, reviews within reviews, talk of reconsidering and deconstructing and all, one suspects, pointing you towards music which is essentially about other and probably better music. It makes you wonder whether so much of the music produced by the "alt" industry aspires only to be a footnote to music made long ago.