Recording information: Chase Park Transduction, Athens, GA.
Marshes is the sophomore LP from Georgia-based indie rocker Tedo Stone, who has traded the kaleidoscopic retro pop of his 2013 debut for a more distinctly raw, garage-inspired sound. Based in Athens, one of the country's most fertile indie havens, Stone and his bandmates have stripped these songs down to their basic elements and taken cues from woolly guitar-wielders like Dinosaur Jr. and Neil Young to produce a wilder, spontaneous clamor that feels lived in. Unlike those artists, though, he retains his knack for hooky, pop-influenced songwriting, and producer Drew Vandenberg (Deerhunter, Of Montreal) ensures that Marshes stays tight when it needs to. A grainy sonic patina clings to each of the ten tracks with Stone's reedy tenor saturated in a light distortion that, for the most part, gives it gravitas, though his occasional stabs at Marc Bolan-esque wailing can sometimes become a bit too abrasive. The thrashier garage bangers like "Back Down" and "D4L" have plenty of spirit, but it's his slightly more midtempo rockers like "By Your Side" and "Mind Wasted" that stand out as highlights. The slow-building psych waltz "Home to It" and its partner, the powerfully moody acoustic ballad "Get Off," provide some nice variety midway through but, as a whole, Marshes is made up of gritty rockers with a live-in-the-room, analog feel. It's Stone's second album for Southern-centric Atlanta indie This Is American Music and, with this release especially, he fits right in with their ideals of well-crafted indie rock with a bit of regional flair. ~ Timothy Monger