KEXP at SXSW, Day 3: John Vanderslice

photos by Jim Bennett

John Vanderslice began his career with indie rock group Mk Ultra, but quickly struck out on his own. His prolific songwriting has grown ever more politically charged in the past decade, with several tracks off of his 2005 album Pixel Revolt referencing the September 11th attacks. 2007 saw the release of Emerald City, named after the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, with character sketches enveloped by somber synths and fuzzy guitars. Vanderslice is a proponent of “sloppy hi-fi,” the self-coined moniker for his completely analog recording technique, and also a producer, contributing to Spoon‘s 2005 album Gimme Fiction and Mountain Goats records Heretic Pride and We Shall All Be Healed. 2011 has brought us his latest album, White Wilderness, featuring Vanderslice with the Magik*Magik Chamber Orchestra, a backing band that does little to shroud the newfound fragility in his vocals. The album was recorded in three days, a far cry from Vanderslice’s previous meticulous process. But if anything, White Wilderness feels more detailed and layered than ever, a concise and rocking work that’s an admirable addition to his already lengthy catalog.

Joined by drummer/percussionist Jason Slota, JV closed out our broadcast at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Show in Austin during SXSW with a typically lovable set of indie rock.

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