Saturday, 7 January 2012

Indie Music Note: Jan. 7, 2012: Little Tybee

Regular followers of this blog know that my posts include a series featuring indie musicians I happen to come across during my cyber-travels. In my previous post in this series I drew attention to a blog post written by indie author Karen de Lange, who described how she was inspired by a song recorded by independent musician Beck Goldsmith. Beck’s music was a revelation and I became an instant fan.

Today’s post is one I’ve been looking forward to writing for at least a week, and now finally have a chance to get it done. I’ve been concentrated a great deal of my marketing efforts for Blood Passage these days on Twitter, working hard to build up a following and to get the message out there that Donaghue and Stainer are the hottest new detective team in crime fiction. People will follow you, of course, if you follow them, and I’ve spent a fair bit of time trawling for interesting folks whose tweets look engaging and whose links lead to interesting blogs, online articles and the rest.

Recently I was followed by Paper Garden Records, an independent record label based in Brooklyn, NY. I peeked at their website, which looked good, and followed back. Not long afterwards I was followed by Little Tybee, an indie band from Atlanta, Georgia that records on the Paper Garden label. I did the same thing: I followed their links, played a bit of one of their video clips, and followed back.
I spent about another ten minutes on Twitter, looking for more good follows, when I suddenly realized that the tune playing over and over in my head was from the Little Tybee video I’d sampled. I’d been thinking about the video and humming the tune sotto voce without really being aware of it. I stopped what I was doing, went back to the link, and watched the video all the way through. You can find it on YouTube here.

Called “Boxcar Fair,” the video weds the musical talents of Little Tybee with the marionettes of artist Tom Haney. It runs 3:32 and was shot “in one take with no cuts or edits.” It is an utterly charming and captivating piece, and I immediately wanted to hear more. Still on YouTube, I selected “NERO, Live at The Goat Farm” and  5:13 later eagerly clicked on “Hearing Blue at Doppler Studios” which ran 5:38. I could go on, but I need to get to the point.

Actually, there are two points I want to emphasize. The first point is that Little Tybee is a terrific band with a sound I absolutely love. They describe themselves in their Twitter profile as “Progressive Folk with a classical undertone sunk in a Latin grooooove,” and I guess I’ll buy into that description with no problem, but it may undersell a little the remarkable nuances and textures carried in their music. Featuring Brock Scott (guitars/vocals), Josh Martin (8-string guitar), Nirvana Kelly (violin), Ryan Donald (bass), Pat Brooks (percussion) and other players, Little Tybee plays music I want to hear over and over again. Their albums are Building a Bomb (2009) and Humorous to Bees (2011). Their name will soon be on everyone’s lips.

The second point I want to make is that independent writers, musicians and artists seem to be particularly open to a crossover effect. Little Tybee’s  Brock Scott talks about his personal reactionto the work of Tom Haney:

I love using collaboration as a way to bring different artists and mediums together in creative ways … You could imagine how ecstatic I was to find that one of the most amazing kinetic sculptors I have ever seen lived just down the street! His name is Tom Haney.  Tom is an artist who creates beautiful automata vignettes depicting figures performing random and often beautifully mundane actions. The delicateness of the pieces mixed with Tom’s amazing craftsmanship and ingenuity creates a window into his intricate world.

When you watch the video and listen to the music, you begin to understand how different artistic media can cross-pollinate and influence each other. Which may also explain why, when I finished my break and went back to writing the next Donaghue and Stainer crime novel, I was humming a particular tune as I worked, and was feeling a little pumped up….

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