Rhythm & Views

John Guilt

Brooklyn-based John Guilt has a bio that reads like many a scrappy indie band's--heavy on the "we played withs" and the "guest appearance on percussion by the triangle player from Veruca Salt"-type shit. It seems very difficult for unsigned bands to resist their common predilection to drop names in the vain hope that someone's glimmer of recognition will manifest itself in a record deal, or, short of that, a blowjob.

But on the self-released By Any Other Name EP, all John Guilt has to do is play, and the result speaks for itself quite admirably. Like on any subdued, brush-drummed, country-influenced release, one will inevitably be reminded of people like Andrew Bird and Will Oldham (and Oldham's most prodigious imitator, Jason Molina). On the first track, there's a plucked violin and a phrasing sensibility that evokes Bird, and on "23 Revolutions," one is reminded of one of Oldham's more-passionate, less-nonsensical moments of intensity ("Riding," e.g.). This seems like happenstance rather than affectation--John Guilt makes quiet indie rock, and the comparisons write themselves.

Singer Andrew Goldman is an excellent lyricist ("Oh, Mr. Bob Dylan / Why didn't you like your name? / Trim those syllables and nothing will ever be the same") and the mix, provided by drummer TJ Lipple (also of Aloha--see?) is supple enough that Goldman's sweetly resonant voice is out front in exactly the right proportion.

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