"Self Titled" C38
(Wiener Records)

I remember first hearing of Wilco’s gradual shift into mediocrity verbalized as “they’re playing ‘Dad-Rock’now.” Man, I really used to love me some Wilco. ‘Summer Teeth’ and ‘Being Here’ are stalwart go-to’s for any roadside picnic accompaniment, and ‘A Ghost Is Born’ remains to be (admittedly nostalgically) a masterful blending of grittier Alt-Country and the labored compositional dynamics of forward thinking the Indie Rock I was anticipating when I heard that not only Glenn Kotche was on board full time, but Nels Fucking Cline was going to be contributing, too! Oh, how ‘Sky Blue Sky’ just broke my widdle hawt. ‘Dad-Rock’ was born.

So, here we are, ten years later. The smoke as cleared. Lessons have been learned, though, arguably, not by Jeff Tweedy. Instead, the gauntlet was dug up by Oakland’s SUN VALLEY GUN CLUB, a near carbon-copy of what COULD have been. Maybe SVGC are ‘Hipster Uncle Rock’? They’ve got all AGIB’s tones, vocals, drive, dynamic shifts, and breakneck key changes, plus a li’l extra saucy-swagger. They’re catchy as fuck, but mindful to not be too predictably sweet, via artful modulation that keeps it interesting and not just another Indie rock record for the masses.

-- Jacob An Kittenplan