Originally Posted at PsmythSongs.com December 8, 2009
Despite a politically incorrect appellation (particularly piquant to my friends in AIM), I am nonetheless compelled to devote a paragraph or two to Wild Indians (AKA Wild Indianssssss, AKA Jon Powell), an apparently one-man-act from Baltimore. I found Wild Indians completely by accident during what I will refer to from here on in as my ‘quest for a good unsigned French band period.‘
I can’t help but draw tangential comparisons between Wild Indians and Brian Lambert, whom I wrote about in November. With vocals both labored and maudlin, reminiscent at times of Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and at others of early ‘70s Bowie, Powell melds avant-garde Americana with retro post-hippie folk pop. His recordings are minimal, mostly acoustic, rough, raw and a bit shaky - although he deftly maintains that elusive balance between unpolished and just plain sloppy.
I find everything I’ve heard from Powell/WI (which consists solely of the tracks housed at his/their MySpace site) compelling, provocative and stirring in that just-short-of-unsettling manner. However, the song that keeps me going back for more is the cymbal-crash-driven ballad, "Heavy in the New Ages." It is here that Powell sounds most like Bowie, adroitly paying homage to the past master’s plaintive falsetto.
I wish I had more information to provide here, however WI’s MySpace site is distressingly laconic and I could find no further info on the web. If more becomes available in the near future I’ll be sure to share.