At the risk of sounding bitter and condescending, I wish to climb on a soapbox for just a moment . . .
We live in a post-modern age, where the treacherous presence of irony and cynicism is just that: present, to the point of coloring the way we look at art. It can be difficult to watch a film or listen to music without cringing. I often find myself wishing while at concerts or while listening to a new album that artists would just be themselves, rather than appealing to pre-packaged ideals. There are a lot of so-called “artistic expressions” out there relying on vanilla notions of what it means to be cool rather than utilizing genuine creativity.
Okay. Now that I have that off my chest, I present to you with a fresh sound and a fresh take on what it actually means to be cool.
Michigan born-and-bred Dave Shanaberger is not your typical blasé indie soundtrack. A relatively seasoned musician, his most recent project plays up a raw, unedited sound, mixing a folk/Americana vibe with chill yet quirky soundscapes to create a unique effect. Shanaberger plays with Dylan-esque vocals, sometimes leaning towards a folkier, Iron & Wine vibe with tracks like “Street Sounds.” The refreshing aspect of Shanaberger’s music, though, is his diversity of sound, which still maintains a common thread that makes his music his own. On atmospheric tracks like “Machine,” Shanaberger borrows from the distinctive sounds of Radiohead by blending a melody and soft-spoken vocals with completely random and sporadic instrumentals, yet he still winds up with a lovely finished product.
Shanaberger has been touring for upwards of three years, experimenting in different bands, mostly around the Midwest. He recently relocated to Chicago and released a full-length record entitled It’s a Viral Darling. Shanaberger also has an EP, titled Caves, and a B-sides record. The EP, album, and B-sides are available on his website and bandcamp.
Artists like Shanaberger are a rare breed of self-starting folk who appreciate the value of becoming known through venues other than a sassy Twitter handle and a pounding bassline (insert mental image of any Top 40 artist here). These are the sorts of musicians to watch and pay attention to. For all of the nostalgic washing we do on our Facebook pictures, the time we yearn to go back to is a time of doing. The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez . . . all of the stars of years past got their start the way that artists such as Shanaberger are: by playing the music they love to play and welcoming those who want to hear it with open arms.