Four Indiana-based music labels will showcase seven of their best musical acts Friday during the Indy Label Festival (Vol. 2). Standard Recording Company, Joyful Noise Recordings, Asthmatic Kitty and Underwater Tea Party present what they hope will continue as an annual tradition. To warm up for the event, NUVO created a prosaic mix of song reviews from this year’s lineup.
• “Some Terry’s” by Everthus the Deadbeats (Standard): The sleazy glam-rocking Deadbeats are one of the most innovative bands in the state, and the pure pop madness that inhabits “Some Terry’s” can get an audience dancing in no time (even those befuddled by what they see on stage).
• “Liggle Timmy Toothpick” by Grampall Jookabox (Joyful Noise): Dave Adamson may be the king of musical innovation in Indiana. Just listen to Grampall Jookabox’s debut album, Scientific Cricket. While maddening, the album offers up a lot of fun too, best displayed by the cruel schoolyard chant “Liggle Timmy Toothpick.”
• “Don’t Cry” by Resting Rooster (Underwater Tea Party): “Don’t Cry” is sparse when it comes to lyrical content, but it overflows with instrumentation, evoking not the desperation before the tears start to flow but that first, half-hearted smile that cracks through the surface like a faint rainbow after a storm.
• “Emo Phillips” by Arrah and the Ferns (Standard): For most of the song, Arrah Fisher lives in a world of innocent teenaged emo, full of “jealous Jodys” and “hateful Heathers.” By the time she hits the home stretch though, her voice has mutated into a deadly punk rock snarl.
• “I Like Friends” by Child Bite (Joyful Noise): The opening track from these Detroit punk rockers’ second album, Gold Thriller, makes you feel like you’re standing in a packed CBGB, circa 1978.
• “Jesus is a Dying Bed-maker” by Liz Janes (Asthmatic Kitty): Janes’ vocals are full of wistful innocence during both verses of this traditional tune. However, when her voice takes on a husky playfulness as she sings, “Jesus gonna make up my dying bed,” you can’t help thinking it’s a dare.
• “John the Baptist” by More Animals of the Artic (Standard): Michael Tapscott’s vocals often get compared to Neil Young, but what goes unsaid is how well this band produces a gloomy atmosphere comparable to 4AD’s mid ’80s super-collaboration, This Mortal Coil. The song’s finest moment comes midway through with a haunting harmonica spreading out over a landscape of metallic clashes.