With an affectless baritone voice and sheaves of poignant, idiosyncratic songs, Bill Callahan cut a dashing figure as the man behind Smog, one of first and best one-man bands in the early-'90s underground. Callahan began an identity shift as Smog became the parenthetical (Smog), and eventually just chucked the whole dirty business and is now flying under his own name. Whatever the spine of the CD says, Callahan's version of lo-fi, low-end indie rock mutates every few records, from mannered orchestration to dirty, dirge-like blues. Folksy lightness even permeates many of the best tracks on last year's Woke on a Whaleheart, the first record under his Christian name. The circular, hypnotic "Sycamore" sounds like Lou Reed's "Satellite of Love" as played at a Devendra Banhart campfire jamboree. Later on the album, a simple piano figure guides "Night" as Callahan turns reflective. Jonathan Meiburg, better known as the keyboardist for Okkervil River and the leader of Shearwater, opens the show.
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