Contemporary. Midwestern. Indie. Rock. Four words that conjure images of skinny introverts with guitars, the sort who make up band names for their solo projects. And while one of those dudes, Bright Eyes, seems to be getting much of the attention these days, there's another who's been making records for just as long. Trials and Errors
is the first release by Jason Molina's Magnolia Electric Co, now that Molina's decided to retire his previous band name, Songs: Ohia. If we buy into the claim that Conor Oberst is indie's new Dylan, Trials
, recorded live in Brussels in 2003, immediately casts Molina as indie's new Neil Young, thanks to all its grunge-y riffage and creaky singing. As usual, Molina's lyrics are dark, consistently suggesting a bleak haze that permanently blankets the vast middle of America. And while some of the songs drag on too long, inhabiting a limited palette of keys and tempos, it's easy to hear that Molina has found his voice.