Hunter Sagehorn (Guitars), Tommy Krebs (Drums), Joe D. Michon-Huneau (Vocals), August Sagehorn (Bass)
Let’s move on to some really good indie rock from four
guys from Albany, New York called Alta Mira. Their sound kind of reminds of both Modest Mouse and Pinback. Overall, their newly released self-titled album generally has a bit more of a smooth, relaxed quality to it while still rocking out and glowing with energy despite its laid back nature. It’s the difference between full-on headbanging heavy metal style and just nodding your head while you’re really getting into the groove of the music.
Take a song like “Sinker/Or” that is simultaneously is a very light and gentle sounding song, but also has a quick, peppy pace to it that will keep your feet tapping. Even “Slumberjack,” one of most consistently heavy hitting tunes on the album, has a steady, chill feel despite the continuous, machine-like pounding of the synth and percussion along with the guitars that grind and howl at the song’s energy soaked crescendos. And many times, such as in the songs “Tantrum” and “Mother, Child,” the band will build up from a very small, simple beginning and continuously play that game with the listener where they pep up the song, bring it back down, and then liven things up even further than before until they go in for the big, spirited finish that really closes out the track in a very memorable way.
Aside from Alta Mira’s well crafted and intriguingly arranged songs, one of the main elements of their music that really stands out throughout the entire album is lead singer Joe D. Michon-Huneau’s impassioned and soaring vocals. Although the music generally has that more laid back feel, this vocalist always brings an emotional force to it that always seems to scale the energy up a notch or two. In fact, do you know how you can sometimes picture how someone physically sings based on their voice? The way this guy projects his voice with such intense emotion, especially in “Buglight” and at the end of “Tantrum,” I just picture him shutting his eyes tight and losing himself in the music, gripping his mic tight, and pushing out his chest with his head tilted slightly up as if to cry out to the whole world. Maybe that’s not really how he sings. Maybe he just kind of stares at his feet while he sings (à la the shoegazers of yore), but with the exuberant force of his voice, it’s hard not to picture something more.
So basically, if you’re looking for great indie rock that isn’t just a whole bunch of noise but that you can still rock out to, or if you’re looking for band with a great lead vocalist, or if you’re looking for some interesting and engaging song structures in your rock music, then I suggest you take a listen to Alta Mira. I’m definitely keeping an eye out for them in the future.
And just as a random aside, I dig the names of the brothers who play guitar and bass. Hunter Sagehorn sounds like the name of a mighty, mystical hunter from a fantasy, Lord of the Rings type of book, and August Sagehorn sounds like a rare, medicinal plant somewhere in a deep forest.