Audio Mixer: Matt Rendon.
Recording information: Echo Park, CA (01/2015); Midtoown Island, Tucson, AZ (01/2015).
Photographer: Tony Accosta.
Arranger: Tracy Bryant.
Emerging from some sonic netherworld where '60s garage rock and early psychedelia dance cheek to cheek as if the year 1966 represented the peak of human evolution, Corners frontman Tracy Bryant lets the guitars, reverb, and echo do much of the talking on his first full-length solo project, 2016's Subterranean. Sounding nearly as swampy as the Cramps in their heyday, but with a guitar tone that owes more to surf and garage than mutant rockabilly, Subterranean has a decidedly retro attack, but at the same time these songs feel contemporary, with Bryant bringing a touch of 21st century moodiness and up-to-date melodic bite to music that could have otherwise seemed like an exercise in misplaced nostalgia. Teaming with JooJoo Ashworth on guitar, Jeremy Katz on bass (like Ashworth, Katz's main gig is with the band the Froth), and Cameron Gartung (of Mystic Braves) on drums, Bryant is clearly penning a love letter to sounds of the past on Subterranean, but Bryant and his cohorts put enough of a new spin on the material that this music boasts an edgy cool that's absent from many bands who more closely follow the era of the fuzzbox and the Nehru jacket. Bryant is also strong enough as a vocalist to make this sound sincere and not affected, while the lyrics to numbers like "The Background Singer," "Hey Spaceman!," and the title cut are witty without sounding obvious or calling attention to themselves. The interplay between the musicians is intuitive and comfortable, and producer Matt Rendon of the Resonars gives the music plenty of texture while permitting the melodies to shine though. Subterranean is a compelling solo effort from a man whose spin on '60s rock puts him ahead of his psych-influenced peers. ~ Mark Deming