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Anders Parker
The Wounded Astronaut EP
Baryon Records
www.andersparker.com


There are a few things you need to know up front about Anders Parker.
Anders used to be in a band called Varnaline. They were very good. Now they may be broken up, which is sad. He was also in Space Needle a long time ago.
Anders is signed to John Agnello's Baryon Records label. John mixes Anders' music. That's why it sounds so good.
The Wounded Astronaut EP is the follow up to 2004's Tell It To The Dust.
Anders plays almost all of the instruments on his recordings, and sings most of the lyrics.
Anders is good friends with Richard Buckner and Jay Farrar. Both of them play on his records. Need I say more?

Maybe.

The Wounded Astronaut EP is six songs of blissful sonic semi-alt-country gloriousness. Anders Parker has continued to develop as a songwriter and grow his talent as a musician over the past few years, leaping forward from the relative low-tech and crunchy approaches of early Varnaline. The songs have become more focused, and attained a sense of character more akin to post-Crazy Horse Neil Young than that of any thick indie rock. Jay Farrar's influenced is felt keenly on these songs, each of them having a similarly lilting feel that much of Jay Farrar's music attained after the dissolution of the original Son Volt line-up.

"The Wounded Astronaut" is a thickly sonic rock dirge brimming with dynamics and beauty. Anders' vocals are at once delicate and powerful, coalescing all of the fantastic guitar parts and excellent drumming into a cohesive whole. Even if the rest of this song were not utterly amazing, the tremolo guitars are well worth the experience. "Come Off" settles back into a more Varnaline fashion, relying more on distorted guitars and throbbing drumlines for its power. "Everyone Will Shine" is a low-beat ambient track full of atmospheric densities and gently unsettling vocals. The guitars of "I Found You" are brilliantly wrought at the hands of Jay Farrar, as he takes some of the vocal chores as well, cementing the strong ties between himself and Parker. The song sounds incredibly Farrar-esque, while retaining a sense of continuity among the rest of Parker's compositions. "Fast And True" builds on a solid acoustic guitar base, building into what could be considered the second indie rock masterpiece of the EP. The story is masterfully shaped amidst the searing guitars and amazing lyrical imagery that Parker has proven he is so capable of. "The Smile" wraps the EP in a pleasant mid-tempo fashion, very reminiscent of tracks from Sebastopol. The song is quick and full, leaving nothing short of amazement in its path. Thick guitars and solid drumming underscore the brilliant poetry of Anders Parker as he weaves a psalmist's tale of duplicity.

There are very few records that come along that feature four or so solid songs that become a necessity to be heard by the music-buying public. On The Wounded Astronaut EP, Anders Parker not only creates some memorable and beautiful songs, but each one is a true musical gem. Buy this EP. But Tell It To The Dust. Go see Anders play live when he comes to your town. You owe it to yourself to hear the best that modern music has to offer.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. The Wounded Astronaut
2. Come Off
3. Everyone Will Shine
4. I Found You
5. Fast And True
6. The Smile


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