Indianapolis is a truly horrible indie rock market. For a genre that prides itself on against-the-grind thinking and places emphasis on unearthing under-the-radar music, coverage of indie rock in the Hoosier State has been woefully incomplete. Perhaps more ominous for Indiana-based artists than the lack of coverage is Indianapolis’ recent additions to the website that rhymes with “bitch-spork,” who reviewed both Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos’s Animal!/Not Animal! and Grampall Jookabox’s Ropechain unfavorably.
I’ve spent four years of my life covering Muncie and Indianapolis music, and I’ve noticed very few seem to take the Central Indiana music scene seriously. Sometimes I wonder if it’s even worth it; no one seems to be listening, outside the small cadre of devoted fans following these great bands around. In my time, I’ve heard a lot of truly awful music and more mediocre music than I can remember. But I’ve also heard some great music. And I’ve heard some great albums.
Everything, Now!’s Spatially Severed is a fucking great album.
Spatially Severed is Everything, Now!’s fifth full-length release, and as the follow-up to the band’s first misfire (Ugly Magic) it feels like a return to the band’s roots. Everything, Now!’s first true masterpiece was Bible Universe, but Spatially Severed is an improvement even on that. Like all great albums, it doesn’t just exist. It breathes.
A lot of the credit here is due to Tyler Watkins, who is producing the band for the first time since Police, Police!. Both Bible Universe and Ugly Magic were painfully under-produced, and Watkins does a good job of tastefully adding embellishments to the band’s arrangements. From the swirling atmospherics on “The Shelter” to the warm, inviting presence of ballads like “Brother of the Prodigal Son,” Watkins has brought this band to life.
But the true stars of this record are the band members themselves. For the first time in a while, the band wrote, rehearsed and recorded as a unit, rather than as a Jon Rogers-directed solo project. And they sound lethal.
The band’s Bowie-by-way-of-T-Rex formula is back, but the band has found ways to make that sound its own, from incorporating elements of French freak-beat (“The Labyrinth”), country (“Brother of the Prodigal Son”) and AM radio pop (“Save a Life with Diet Chocolate Sprite”). All that genre hopping demands space, and Spatially Severed has a lot of it, ballooning to 19 tracks. While much of it could have been cut, most importantly the awful “Alice of Dixie Cup,” there’s a refreshing amount of transition and movement on this record. It has the lived-in, chaotic feel of classic double albums like Bee Thousand and Exile on Main Street, both of which Rogers told me were heavy influences. When taken in context of the band’s stated intention to create the classic double-album, Spatially Severed comes off as a perfect cohesion of concept, intent and execution. It’s messy and imperfect. But it’s supposed to be.
The band’s blatant disregard for America’s booming online singles culture and the ADD generation is what makes Everything, Now! so vital. This music can be ignored, but for the select few who get it, listening to this band is a damn-near-religious experience. Indie rock needs Everything, Now!
Everything, Now! might never achieve wider acclaim and that might be okay with them. But it’s not okay with me. And it shouldn’t be okay with the rest of the indie-rock world.