[sic] Magazine

Nolan Potter – Music Is Dead

Nolan Potter’s second LP release of the year after the wild garage-jazz abandon of Eggbound, Music Is Dead (more on that later) is the proggy songwriter’s response to lockdown – six lengthy tracks, all 6 minutes or longer, recorded and produced alone at his Austin, TX home. You wouldn’t know it though as Music Is Dead is a maximal record that, building on his Nightmare Forever album (recorded with the Nightmare Band), doesn’t scrimp on instrumentation, scope, or sound.

Acting alone allows an artist to truly fulfil their vision of course, but simultaneously there’s also no-one else around to tame any excess and Music Is Dead is treated to both sides of the coin. The album opener, for example, does a great job of capturing the late 60s/early 70s laidback garage-psych vibe, its vocal heavy on echo, bubbling bass leading whimsical harmonies. The track’s outré concessions though lend it a Frank Zappa via Ariel Pink (pre controversy) sheen too and Potter likes what he’s accomplished enough to revisit it on “Preeminent Minds”, this slice of weirdo, distorted funk having a hint of the cheeseball about it as it’s broken down and rebuilt in stabbing scales on several occasions.

More successful to these ears is the middle order. Out comes the plugged-in acoustic for “Gregorian Chance”, a sleepy, outdoorsy psych-folk number with chilly whistles and blissed-out whammy solos, while the catchy, 9-minute “Stubborn Bubble” combines crunchy bass riffing and ravey oscillators before falling off a cliff into nebulous synth jamming and filthy guitar-on-guitar action. A love letter to 70s AOR and FM rock, the rich mellotron keys of “Holy Scroller” are rather soulful in turn and brings Tobias Jesso Jr to mind, that same breezy song-writing again dusted down for the closing title track, the curtain falling over scrambled pipes and garbled spoken samples. Music clearly isn’t dead, but, judging from tracks like these, as well as Potter’s catalogue to date, you get the impression he is one of those that believes punk definitely killed it.

Best track: “Stubborn Bubble”

~Music Is Dead is released 24th September 2021 via Castle Face.~