Album review – Till Another Time: 1988-1996 by Linda Smith (2021) (Captured Tracks)
Technology and the bizarre affinity of the young to be consumed by it at the expense of actually going out, unless absolutely necessary, means that technologically au fait creatives are benefitting from the digital age to release all manner of bedroom-pop.
Much of it is the maudlin introspection of ‘no-one understands us teens’, who believe that having a pulse and a left field spirit means they deserve to hoist their ‘music’ onto the world. However, you simply have to keep digging into it, for fear of missing the sort of sounds that the likes of the BIRTHDiY, Spirit Goth and Z Tapes labels (among others) are regularly gift the world.
The grand bedroom-pop dame of them all, the one that started it all, was Baltimore’s Linda Smith. Back in the 80’s she was recording lo-fi music from the confines on her abode, straight onto a 4-track and then enticing releases from the likes of the Slumberland, Harriet and Feel Good All Over labels (ask your indie Mums and Dads about the last two kids) on the back of nothing more than the organic recognition garnered from gigs. No digital marketing campaigns, just the weird, normal stuff, us olds remember, which I suppose is even weirder now considering the panedemic times.
As with the best of todays lo-fi and bedroom-pop, the cream was always going to rise to the top, even in the days of musical yore and the most startling thing about this album is the sense of ‘timeless classic’ that oozes from its three dominant aesthetics.
Initially, fans of modern jangly lo-fi, are unlikely to have anything better in their collections than In This, Gorgeous Weather and I’ll Never See You. Such tracks are crafted upon tinny, deconstructed jangle-pop riffs and benefit from the subtle sense of distance and obtuse clarity that only the 4 track medium really provides.
Equally as endearing is the huge slathers of cool she layers throughout tracks like A Crumb of Your Affection and I So Liked Spring which are all dulcet Velvet Underground in texture and Wandering You Know and Till Another Time that venture into an mid-fi energy somewhere approaching the Britpop sound of Sleeper, whilst remaining defiantly cooler, primarily through the four track usage.
Essentially this is the best bedroom-pop you are ever likely to hear, directly from an age that did not really know what to do with it.