Jason Anderson @ Trunk Space

Jason Anderson's been quiet and he's been loud, but you would never accuse him of not being earnest. Anderson was attending Clark College in Portland during the mid-'90s when an Elliott Smith performance inspired him to make music. He eventually started noisy, hook-laden twee-tinged rockers Wolf Colonel and released several albums on K Records in the early Aughts before going solo. Those first efforts were quiet and understated, perhaps a reaction to his prior band. Anderson's plaintive baritone, languid, simmering arrangements, and lonely searching lyrics suggested Smog's Bill Callahan, only less jaded. With 2008's The Hopeful and the Unafraid, Anderson pushed the keyboards and passivity to the background, bringing his former rowdiness to the fore in fist-pumping tempos and exultant guitar paeans blending the Replacements and the Boss. That thread continued into last year's Summer Style, on which Anderson echoes the season with strummy anthems and a fervently hopeful spirit, completing his transformation from being like Conor Oberst to being like Brian Fallon. The lyrics are replete with movement, providing the foundation for meditations on his place spiritually and physically, his struggle between faith and doubt, and a sense of belonging. His recent two-song The Mark EP hints that adult pop balladry might be in his future, but he's not ready for a Toyota Venza just yet.

 
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