(05.2009, Magic Goat Music)
RIYL = Mount Eerie, Woods, Times New Viking
On Braden J. McKenna's first two albums under his the pseudonym Navigator, an extremely small portion of the world was treated to some utterly ingenious lo-fi noise pop and indie singer-songwritering. Bad Children, the third full length from Navigator, seems to split the difference between the noise pop recording aesthetic of Songs For Mei and Satsuki with the outsider Americana songwriting from Throwing Tongues. The result is an odd, but enjoyable bout of noise laden Americana. There have only been a few acts in recent memory have successfully engendered dusty western musical tropes with a modern no wave despondence (Castanets, Gowns, Jackie-O), however, even these bands seem light years away from to what Navigator has produced. Instead of mining out the dark corners of folk with echoed reverberation, Bad Children is perpetually upbeat, reiterating the same flurry of C and G chords that Navigator has been pumping his tunes with since his beginning. Really, the closest relative I can think of for Bad Children is the most recent Woods release, Songs of Shame. And, just for the record, I am baffled at Songs of Shame's success. Why, you ask? Well, it really isn’t that great, especially in light of their previous records. But that is just a tangent. Bad Children on the other hand is wholly impressive, plush with warm feedback and ridiculously addictive. In a perfect (read: honest) world, Songs of Shame would be getting middling reviews while Bad Children would be peaking on the Pitchfork Best New Music list. But, then again, Pitchfork has been getting increasingly predictable in recent years (which doesn’t mean that FG doesn’t share some taste with the indie music juggernaut). I guess what I am getting at here is that Bad Children is a pretty high quality, unique little gem filled with a country mile of suburban charm. Reallistically, Navigator isn’t breaking any sound barriers with this ‘new’ sound, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t legitimately refreshing. Oh, and what's the most refreshing part? Mr. Navigator, the proprietor of the wonderful Magic Goat Music web label, is hosting free downloads of Bad Children on his website prior to its physical release. So, help yourself to some lo-fi noise country indie pop genius on Mr. Navigator – you won’t regret it.
download Bad Children here.