RIYL: Arthur Russell, Lewis without the creepiness

Label: Jaz Records

Welcome to the first full week of 2016. May it be a good one for you and me. I come to you today with a somewhat heavy heart. After writing up that Loscil release, Sine Studies 2, I decided to dig around Jaz Records for some other goodies and I think I can mine a few more after this one – obviously, this is one of the goodies. I’m perplexed that I didn’t come across, much less ever read about, this record back in 2013 (that was three years ago now… Lord have mercy, we’re getting old) or this man. Nicholas Krgovich plays with acts such as Phil Elverum’s Mount Eerie and Nite Jewel, a name synonymous with Italians Do It Better. Krgovich’s Who Cares? is just a solid singer-songwriter record with vocal harmonies that’ll make you swoon. If you’re someone like me who’s constantly trying to find music that “pushes the boundaries” of what’s possible, you sometimes want to take a breather with something such as this. I’m by no means calling this jejune as much as I’m calling this accessible – almost none of the songs exceed three minutes and all that’s majorly involved is Krgovich’s voice and guitar. If you’re way late to the party like I am, then get to pressing play on the Bandcamp player below and see what you think of it. Cheers!

The Details

This is the first release in years from songwriter/multi-instrumentalist NICHOLAS KRGOVICH and it is a strange one. When we last checked Krgovich was slinking around the floor to the icy, r&b-inflected sophisti-pop of NO KIDS, or masterminding the Phil Spector indebted girl group sing-a-longs of GIGI, or manning the keyboards and touring the world with MOUNT EERIE and NITE JEWEL. There's also been the absence of a long finished, four-years-in-the-making magnum opus, a widescreen paean to Los Angeles, written before he was living there in a small house in South Pasadena. There's also the music composed for hair commercials starring Beyoncé's sister. So what do we have here? Who Cares? is a small, short record. Perhaps even a personal one. It's a collection of truly bummed out and lonely-sounding songs, but they're fashioned in such a quiet, composed and lovely way that they paradoxically end up being quite hopeful and tender. Laughter-through-the-tears in album form. Singing in a low, warm tenor and playing a guitar for the first time in ages, Krgovich presents a series of songs that are so spare and direct, they play out less like songs and more like little life events. The end result is a beautifully intimate and clear recording of songs that intertwine Sondheim lyricism, doo wop melodic turns, and barely-there instrumentation which creates its own inviting and idiosyncratic world that leaves much to turn over and explore.

Price $10.75

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