Shakey Graves trades his stark indie folk for dreamy psych on Can’t Wake Up | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Shakey Graves trades his stark indie folk for dreamy psych on Can’t Wake Up


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Alejandro Rose-Garcia emerged from the Austin music scene in 2011 as Shakey Graves, combining blues, folk, and indie rock—his performances were as bare-bones as his bedroom recordings, his soulful voice accompanied by nothing but an acoustic guitar and a suitcase modified to serve as a kick drum. (He put together a three-piece touring band around the time of his second album, the 2014 Dualtone release And the War Came.) But despite Rose-Garcia’s rootsy traditionalist streak, he’s often indicated in interviews that’s he’s not interested in limiting his palette when there’s so much more to explore. On his latest album, this spring’s Can’t Wake Up, he walks the walk. Rather than dusty roads and hardscrabble living, the new album draws from dreams, 60s psychedelia, animated Disney films, and more. Rose-Garcia makes this stylistic shift feel natural and warm, weaving threads of his characteristic acoustic folk and country guitar into the kaleidoscopic textures, but it’s bound to lose the attention of some old fans who prefer gritty minimalism to lush soundscapes. It’s likely to earn him some new listeners too, though, including indie-rock fans with enough distance from Americana that they’d consider a suitcase a strange percussion instrument. But on his artistic journey, Rose-Garcia clearly isn’t chasing any particular audience—he’s following something else, and not staying anywhere long.   v

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