When: Sun., Jan. 15, 9 p.m. 2012
Carter Tanton took the name of his solo debut, Freeclouds (Western Vinyl), from the David Bowie song "Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud"—a baroque delicacy off 1969's Space Oddity. But though Tanton's songs share the wistful aura of Bowie's, they're stripped-down and compact. Tanton has kept good company for the past few years—he's been the leader of Tulsa, a member of Lower Dens, and a collaborator of Marissa Nadler, who lends her pretty voice to "Fake Pretend"—but he played and produced everything on Freeclouds himself. He might've been better served by some outside help: his melodies are pretty but his voice has no teeth, and the frequent layering of drum machines and synthesizers carries the dissolute stench of 80s "modern rock." The best moments are usually about guitars, even when they're buried in vocal harmonies and keyboards—if Tanton sanded away the washed-out electronics, the music would be better for it. For now at least, his promise still hangs in the air unrealized. —Peter Margasak The show is part of Tomorrow Never Knows. Two Gallants headline; Carter Tanton, Boy, and Death Ships open.