I’ve got to hand it to Dayton, Ohio’s tiny Big Beef Records. They keep sending me stuff, and even though the label’s roster is comprised of bands in different genres, it’s always good. This outing features John Shough, who is to Dayton’s scene what, say, Rob McGregor is to Gainesville, Florida’s. Meaning that he’s too little known outside his town, plays most of the instruments on his releases, and has served as producer or engineer on a lot of the records other, more well-known local artists put out (in Slough’s case, including the Breeders and Guided By Voices).
Slough’s stuff is indie pop, but not overproduced despite his production background. With pianos, electric pianos, accordions, acoustic guitars, slide guitar, and Hammond B-3s, this isn’t gonna rock anyone’s socks off, but man, is it good. You can hear little bits of acts like Robyn Hitchcock, XTC, the dB’s, and Matthew Sweet in this, if that helps give you a reference. While Slough hasn’t the strongest voice in the world, the material and arrangements here are simply wonderful. Buy buy buy.
Big Beef, PO Box 303 WBB, Dayton, OH 45409, http://www.bigbeef.com