Little Tybee, Roarer | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Little Tybee

Little Tybee

Andrew Kornylak

When: Mon., July 27, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: $10
Folk music has long been skipping away from the hardscrabble authenticity of its rootsy origins, perhaps beginning when Donovan warbled on about “Sunshine Superman.” Atlanta’s Little Tybee continue in the tradition of the Scottish songwriter and fantastical freaky-fey-fuzak folk of the sort where you need session musicians to play the coffee shop. Vocalist Brock Scott recalls Paul Simon’s arch phrasing and Joni Mitchell’s range as he shifts up into sublime falsetto passages, while behind him the band runs jazzy changes. Nirvana Kelly’s violin is distinctive, and the laid-back song structures and intellectual approach are more Steely Dan than Nick Drake. Little Tybee’s last album, 2013’s For Distant Viewing (Paper Garden), is composed of spacious, meticulously arranged tunes that are drifting, gentle, and quietly staggering (“Walking around supported by these broken knees,” Brock sings on “Mind Grenade”). The brief “A Dog Waits in the Doorway” nicely sums up the band’s approach: Dexterous acoustic picking is punctuated by incongruous pauses for Brock’s falsetto yodel and lyrics that noodle on about lost love, dogs waiting in the rain, and cats who don’t remember their name; violin accents soon roll in, and the track fades out with cheesy space noises. The combo of cutesiness, virtuosity, and unexpected oddness offers something to pleasantly alienate everyone, but the mix of folk and antifolk doesn’t so much explode as vibrate with carefully managed dissonance. —Noah Berlatsky



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