From Indian Lakes

I'm so excited to finally kick off this blog with an artist feature. To start off this little project, I figure I should lead with one of my favorite acoustic indie rock bands, a five piece outfit named From Indian Lakes.

Source: Chris Vinyard, Clarion Call Media

The Members

From Indian Lakes was formed in 2009 in (go figure) Indian Lakes, California, near Yosemite National Park. The project is actually somewhat of a solo act, the brainchild of Joey Vannucchi, who writes, produces, and performs all of the band's material. In the studio, Vannucchi sings and plays the guitar, keyboard and drums (unfortunately not at the same time). The touring band is filled out by Vannucchi, the frontman, Justin Stanphill on guitar and secondary vocals, Enrique Gutierrez on keyboards and auxiliary percussion, Tohm Ifergan on the drums, and Chris Kellogg on the bass and extra vocals.

The Music

As a general rule, every one of From Indian Lakes' four albums is unique. Keeping this in mind, the band's first release, The Man With Wooden Legs, lays misleading groundwork. The album starts the band's career with heavier alt-rock vibes, accented by Vannucchi's screaming and shouted lyrics over distorted electric guitar and heavy drums, a theme which continues through the whole record and into the next, Able Bodies. In my opinion, both of these first two records are equally heavy while the next two are considerably lighter, making more use of acoustic guitars later on (although acoustic is used on all four records). Essentially, FIL started out as a much more rock-style band than their lighter indie-style future would suggest. However, that isn't to say their overlying feeling as a band - airy guitar, thought-provoking lyrics, and complex drum beats - isn't mirrored in their first album. It has the same feel, just...  louder.

Absent Sounds is admittedly the first FIL record I heard after discovering them from an advertisement  in Alternative Press magazine in 2014. There's a real turning point in FIL's style between Able Bodies, released in November 2012, and Absent Sounds, released a month short of two years later. Drummer Tohm Ifergan replaces heavy-hitting four-count beats with lighter playing but unusual time signatures on most of the 10 tracks. Likewise, Vannucchi trades in a lot of raspy screams for more falsetto notes for Absent Sounds, while the flittering lead guitar creates effects not mirrored in many other bands... like, ever.

The group's most recent release, Everything Feels Better Now, continues on the trail that Absent Sounds blazed, calming things down even more for this record. While they never completely lost their acoustic alt-rock vibe (think This Wild Life with more drums), they simply dialed down the volume and mellowed out the vocals, maintaining the perfect blend of chill and jam. Maybe they're trying to tell us something, anyway - that everything DOES feel better for the band by quieting things down.

The Final Word

From Indian Lakes is a band for every type of indie listener. Fans of heavier alt rock will enjoy The Man With Wooden Legs and Able Bodies, while those more in favor of This Wild Life-esque acoustic indie will favor Absent Sounds and Everything Feels Better Now. Vannucchi transfers effortlessly from screaming to singing to floating falsetto notes, often within a single song, making him a versatile and powerful vocalist. Paired with a passionate touring band, this five-piece outfit takes acoustic indie rock to a place it's never been before - or more accurately, a few places it's never been before.

All of their records are available to purchase and stream, so check out the links below to take a listen for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments below! Also, many thanks to Chris & Katharine from FIL's management at Clarion Call Media for helping me out (I also graciously accept constructive criticism on all my reviews!).




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