Home Read Albums Of The Week: Haunted Shed | Faltering Light

Albums Of The Week: Haunted Shed | Faltering Light

Indie-rock, psychedelia, southern gothic & more meet in the Athens outfit's debut.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Every few years it seems like the historically fruitful music community of Athens, Georgia births a recording that both translates and transcends the tangled beauty of the Classic City. From start to finish, Haunted Shed’s gorgeous debut album overflows with this complicated beauty – not just the glowing and radiant grace of Athens, but also its darker charms that occasionally bloom from the inherent shadows.

Fronted by lifelong musician and songwriter Etienne de Rocher, Haunted Shed sometimes sounds like it evolved from the West Coast’s lineage of late 20th-century indie-rock. Etienne was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but came up in the San Francisco Bay area’s vibrant 1990s music scene before relocating to Athens. His eponymous 2006 album has garnered a cult following. Etienne’s songs have always blended the avant-sonicity of indie rock with the elegance of 1960s baroque pop. But with Haunted Shed, many of his lyrics conjure the specters of Southern Gothic tomes. He explains, “These themes are definitely a big part of how I saw the South growing up. And it was something I missed during my West Coast years. You can’t escape it in Athens. It’s steeped in the soil, trees, and buildings.”

Dan Nettles (Kenosha Kid) plays lead guitar. But after hearing how he can tonally manipulate vintage sounds into unfolding lines of bewitching melodies, “lead guitar” seems too simple a phrase. “Casting spells” might be a better way to explain what he does. Drifting somewhere between Steve Gunn’s interlaced peaks and Europe ’72 Grateful Dead, Dan’s playing sounds both warmly recognizable and casually cosmopolitan. There couldn’t be a better suited drummer for Haunted Shed than Joe Rowe (The Glands, Bliss, Pylon Reenactment Society). If you can imagine the well-oiled mechanics of Fugazi’s Brendan Canty downshifting into the smoldering grooves of Yo La Tengo’s Georgia Hubley, you’re halfway there. He balances the multiplicity of heavy kinetics with the finesse of intricate patterns. Bass player and cellist Jacob Morris (Moth, Vic Chesnutt, Patterson Hood, Madeline, Ham 1, Liz Durrett) brings a versatile foundation to Haunted Shed. Taking cues from the psychedelic pop and folk of Athens’ robust scene, his contributions to these songs pivot from heavy bedrocks to the more buoyant groundings of floating sea vessel.”