Since the early ’00s, prolific Indiana folklorist (and North Carolina transplant) Joe O’Connell has released—often on his own or via tiny imprints—a slew of haunting lo-fi material as Elephant Micah. His cryptic lyricism and deliberate arrangements conjure the likes of Will Oldham and Jason Molina. Indeed, O’Connell has even served as a vocalist and guitarist for the touring tribute “Songs: Molina—A Memorial Electric Co.” But his latest project, Genericana, shakes loose some of those parallels. Envisioned by O’Connell as “a lucky mutation that could lead to a heartier version of Elephant Micah for the digital world,” the album uses unconventional instrumentation like Hindustani electronics and a homemade synth to aim murky songs through an avant-garde lens. It is as wonderful as it is weird.
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