Naukeag has a comforting old school indie rock vibe to it. On his second album, Steep Leans (Jeffrey Gray Somers) creates a lovely atmosphere that brings to mind earlier Wilco and The Replacements. The music is original but those are my reference points for Steep Leans’ sound and why I enjoyed this record so much. Somers has a lovely voice that shines through with excellent production. My favorite tracks were “Leave You Crossed,” and “Halfway House,” but I think this is a record you should play all the way through. Even though the description on Bandcamp reads that Naukeag is about “reckoning with where you ended up and figuring out how to ground yourself in the chaos,” I found it to be extremely upbeat. Sure there’s feedback sprinkled here and there, but this is no drone album.
As this is only the second release by Steep Leans, I think Steep Leans has a very promising future. The album makes me nostalgic for when indie rock was indie rock, and not this new “indie” thing that emerged around 2006. Not to say I don’t love some recent indie musicians, but this album is steeped in the 90s, which for my money is undeniable the golden era of the genre. I would recommend Naukeag to any fan of real indie rock because that’s what this is. It’s refreshing, and I’d also add that it’s a great album to start your day with. Excellent work.