Sound Advice: Thunder Dreamer with Molly Sullivan and Carriers (May 5)

Indiana quartet Thunder Dreamer channels Built To Spill and Modest Mouse cross-pollinated with a little Swervedrive Shoegaze at The Comet.

click to enlarge Thunder Dreamer - Photo: Morgan Martinez
Photo: Morgan Martinez
Thunder Dreamer
I’m not sure what kind of a music scene is currently happening in Evansville, Ind., but if Thunder Dreamer is any indication of its quality, labels should be converging on the Indiana city like hippies flocking to Woodstock. To put them in a local context, the quartet’s 2013 self-titled EP and 2014 debut full-length,Lonesome Morning, cross-pollinated the beautiful Folk delicacy of Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound and the blistering Americana shit-kick of Frontier Folk Nebraska, then topped it with a sweet layer of Kid Stardust icing. For its sophomore album — the imminent Capture — Thunder Dreamer has switched from Bloomington, Ind.’s Winspear label (onetime home to Cincinnati’s own Pomegranates) to Los Angeles-based 6131 Records (whose roster includes the likes of American Clay, Touché Amoré and Julien Baker) and expanded its sonic palette, sounding a little like The Shins if they’d been steered by the whole Ride/Curve/Swervedriver Shoegaze era.

Thunder Dreamer began four years ago as a solo project for vocalist/guitarist/primary songwriter Steven Hamilton, who was taking a busman’s holiday from his other band, Quin. For the Thunder Dream EP, Hamilton used his bandmates — bassist Alex Wallwork and drummer Corey Greenfield — and assorted friends to back him up in the studio, but with the addition of keyboardist Zachary Zint, the core recording unit became the new band and adopted the project name

In an effort to avoid overexposure at home, a fate that hampered the members’ previous bands, Thunder Dreamer limited shows in Evansville and booked more out-of-town gigs to simultaneously create a demand and a mystique. After the evocative dreaminess and rootsy buzz of Lonesome MorningCapture, which is slated to release later this month, explores a sound akin to stated influences like Modest Mouse and Built to Spill, while expressing the seething frustrations and melancholy of living in a rusting Midwestern city that they happen to love. It’s a theme and a viewpoint all too familiar to Cincinnatians, and Thunder Dreamer should find an audience here that is as engaged and excited as the one back home.

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