Nash Smith & Ganges (In Columbia This Week)

Want retro chic in your listening choices? Forget about vinyl, how about a new album being released on cassette? Local Columbia act Cassangles have done it recently, now I get word in my inbox about this Blacksburg, Virginia act that has put out their new EP on a limited edition cassette (and digital download for the non-retro out there).

The music is certainly fitting for a tape-only physical release like this, as Nash Smith & Ganges trade in both Cocteau Twins-esque gauzy indie-pop and the kind of atmospheric, windswept rock of 80’s underground heroes such as the Gun Club.
The various members (none of whom are named Nash Smith, btw) come from various midwestern bands such as Distractions (Chicago) and Puritan (Minneapolis). According to drummer Mark Arciaga, the current group combines the different musical philosophies of the individual members.
“This began about six months ago as a means of unifying our solo projects, from my moody synthpop to Rob [Kenagy, guitar/vocals] and his psychedelic noise/folk and Melissa’s [Smith, keyboards/vocals] hazy pop.”

The EP was recorded mostly live in a hundred-year-old general store that’s now a restaurant in Eggleston, Viginia in the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains, giving it a casual yet intense vibe that splits the difference between the gothic indie folk of Will Oldham and the blissed-out kitchen sink psychedelia of post-Dream Syndicate Kendra Smith. Melissa Smith handles most of the lead vocals on these songs, but stick around for “Dress,” which adds a Ennio Morricone-like tone to a pastoral tune sung by Kenagy.

It is being offered on a limited-print cassette and through digital download on the Chicago label, Pretty All Right. The band’s touring right now to support the new release, including a Columbia, SC stop this coming Tuesday, March 8th at the House in Five Points.

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