Following years of exhaustion and tabloid exploitation, the indie music genre has had to undergo many different configurations and incarnations to arrive at what it is today. You can recognise it when you hear it, but it’s hard to define. One particular subgenre that could be described as being indie yet also the sum of many different influences and sounds (garage rock, funk, and psychedelia) is ‘Lo-Fi’. Reinvented in the 21st century by the likes of Ariel Pink, Ty Segall, Black Lips, and most influentially Mac Demarco, the songs have a DIY, aged quality to them, as if they were produced by a forgotten band that you found on a mixtape in the 90’s.
Indeed, HOMESHAKE can also be characterised as a lo-fi act. Fronted by a former guitarist of Demarco’s, Peter Sager has been performing under the alias since 2013. His music is similar to Demarco’s in tone and humour but adds more stripped back grooves into the mix, which reveal themselves with repeated listens. In 2017 he released Fresh Air to critical acclaim and garnered much attention outside of the Demarco-fandom which was threatening to suffocate his progression. He’s not reinventing the wheel here, but when it all sounds this pretty what does it matter? Last month, he released his fourth studio album, Helium. Critically panned, Helium was largely less remarkable than its predecessor and at times threatened to float off into nothingness. So how would all this translate in a live performance?
As a performer he is low-key and mysterious. He doesn’t beg for the spotlight or do stage dives for kicks; he barely even acknowledges the audience (pitching his voice up or down when he does address them). He clearly prefers to let the music do the talking which is a smart move as the rhythms are looser and funkier here than they are on his albums. Disco-bound ‘Call Me Up’ is a highlight from the set, while ‘Like Mariah’, lead single ‘Just Like My’, and other Helium tracks are much more engaging and interesting. ‘Every Little Thing’, a joyous love song much more up-tempo than the rest of his catalogue, receives the biggest reaction. This song then gives-way to a brand new untitled track; a luminous torch of a song that HOMESHAKE plays without his band, ending with the abrupt, almost meta declaration to the crowd that “this is the last track. The gig is now over.” And that’s HOMESHAKE. Beautiful, strange, funny and wholesome.
Words, Will Craigie – @blondedboiiii