Since breaking out with his album DSU in the summer of 2014, singer/guitarist Alex G has seen his cult-favorite status elevated to heights unimaginable for most of his Bandcamp-bound contemporaries. The following year, G (short for his given surname, Giannascoli) signed with Domino and released excellent follow-up Beach Music. A year later, you could hear his instantly-recognizable guitar playing on four tracks included on Frank Ocean’s Endless. Having consistently leveled up-- musically and commercially-- since 2014, G now looks to blow all of his past work out of the water with Rocket, his new album that’s due on May 19th.
The first two tracks that G has shared from the upcoming release, “Bobby” and “Witch,” represent the increasingly contrasting poles of his musical breadth. The former played up his country/folk leanings to an unprecedented degree, throwing a mournful violin and crystalline vocal harmonies into the mix, while the latter found him playing around with vocal pitch-altering effects and droning tones, albeit in the service of what’s otherwise a straightforward folk-pop song.
“Proud,” Alex G’s latest, errs a bit closer to the country/folk realm, what with its ramshackle beat, traditional chord progression, and even some pretty stereotypically blue collar lyrics: “If I sink, I don’t wanna be the one/To leave my baby out without no bottle to drink.” Coupled with “Bobby,” the song makes it seem like Rocket will be G’s own personal version of The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo or the Grateful Dead’s Workingman’s Dead-- that is, an attempt at cowboy cosplay by an artist whose past work shares few similarities with country music.
Luckily, G’s got the chops to play most American acoustic genres under the sun, and a distinctive enough sound to ensure that his music won’t lose its core DNA. Look for him to reach an even wider audience (including, most likely, the NPR demographic) with Rocket, which is now available for pre-order on his Bandcamp.