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Quick hits
Boy in Static and Roh Delikat

Itís no secret that computers have revolutionized the home studio, but a pair of recent local albums demonstrate how far bedroom indie pop has come since the days of Lou Barlowís sketchy four-track hymns. Boy in Staticís Newborn and Roh Delikatís Deaf + Dear are home recordings that play their singersí intimacy off against state-of-the-art production ó with results that are intricate, majestic, and more intriguing than much of whatís coming out of professional studios these days.

The "Boy" in Boy in Static is 23-year-old Alexander Chen, a classically trained pianist and violist living in Allston whose glitchy lap-top pop caught the ear of Notwistís Markus and Micha Acher. Released on the brothersí Alien Transistor label, Newborn frames Chenís gauzy, whispered confessions with a whir of crisp electronic crackles, skips, pops, and beats as broken as his heart. Beneath the din are finger-picked songs as gentle and buoyant as any by Low, Bedhead, or Space Needle, with lyrics plucked from the sentience that lies between waking and sleep. But Chenís orchestrations ó hazy open chords, perilous string-section swells, overdriven static buzz ó locate the songs in an odd space that feels both womb-like and robotic.

"Itís so sad/I donít love you back," coos Roh Delikat singer/guitarist Kristina Johnson on the opening track of Deaf + Dear ó which wouldnít be half as heartbreaking if she didnít have a voice you fall in love with at first blush. Former Ivory Coast keyboardist Scott Craggs, on drums and programming, leaves Johnsonís pouty, precocious resolve up front, but underneath, he runs skittering electronic drums that click-clack like train tracks while her guitarís arpeggios twinkle like starlight. Occasionally sounding like a young Juliana Hatfield making out with the Postal Service, their deliriously pretty songs have the bleary-eyed, smeared-mascara rush of staying out all night.

Roh Delikat appear this Sunday, February 20, at Great Scott; call (617) 734-4502. Boy in Static DJs this Friday, February 18, at River Gods, then performs with a band on Tuesday, February 22, at Great Scott.

Issue Date: February 18 - 24, 2005
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