Vagabon, Nnamdi Oggbonnaya, Junior Astronomers | The Pinhook | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
This is a past event.

Vagabon, Nnamdi Oggbonnaya, Junior Astronomers 

When: Tue., Oct. 10, 9 p.m. 2017
Price: $10

When listening to Vagabon's debut record, Infinite Worlds, for the first time, don't try to guess what's going to happen next—you'll be confounded. That applies not only to transitions from one song to the next, but to the tracks themselves. "Fear & Force," the second song on the album, begins with a simple guitar riff bouncing beneath the voice of Lætitia Tamko, who leads the project. You're lulled into thinking the song will continue down that path—a pleasant indie pop song in its own right—until the guitar abruptly cuts out, replaced by resonant electronic drums, smooth vocal harmonies, and glowing synths. The transition is striking.

Tamko has gone through a number of intense shifts herself. Born in Cameroon, she moved with her family to New York at thirteen and went on to study engineering in college before, in her final year of school, focusing more intensely on music.

Flowing consistently throughout her shifting music is the theme of home—six of the eight tracks use the words "home," "house" or "apartment" at some point. At times, "home" seems to be used literally, referring to the physical, intimate space where one lives, turns to for solace, and takes pains to establish; at times it is a headspace, an internal world Tamko cultivates and inhabits. On "Cleaning House," a song about doing away with mental obstacles, she sings, "No longer yearn to be gentle, pure, sweet, not intimidating yet sure," as if deciding to toss out the clutter of passivity to make room for determination and self-empowerment.

Home, like love, is a familiar theme in music, and has just as much universal resonance. Moreover, the way Tamko addresses theme is long absent and overdue in the world of indie pop-rock. Vagabon is emerging as a beacon in a musical realm long dominated by introspective white guys. While Tamko's music is driven to a large degree by personal experience and self-reflection, it also expresses a desire to connect, and a level of confidence seemingly designed to encourage others who may not normally feel at home in the indie music world, or the world at large. A model home may not have existed for Tamko prior to her construction of Infinite Worlds, but she has created a new one for herself in the record. —Noah Rawlings

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