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Alternative & Indie - Released September 14, 2018 | Polyvinyl Records

Continuing in the direction of Fred Thomas' previous two albums, the equally outstanding All Are Saved and Changer, Aftering is filled with vivid descriptions of particular moments from throughout the prolific songwriter's life, as well as more general encapsulations of the bleak, uncertain feelings clouding the landscape of late-2010s America. The album is split between concise, adrenalin-spiked garage-pop tunes and more sprawling experimental pieces which sometimes recall Flashpapr, the slowcore group Thomas formed back in the mid-'90s. Throughout the album, numerous past collaborators and tourmates pop up like memories in order to contribute vocals, strings, horns, and additional instruments and textures. Following the sun-soaked drift of opener "Ridiculous Landscapes," which touches on tour experiences and the news of two past acquaintances' marriage, "Alcohol Poisoning" kicks off a block of fuzz-heavy rock songs themed around nostalgia, regret, and confusion (not to mention drinking). Without making specific references to anything, "Good Times Are Gone Again" is a direct, uncomplicated expression of the realization that we are in the midst of a grim state of being, and the simpler, more joyful days are long behind us. "House Show Late December" begins the album's more expansive second half, describing in great detail the bemoaning of a passing bad year at a noise show in someone's basement. While there's hope for the new year, there's still the reality that a lot of terrible, wrong things are never going to go away, so it's hard to escape the negativity. Even darker is the harrowing "Slow Waves," an ambient tone poem where Thomas recollects pointless arguments and seethes rage against an unnamed celebrity. Concluding everything is "What the Sermon Said," a fascinating story recalling an easily relatable awkward childhood incident, and a handy summation of what makes Thomas' music so unique. ~ Paul Simpson
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Contemporary Jazz - Released December 4, 2015 | F-IRE Recorded Music Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 27, 2017 | Polyvinyl Records

Fred Thomas is never one to sit still. The prolific songwriter, musician, and producer/engineer always seems to be working on several projects at once, and his recordings are a series of in-the-moment snapshots capturing certain points of his life. It's impossible to envision him sticking to one persona and committing himself to playing the same repertoire for all eternity. As such, it's no surprise that he would title an album Changer, but since the 2015 release of All Are Saved, his most well-received solo effort to date, he's quit his full-time job, gotten married, and moved from his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan to Montreal, Canada. The songs on Changer don't specifically address these things -- at least one of them has popped up in his set lists even before All Are Saved was released, and some songs reference the period when he lived in Portland, Oregon during the second half of the 2000s -- but they all reflect the urgency of a life perpetually in flux. Similar to All Are Saved, he delivers his thoughts at a mile a minute, eschewing hooks and choruses in favor of poetic narratives about touring experiences, feeling disconnected at parties, worthless temporary jobs, and a general questioning of where all of this is leading. "Brickwall" is a rousing folk-punk tune about not being able to relate to old friends who have long since moved on, and having nothing else to turn to besides drinking. "Voiceover" is more furious, with a torrent of feelings bursting out, describing dream scenes and remembrances of friends left in the past. As with his previous album, shimmering electronics seep into some of the songs, recalling his City Center project, and there are also several ambient and IDM instrumentals, particularly during the second half. These tracks serve as refreshing breaks from the intensity of the lyrical songs, and the album was originally supposed to be much longer and include more of these ambient pieces, but was edited down due to demands from the record label. Thomas' atmospheric pieces are just as compelling as his songwriting, however, and anyone intrigued by these tracks should check out some of his many extracurricular projects, particularly the dark, jazzy free-form explorations of Billowing and the Krautrock-inspired instrumental pop group Hydropark. ~ Paul Simpson
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 3, 2015 | Polyvinyl Records

Fred Thomas may be best known as the leader of indie pop heroes Saturday Looks Good to Me, but the talented performer, producer, and songwriter has also pursued a solo career that gained a new strength in the 2010s, with Thomas releasing the thoughtful and ambitious Kuma in 2012, and following it in 2015 with one of his most eclectic and effective efforts to date, All Are Saved. The album's 11 songs cover a broad spectrum of musical styles, ranging from lo-fi pop ("Every Song Sung to a Dog") and minimalist bedroom folk ("Monster Movie") to horn-driven rock ("Expo '87") and coolly evocative electronics soundscapes ("Doggie"), while the lyrics find Thomas baring his soul as well as pondering the state of a chaotic world. All Are Saved presents a vision that's artful, passionate, and intelligent, and it's a powerful reminder that Thomas is one of the truly individual artists on the indie music scene. ~ Mark Deming
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 17, 2013 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 1, 2019 | Polyvinyl Records

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Contemporary Jazz - Released March 2, 2014 | F-IRE Recorded Music Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 17, 2013 | Polyvinyl Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 17, 2013 | Polyvinyl Records

As the brains behind the Phil Spector-inspired Saturday Looks Good to Me, Fred Thomas is a musician who always seems to be working diligently on the next project or promoting current releases. With such a demanding schedule, one might think a solo release would lack some of the quality of a group record. Turn It Down, the second full solo release by Thomas, is just the opposite. Many of the ingredients found on SLGTM albums are very apparent on Thomas' solo works, such as lyrical pleas from a boy desperate to win the girl of his dreams, the occasional stripped-down acoustic song, and the faster after-school dance tracks. No SLGTM fan will be disappointed with Turn It Down, a mix of all those ingredients whose songs range from minimal ballads to blaring guitar-heavy tracks. "Come Back" is one of the album's top songs, with delicate guitars and a string section creating a soothing background of sounds for Thomas' narrative lyrics: "I laid in the grass/For a year and a half/For you to come back." The vulnerability of Thomas' voice comes through with such power that you can't help but think of someone you care for. "Might Not" showcases Thomas' ability to address the feelings of insecurity that many individuals feel. He starts the song out slowly and simply, and continually builds it into a more complex track, adding synthesizers and percussion along the way, much like the tambourines that give way to electric guitars in "Throw Me a Line." Looking back toward the rock & roll of the 1950s and early '60s, "Your Car" is fast and upbeat, with acoustic guitars leading the way and contrasting with electric guitar wails, as Thomas mixes the sounds of both Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers in a modern fashion. As an album, Turn It Down is a solid portfolio of work that once again presents Thomas as both a solo artist and master of music artistry, and proves he can hold his own without Saturday Looks Good to Me. ~ Alicia Denyes Dorset
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 17, 2013 | Polyvinyl Records

3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The disc's quirky singer/songwriter ethos recalls the Microphones, fueled by Thomas' guileless open heart..."
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 17, 2013 | Polyvinyl Records