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Solitary exposure

Purrbot releases Midwater

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It was a good Spring for Nathan Carter, aka Purrbot. At the end of April he opened for indie pop duo Tegan & Sara, playing in front of about 300 people at the UC Theater, easily his largest audience ever. A month later, Carter put the finishing touches on his sophomore effort, Midwater, and then took an extended tour throughout the West. The whirlwind was enough to make Carter take a rare, but much-needed break. Then he realized something.

“I never really formally released the new album,” Carter says. “It’s been done for two months, but I never really celebrated it.”

Carter should celebrate the release of his latest solitary creation (and in fact he did, at the Boys and Girls Club’s Higgins Hall, with little notice, the night before this issue of the Independent hit the stands; Midwater is now available locally). While the one-man-band has always composed and performed all of his own material, for Midwater—an introspective work featuring Carter’s revealing lyrics and minimal guitars and keyboards—he handled all of the production, too. Using a borrowed four-track and his laptop, Carter laid down, mixed and balanced all 14 tracks in his Missoula apartment.

“I think it documents where I am rather than where I’d like to be,” says Carter. “I call it my awkward teens. I’m very comfortable with the songs, but the production has braces and the voice cracks. Figuratively, of course.”

Carter’s willingness to experiment with production mirrors his fearlessness in experimenting with new sounds and exposing autobiographical details on Midwater. On “Packing Heat,” Carter sings: “Packing heat, you backed me against the pressboard wall/Didn’t know if you’d kissed a boy before/You tried me out like I was yours to try.” Carter says the CD is more candid than his first.

“This album is a little braver, a little bolder,” he says, noting influences such as Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu. “The first album was very much, ‘You did this to me’—a victim theme. Midwater is not as much ‘You did this to me,’ but ‘I made this decision’…it’s about just being honest about who and where you are.”

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