Jake McKelvie / The Heligoats

+In Amongst The Clouds

09 August 2024

Indie/Emo songwriters from the USA's thriving DIY scene.
FFO: Jeff Rosenstock, The Front Bottoms, Jeffrey Lewis

Jake McKelvie has traveled the DIY touring circuit in the US for the last decade, carving out a niche for himself as a songwriter and performer. Over the years he has garnered a cult fanbase, having self-released all of his records and booked his own tours. Known for his off-kilter and whimsical "stream of self-consciousness" lyricism and charming stage demeanor, McKelvie keeps audiences rapt whether as a solo performer or with his punk-leaning outfit, The Countertops. This year, in anticipation of the release of a new solo record, he will embark on a tour of the UK.

Featured on WFMU, Daytrotter, No Depression and has shared stages with folk legends like Steve Forbert and Bill Staines as well as contemporary indie acts like Jeffrey Lewis, Jeff Rosenstock and Eef Barzelay.

Chris Otepka - The former lead singer of a criminally underheralded band called Troubled Hubble, Otepka performs solo and unplugged as The Heligoats — a strange name for a guy strumming a guitar, but oddly befitting someone who stuffs his songs with so many sideways ideas and observations. Given the yarns he spins, it's easy to imagine Otepka envisioning a herd of goats with propellers and setting the concept to music.

It should be noted, as balloons and streamers figuratively flood the room, that Otepka is the star of NPR Music's 100th Tiny Desk Concert. In many ways, he's the perfect act to mark that milestone: His music is best heard in an intimate setting, where his words can unfurl clearly and he can hold a small room rapt with songs and stories that reward the attention and bear repeating. - Stephen Thompson, NPR