After a time kicking around with a couple of other musicians, Carl Cadwell has reined in the idea of Summer Dregs in order for it to become a moniker to express his solo rhythmic adventures. He’s also using it as a vehicle for handling production duties for both local musicians as well as those residing outside of Chattanooga. Working through a wealth of influences (electro-pop, indie rock, dance and a handful of others), he crafts an ecstatic and vivid aesthetic that refuses to be classified and revels in its groove-filled, melodic movements.
But his music doesn’t really bother with specific genres so much as it aggregates them—his songs feel larger than any of their individual parts, compiled from a collection of influences that feel coherent without losing their independent histories. Whether he’s making you dance, rock out or peer inward on some introspective tangent, Cadwell has the ability to layer his work with an endless depth of emotion and experience, the kind of broad-ranging perspective that imbues his music with a spontaneous rhythmic tenderness.
On his latest single, “Inside Out,” he’s paired with current Manhattan resident and musician Michael Johnson, who records under the alias of BROCRISP, for a song that wields wobbly synths, a fast-paced beat and glistening guitar lines with an unusual comfort. There’s something playful and light about the track; it introduces a danceable jolt of electricity to your nervous system. And that’s a thing which too few artists manage to execute properly or even attempt.
If you’re not up and moving by the time the song ends, then there might be something wrong with you. Trading in bright melodies and wonderfully catchy rhythms, “Inside Out” wastes no time in opening up to its audience. There’s nothing to hide here. Cadwell and Johnson play this as open as they can, inviting all to gather around join in both their lyrical insight and the buoyant sounds of the music. There’s a lot to explore here, and beyond the radiance of the song’s iridescent glow, you can spend hours digging into its elastic imagination.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.