Fat Possum freshman Gold Connections, a project by songwriter and Charlottesville native Will Marsh, released his self-titled EP today after slowly trickling out singles throughout the first quarter of 2017, sure to invade a public radio station near you.

Recorded in 2014 while studying at the College of William & Mary, Marsh’s tracks remain refreshingly relevant to the indie rock resurgence started by Marsh’s former classmate and brief bandmate Will Toledo, the rock wunderkind behind Car Seat Headrest. Although no longer a conjoined force, Toledo is very present on Marsh’s first Fat Possum release, having produced, engineered and mixed “Gold Connections,” while simultaneously contributing his musical chops, electric guitar, bass and drums to the finished product. You can immediately hear his contribution in the first ten seconds of the EP’s opening track “Faith in Anyone” with the first rip of guitar distortion.

Although there are heavy similarities between Marsh and Toledo, it is a disservice to weigh Marsh’s relevancy on Toledo’s contribution. Marsh combines brash guitar distortion with a lackadaisically rounded sound reflective of Real Estate’s trademark surf rock/dream pop vibe. Four of the five songs on the EP last over four minutes (the longest over six minutes), which are narratives for today’s music standards. But that’s how Marsh’s songs are sonically structured – a steady crescendo into climatic chaos complete with snarling, head-banging guitar solos. Marsh’s voice is subdued and mellow throughout, creating a stark contrast to the EP’s most urgent moments, but rest assured his voice delivers with thunderous gusto when it’s needed most.

However you compare and contrast the two, one thing’s for certain – Fat Possum’s indie rock prodigies are bringing the genre back to its crunchy core, as we all finally breathe a sigh of relief.

Dig what you’re hearing? Snag/stream “Gold Connections” on multiple platforms now.

– Lissa Phillips