Don’t let the band name fool you: This one’s for a rainy day. Reid Johnson, captain of the indefatigable local indie-rock band Schooner, also has a solo project called Sun Studies (the INDY spoke with him about it in January), in which he unleashes his distinctive croon among sparser arrangements.
Johnson is releasing Sketches online on May 3 and as a limited-edition, hand-made EP the next day, at the Bull City Records release party. The songs were recorded by James Phillips. We’re particularly entranced by “You, Reversed,” where spare, saturnine acoustic folk-rock bears along a striking vocal performance, heavily draped but surprisingly mobile. Johnson’s baritone has the stern majesty of Scott Walker, but it’s softened by the syrupy ache of Roy Orbison, and here, it’s clasped in a melody that you don’t realize is catchy until it’s stuck in your head.