Just about 20 minutes into Lætitia Tamko’s compact debut as Vagabon, Infinite Worlds, she sings a line so cutting that, upon first hearing it, I had to remove my headphones and take stock of my surroundings. “What about them scares you so much?/My standing there threatens your standing, too,” Tamko sings on “Cleaning House,” broadcasting a simple but eminently resonant message that defines why these eight songs feel so important, especially now. It should be no secret that Tamko’s thought runs through the minds of all those made marginal by prejudicial thinking—and actual executive action. It could be your skin color, the way you dress, who you worship or love, but nonetheless that question flashes through the minds of those made to feel less. A simple, evocative guitar plucking in the background guides this sentiment with precision into the ear of a listener, and down into their gut.
Yet, Tamko’s inimitable take on DIY indie rock is never downtrodden. It’s victorious—even when her feats feel pyrrhic. Her soaring, winsome, and mutable tenor is unlike any of her peers in the New York scene. She also shreds. More importantly, Tamko’s first proper album is a stunning document of what indie rock can look like from a viewpoint that isn’t necessarily widespread in the genre. *Infinite Worlds *is an album interested in grappling with seemingly intractable and very personal questions about sharing space, finding a home, and fostering community in a world that can be caustic to those very actions.
Some of the songs that appear on Infinite Worlds started as rougher drafts on 2014 EP Persian Garden. Listening to the…