The underground railroad that crisscrosses the United States, connecting the apartments and rehearsal spaces and basement studios of indie musicians who seem to make a living out of thin air, has created its own social dynamic. It seems naive to talk about “scenes” in terms of single cities, like Austin or Chapel Hill (the current fave rave is Omaha), because the scenes are as fluid and overlapping as the music.

Singer-songwriter Tara Jane O’Neil emerged from the close-knit, lo-fi avant-garde of the Louisville, Ky., underground, whose most famous product, the “ugly rock” band Slint, contributed a lot of ideas (as well as a few members) to the Chicago post-rock movement led by Tortoise and Gastr Del Sol. In the early ’90s, O’Neil played bass in Rodan, a highly regarded Slint acolyte unit which itself splintered into various projects, each with its own sonic agenda. O’Neil’s personal vector led to New York, where she teamed with like-minded miniaturists in a number of marginal groups.

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