The words to mention when describing Arc Light seem to be "lo-fi", "psychedelic" and "pop", but for me this is far too basic a reduction of the complex sounds coming from the project of Brooklyn's Ryan Gabel.
In fairness to the bloggers and Last FM taggers, these are some of the words Gabel himself uses to tag his releases on bandcamp page. As well as that, Arc Light, in Gabel's words with Ashtapes, make the sound of "too much inspirational music" and indeed it's immediately clear from listening to his music the juxtaposition of a wide range of influences. Hints of psychedelic and pop are evident (the king of the combo Bowie comes across at times, especially in "Mind Me Mr. Halloway"), and there is a lo-fi and DIY feel to the sounds where you can imagine Gabel sat in a dark bedroom conjuring these sounds, but other than that Gabel also seems to be a fan of post-punk, shoegaze and heavier industrial sounds - songs almost always featuring an electronic drumbeat, lots of synth experimentation, and plenty of whirring noise. Even in poppier moments like during the catchy beats and high-pitched harmonies of "The Interview" songs have a real dark and sinsister feel to them - like The Beach Boys, not everything beneath the surface of the songs might be as jolly as first seems apparent.
Obviously it's not practical to tag himself with a whole paragraph of adjectives when describing his own sound - such is the nature of the music industry we live in today - but even so, you get the sense that Gabel is selling himself a bit short, especially considering he is making some of the most interesting music I have heard in a good while.
Download lots of content for free from the bandcamp page - including Arc Light's s/t debut full-length - or purchase his most recent album Westinghousing here, find out a little more from MySpace, or stream and download some tracks below.
>Arc Light - Battery Children
Arc Light - SmokeRings
Arc Light - Reverb Mystic
Arc Light - Digi Wiki