Streetlamps for Spotlights :: Sound and Color

Alt_Web_IconThe first thing you notice as you listen to Streetlamps for Spotlights full-length debut Sound and Color is how much these guys love texture. Sometimes it’s subtle, but these textural layers are always present in the songs. Whether it’s in Jason Davis’ guitar work with jagged punches of riffs and noise, or in Jay Hackbush’s solid bass lines keeping things afloat, or Ryan Holquist’s pounding drums going from solid rhythms to full on post-punk explosions -sometimes in the same song- the textures are there. As well as being the 6-string guru of SfS Davis sings over these aural explosions, sometimes like a man on a mission and sometimes like a man looking hopelessly for answers. Always though, with a purpose. Sound and Color is part post-punk manifesto and part grizzled, razor wire pop record. Several singles over the last few years have built up to this statement of musical authority. Streetlamps for Spotlights are ready for their close-up.

This debut makes it perfectly clear that Davis, Hackbush, and Holquist are a force to be reckoned with. “Ready Already” opens the album like an explosion of pissed-off conviction. You can almost see the spittle flying in the air as Davis sings “Are you ready already?!” Musically this is a barbed-wire slash of a song, with noise that would make Sonic Youth(RIP) jealous and salivate. But then gears shift in the great “Right Back”, which turns the previous angst in the album opener into an alternative pop gem. The previously mentioned textures? Yeah, they’re all over this one. “Someday” sounds like Green Mind-era Dino Jr, especially in Davis’ guitar work. Hackbush and Holquist give SfS that very unique, almost metal-like backbone allowing Davis to keep things loose and spacey in the mid-section. “Call it Off” is just a scorcher, with some speaker-melting guitar and Holquist completely abusing the drums.

The truly unique thing about these guys is that they keep the mood just slightly off kilter. Just when you think a song is gonna do one thing it does something else. There’s always this underlying dissonance in the music that keeps it becoming, well, “average” I guess. There’s some amazing interplay between these three players and the songs benefit greatly from Davis’ eschewed view of the universe. Take a track like “Walking”. It’s this at times eerie-sounding track with Davis having a conversation with someone about if he were to just walk away and not come back would they even care, as the song fades with a guitar ringing into space. It’s a great balance between artistic reach and melodic presence in a song. It satisfies all the senses. You don’t get fluff from these guys. Then they follow it up with a bombastic track like “Don’t Worry” which just straight up rocks. And “Damaged”? It wouldn’t have sounded out of place on an early Cheap Trick record. I can only imagine between the three of these guys their influences are quite expansive. They take them all and mesh them quite well, but are subtle enough with them that you can never quite put your finger on who a particular song sounds like. It just sounds like Streetlamps for Spotlights. “Lies” and the wonderful “New Year’s Ball” won’t be mistook for anything but SfS songs. Title track and album closer “Sound and Color” leave us with these words, “Will we still be doing this when we are 60/Same thing we’ve been doing since we were 16.” It’s a sentiment that could be taken more than one way.

Sound and Color is an album that at it’s core is about the hurt of loss; the hurt of losing someone. But around that core is a noisy, jangly, jagged rock n’ roll album that is one of the best to ever come out of Fort Wayne. The trio of Davis, Hackbush, and Holquist swirl noise like Pollock dripped paint. It can be messy and sometimes abstract, but always quite wonderful.

9.2 out of 10

 

“It’s too bad she won’t live, but then again, who does?”

DSC04598Yes. I love Blade Runner. In fact, it’s one of my favorite films ever. Ever. The futuristic, post-apocalyptic Los Angeles with the flames blazing into the grey air, the always rainy streets, and Darryl Hannah dressed as a baby doll. Philip K. Dick’s short story about what defines a being as real and not, to me, hits me deeper than most stories about the subject. Guy like Dick, Bradbury, Matheson, and especially Kurt Vonnegut took the human condition and put it under a very humane microscope. Making us look at the ugly things we do and question why we do them. Blade Runner was a perfect example of that. We find a technology to create artificial intelligence, so what do we do? We make human-looking slave labor, what else? Rick Deckard is the good soldier that does what he’s told. But by the end questions these actions and even realizes it doesn’t matter if the life is real or artifical, they are lives. At least that’s what I’m going with.

Dick’s short story, ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ was a more condensed idea while the film expounds on these theories. Besides the incredible special effects of Douglas Trumbull, the music by Vangelis grabbed me as a kid and made the relationship between Deckard and Rachael all the more intensified. Vangelis’ sweeping synths and breathy saxophone gave you the feeling of some futuristic Mickey Spillane story. The music is a character itself. It stayed with me long after I’d forgotten certain moments of the film. I knew I had to own this soundtrack at some point. I can remember being a kid and recording Blade Runner off of TV late one night, then a week later recording Brainstorm, a film directed by none other than Douglas Trumbull. It was a week of incredible sci fi that stayed with me up to now.

I grabbed this soundtrack last summer and sadly haven’t listened to it since I first got it. Happy to say I’m glad I got it as it’s making the evening one of reminiscing and great memories. It also reminds me of one of Harrison Ford’s best film performances…besides Force 10 From Navarone. He was in some other sci-fi movies. A series I think. Oh well, they must not have been very big.

Btw, “Memories of Green” on side two still makes me tear up like a little punk.

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Weird Scenes Inside The Hall of Superheroes or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Spring Break

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Is everybody in? Is everybody in?
Is everybody in?
The ceremony is about to begin

Grown men in tights.

That kind of thing would normally make me uncomfortable. Possibly squirm in my seat, even. I’m not much for the ballet and overzealous cod pieces. Remember that guy on Captain Kangaroo? The skin suit guy that showed his internal organs? He may have sang a song about the wonders of the colon or kidney health, I can’t remember. Anyways, the five-year old me was extremely nervous whenever he appeared. But when we’re talking about superheroes, well that’s different. Superheroes needed the least amount of restraint they could get. They were flying, running, jumping, kicking, punching, and battling to save people like you and me. To save mankind. Tights were a necessity. Tights were part of the uniform. Batman, Superman, Spiderman, The Flash, and even the X-Men wore tights. And I was okay with that. So a couple weeks ago when my dad called me at work to ask me if I knew about the Hall of Superheroes I was intrigued. Apparently my parents were watching a show called ‘Toy Hunter’ where this guy goes around buying rare, vintage, and hard-to-find toys. Some for himself, and some for others I guess. Anyways this particular episode the toy hunting guy goes to the Hall of Superheroes in Elkhart, In. Elkhart. This once thriving industrialized town now just a gritty shell of a town that it once was that sat a mere hour north from my home. My dad said “I think Owen would really like it.”

My son Owen is a huge super hero fan. He loves comics, cartoons, DC, Marvel, movies…anything to do with  superheroes he’s aDSC04553 fan. It started out a couple years ago that he’d buy comics and it seemed to me he was just looking at the pictures, not actually reading the storylines. He filled in the blanks with the classics; the early 90s X-Men cartoons, Iron Man cartoons, Batman: The Animated Series, and the Spiderman and Hulk cartoons from the early 90s as well. I even got him into Spiderman and His Amazing Friends, featuring Iceman(one of my favorites as a kid) and the extremely curvy Firestar(hubba hubba.) But at some point -I’m not sure when- I realized my son wasn’t just looking at the pictures in those comics and graphic novels. He was reading the stories. He was bringing up characters I’d never heard of. He could tell me who everyone was in those books and cartoons. He’d ask me if he could get on the computer and watch videos on Youtube. I’d ask him what he was going to watch and he’d say super hero videos. Well what he was watching were these fan-made videos that were essentially pictures of superheroes with some nu metal band playing in the background. It was disturbing, yet he was just more interested in seeing the pics of folks from the DC/Marvel universes. It has gotten to the point to where I go to the 9 year old if I have any questions regarding superhero history.

So back to the phone call from my dad. This was good news for me, as Spring Break was only a couple weeks away and as usual nothing was planned other than staying up late and watching movies that would surely cause nightmares. This gave me something to take work off for and somewhere to take the kids. They couldn’t say we didn’t do anything on spring break, dammit. Lucky for me my daughters like the superhero stuff enough that they were looking forward to going as well. Win-win.

DSC04552Last Friday we left our house at 11am and began our trek north. Directions were put into the GPS and all seemed well. I knew the general area as I have family that live around Elkhart; plus I’ve been to Elkhart plenty of times in the past. The Hall of Superheroes was located on a county road, so it wasn’t quite “in” town. This is good, as there’s some shady spots in this once thriving town that had jobs a-plenty thanks to the RV-industry. Sadly, that industry crashed and burnt in 2008-2009. Nearly all the RV and trailer factories shut their doors, which led to Elkhart having the highest unemployment rate in the country. Not sure where they stand nowadays, but it’s still a pretty desolate town. The suburban location of our own local Hall of Justice was a welcomed surprise. After the GPS took us on a jaunt through Amish country we finally arrived at our destination. The Hall of Superheroes.

The museum is located on a wooded lot in the back of a very nice brick house. An in-ground pool sits to the left of the museum,DSC04532 which looks like a pull-barn that was converted to look like the home of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the The Wonder Twins. You walk inside and the place is nice and cool(I’m sure it’s climate controlled due to all the collectibles, including comics.) There’s a teenage boy playing video games at the front desk and he takes our money. $20 for four of us($6 for adults and $4 for kids 10 and under), which I didn’t think was bad. It quickly occured to me what this place really was: it was a guy’s private collection that he turned into a museum in order to make money and add to that collection. The kid that took our money and that was playing video games was the son I imagine. Not a bad gig, really. So, onto the goods. The bottom level had the two most collectible items in the place: Adam West’s original Batman costume and The Greatest American Hero costume wore by William Katt on the tv show. There was a blonde afro wig on the mannequin which donned the suit that could’ve been William Katt’s actual scalp. I’m not sure. On one of the walls was a collection of first edition comics; another was Batman central with tons of memorabilia including a creepy bust of Adam West. Burt Ward’s codpiece may have been there, I’m not sure. There was a “batpole” that went upstairs. My son guffawed at everything, even pointing out that some of the art hanging in the bathroom looked like some art he has in his room. I think he would’ve moved into the place had he been able to. My daughters were mildly interested, but most of the excitement was coming from my 9 year old son.

We headed upstairs and saw right away there was an X-Men arcade game, still working and ready for our quarters. All three kids jumped on that and played together while I looked around. Just an overwhelming amount of comics and toys were everywhere in this room. I can’t imagine what this guy’s house was like before they built this “museum”. And I’m sure he’s been collecting this stuff since he was a kid. His room had to have been a disaster area. Though, as well set up as this place was I imagine he was pretty particular with his toys and comics. Anyways, it was overwhelming to imagine cataloging all the stuff in this building.

DSC04544Pretty soon my daugthers were doing the “Are we done yet?” thing, and I have to admit I was pretty much ready to hit the road. My son seemed to be lost in some Marvel trance, muttering things like “I wish I could buy it” and “Is this for sale?” I knew we needed to get him out, and quickly. We headed back downstairs and my son says “My head hurts”, so I say it’s time to go. We head out to the car and with all the sun the car had heated up rather nicely. Heat doesn’t do much for my son’s headaches. When he gets headaches they affect everything. I tell him I’ll find a Walmart and get some Ibuprofen for him. Well, I hit the main highway and we’re stuck in traffic. Roadwork ahead and no sign of cars moving. He’s quickly feeling worse. The windows were down to air the car out, but due to all the trucks and traffic you could hardly breathe so I had to roll the windows up and turn on the air. Meanwhile, the fumes, heat, and starts and stops have got my son feeling worse. I realized I won’t find a Walmart and see a Walgreens ahead.  I pull in and my son asks if he can go in, too. I say sure, so we all head in. I ask him if he’s okay and he says yes. We find the aisle with the pain relievers and Owen puts his head down and puts his hands on his knees. I ask him what’s wrong and he says his stomach doesn’t feel good. We quickly start looking for the bathroom. We make it to the restroom and just as he walks into the stall his stomach pushes forth a spray of vomit like no other. Had this been at home he would’ve thrown up all over the floor, his bed, the couch, or some other easily ruined piece of furniture. But this time he made it right into the toilet, and Praise Jebus for that. After 45 seconds of heaving he said he was done. His eyes bloodshot and watery, he washed his hands and we went out to find his sisters. Ibuprofen, water, and chips were purchased and we hit the road. By the time we were halfway home the headache subsided, his stomach was fine, and like Wolverine he’d self-healed himself.

The day didn’t end up quite like I’d hoped. I’d planned on a nice lunch, maybe peruse a record store, and then casually make our way home. Instead we threw up in a Walgreens and ate chips in my car from Elkhart back to our humble abode located in the woods. Despite the whole vomit thing, we had a good time at the Hall of Superheroes, laughed at funny action figures, and even saw super hero toilet paper. What more could you ask for?

Maybe a superhero barf bag.

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The Vickers :: Ghosts

vickersLast year I became aware of this Italian psych-pop band called The Vickers. They had a Bandcamp page that sported two very excellent tunes. “She’s Lost” and “I Don’t Know What It Is” sounded like tracks pulled from a time capsule that had been buried under the fertile soils of Florence, Italy for the past 45 years. Filled with both psychedelic flourishes and pop hooks that planted themselves firmly in your brain and wouldn’t leave for days, these songs were teases of what would eventually be a full-length record. The tease is over, and The Vickers have arrived with the aforementioned full-length titled Ghosts. It’s a great debut that delivers on the promise of those first two tracks.

The Vickers’ sound is firmly planted between the years 1965 to 1967. If there’s a blueprint to their brand of rock n’ roll it would be The Beatles’ Revolver. Lead singer and guitarist Andrea Mastropietro sounds very much like John Lennon, with hints of Kevin Parker thrown in for good measure. He’s not aping Lennon, he just naturally sounds like him. “Senseless Life” opens like an acoustic version of “A Day In The Life” before becoming something completely its own. The Vickers are a tight rock n’ roll band. They show that throughout Ghosts. Where most psych bands tend to go for that weathered, wavering tape wobble in the sonic department these Italian rockers tend to go for a very clean, classical approach to sound. Drums are crisp, clean, and almost jazzy in delivery. Vocals are clear but somewhere down in a reverb-drenched hole, while bass and guitars swirl in a technicolor kaleidoscope of sound. The Vickers take pride in how they present their songs and it comes through. “Hear Me Now” sounds like Cheap Trick-meets-Smithereens with a splash of Wilco in that great guitar tone(if you’re familiar with “Spiders(Kidsmoke)” you’ll recognize that effect instantly.) Spacey and trippy this track begs you to get lost for it’s four minutes. “Inside A Dream” starts out quiet and builds into a psychedelic froth, complete with a great drum freakout at the end. You never get the feeling of being put on by these guys. So many bands put the psych name tag on because they feel that’s going to get fans and sell records. The Vickers take elements of psych and pop and classic rock n’ roll, mix ‘em up in a tasty gelato with a flavor all their own. “Walking On A Rope” reminds you of some of those classic Townsend acoustic numbers that blow up into some great noise. And I think there’s harpsichord in there as well. Gotta love some harpsichord. The album closes with the title track that takes us out on a crisp, jazzy ride cymbal and Andrea’s melancholy vocals before they get swallowed by a massive wall of reverb.

The Vickers’ Ghosts is a great album to get lost in on a breezy afternoon or a starlit evening. Grab a copy at http://thevickers.bandcamp.com/.

7. 3 out of 10

 

Record Store Day 2014

rsdI’ve been away from the writing desk for a few days. It seems spring break brings with it the urge to do things in the yard. Many things were cleaned, raked, burnt, washed, etc, over the last few days. I have many stories to tell regarding my adventures over Spring Break 2014. However, those stories will have to wait. Right now I want to talk about this thing called Record Store Day 2014.

Record Store Day has been a pretty big thing for me over the last few years. I started going to RSD events back in 2010. I was still just grabbing certain albums on vinyl at that point. CDs were still being purchased and vinyl was for the absolute favorites on my list. That year I did snag The Flaming Lips’ ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ album and a copy of Elvis Costello and the Attractions ‘Armed Forces’, as well as a signed copy of Matthew Sweet’s ‘Blue Sky On Mars’, but overall it was just me getting my feet wet. I can’t really recall 2011. Not sure if I even went that year. 2012 was a 7in split of Of Montreal and Deerhoof, Wooden Shjips’ ‘Vol.2′, and ‘Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends’. That one was fun because I thought I missed out on it, but the last stop out of town yielded a copy sitting by its lonesome. Success! Last year was the best year so far, with The Cure’s ‘Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me’ reissue, Built to Spill’s ‘Live’, and Tame Impala’s EP as absolute highlights. I also snagged Whirr’s ‘Pipe Dreams’ on orange translucent vinyl. Best year yet. So what does this year look like? Not as fantastic as past years, but still some gems nonetheless.

For me, the live Tame Impala record is a must. I love that band to no end and to have a live recording with new and interesting takes on some of my favorite songs by them, well I need to have that. Of Montreal is putting out a reissue of their classic ‘Satanic Panic In The Attic’. It was the album that heralded a new sound and phase for this band. Kevin Barnes locked himself in his recording studio and let his freak flag fly all by his lonesome. Who can not want to shake their booty to “Disconnect The Dots”? Who I say!!??? Of Montreal also has a new song on a 7in that I’ll be happy to own. Medicine has a Part Time Punks session coming out on vinyl that I’m willing to throw fisticuffs over. The Flaming Lips have a couple things coming out. They’re doing a Devo cover I believe that will be on a 7in. There’s something else. I don’t remember. Death Waltz Recording Company is reissuing some classic horror soundtracks that would make any horror film fan happy. I’m one of those fans. Color me happy if I end up with ‘em. Built to Spill is reissuing ‘Ultimate Alternative Wavers’. Not really one I’m looking forward to. Now if it was ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Love’, that’s another story. Spoon is reissuing ‘Love Ways’, a favorite here at Jhubner73.com.

Oh, and a million other records I have no interest in.

With each passing year I get the feeling of angst and anxiety more than excitement for RSD. The powers that be make it harder and harder for folks that live nowhere important to get cool stuff on RSD…unless I want to drive an hour and wait in line at 6am. I don’t want to do that. Not at all. Don’t get me wrong, my local guy John Vance at Karma Records of Warsaw does what he can to bring in the coolness for RSD, but he’s at the mercy of his distributor who’s at the mercy of the great RSD God Vinylia, hater of small towns. I get it. You feed the market that’s going to buy the most. But where I live, our town is right off a major highway that connects two major towns. We’re close enough to both to justify feeding in a few more copies of this or that. That’s part of the fun of RSD. The hunt. I’ll try and get the major stuff in the morning here in town. In the afternoon the whole family will head to Fort Wayne to check out some live bands and my wife will enjoy RSD for the first time. She’s worked every Saturday the last few years, so now’s her chance to see what the big deal is. I’ll see if I can grab some scraps from Neat Neat Neat Records and Wooden Nickel Music. I’m sure by then they’ll all be picked over, but maybe I can get that rainbow-colored Wilson Pickett 7in, or that Falco remix cassette. It’ll be fun just catching some live bands and seeing people enjoy music.

That’s what this day is really about. Celebrating music, the way it was intended. No music files, no MP3s, no gigabytes. Vinyl spinning on the turntable, a singer spitting into a microphone, and amps buzzing. That’s how it was intended to be enjoyed, folks.

But yeah Vinylia if you’re listening, Warsaw, IN needs more RSD exclusives. Thanks, and have a good day.

 

Editor’s Note: After posting this I had an enlightening conversation with someone I quite respect and who knows a thing or two regarding record stores, and in particular ordering for RSD. It seems there isn’t a RSD God that looks down from Mount Music Hall bestowing records on some and none for others. The key in getting a good selection for RSD is in how your order and how many distributors you order from. According to my source, “The good folks at RSD don’t actually sell the records. At All. They have NO say on allocation. If(insert record store owner name here)were to spread his money around and order heavy from certain places, he would have those titles. It doesn’t really matter where you are.” So there’s not a conspiracy against me and my local record store. Damn, and I love me a good conspiracy. He also went on to say this which I quite love, “That being said, he also has to be smart about it. Does it make sense to place a $1k order with Think Indie because(this guy or that gal)wants a Medicine record? Probably not. He has to cater to his clientele and buy what he thinks he can sell THAT DAY. No one likes leftover sushi, and no one likes leftover RSD titles. Also, these are ONE WAY pieces, which means that once we buy them, they are ours. It’s rolling the dice big time.” 

I hate leftover sushi. But I love being educated on situations that I don’t quite know enough about. Thank you, sir. Carry on, everyone.

chuck d

Spring Break

spring breakWe’ve arrived at that time of the year where many Midwesterners flock to Florida and pretend they’re not Midwesterners. College kids drinking dangerously close to mental annihilation and exhibiting behavior that would’ve made Nero blush. But here in Jhubner73 headquarters we don’t do that kind of nonsense. What’s spring break mean for us? Not a damn thing. Kids sleep in, eat more sugars than normal, stay up late watching R-Rated flicks and The Clone Wars on Netflix, and contemplate bathing sometime in those seven days off. Plus, there’s sleepovers, play dates, trips to the video store, comic book store, and grocery store for the essentials: milk, bread, eggs, butter, brownie mix, and ice cream. This is what Spring Break is for us.

It was like this for me as a kid, too. My family never ventured to the Sunshine State and pretended to be like the Joneses with their Tropicana sun lotion, swimming trunks, sunburnt backs, and sand in the crotch. I don’t think less of those that did that, my family just didn’t need to get the hell out of dodge in order to enjoy Spring Break. Spring Break to me meant having my cousin(s) come over and stay the week. We’d head to my grandma and grandpa’s house on the lake and gorge ourselves on Nestle confections(my grandpa was a salesman for Nestle and had a closet full of Nestle candy in their basement.) I can remember one Spring Break in particular -1988 I believe- where my cousin Josh ate so many Goobers he woke up in the middle of the night and threw up till morning. He blamed watching The Evil Dead for his vomiting, but I think Goobers played a pretty big part in it as well. Despite projectile vomiting, we had fun on those spring breaks. Frozen pizzas, candy, Mountain Dew, long bike rides, treks through the woods, and lots and lots of movie rentals. It was a blast. As we got older it was video games, playing guitar in my basement, and listening to piles of music.

This is actually the first year where I am taking some time off during spring break. I will be off Thursday and Friday of this week. I’ll be doing yardwork, working on a new vinyl cabinet, working on new music, and of course listening to music. The kids have spent time at their grandma and grandpa’s house, with my son snagging a Star Wars lego set and my daughter getting a zebra pillow pet/zebra blanket to go with her zebra-themed bedroom. My oldest had her friend stay two nights and she’s now over at said friend’s house eating them out of house and home instead of us(there’s nothing left to eat at our place.) Thursday night we’re going to go see Captain America : The Winter Soldier, and Friday afternoon we’re visiting the Hall of Superheroes which is just an hour north of us. Probably grab some lunch as well.

This is our spring break. We stay in the Midwest. We keep it real. And we’ll keep our farmer tans, thank you very much.

audrey

Streetlamps for Spotlights :: A Conversation With Jason Davis

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by EA Poorman

 

Jason Davis has had a hand at helping to make some of the best local record releases Fort Wayne has seen(and heard.) Over the past few years Davis has been the owner/operator of Off The Cuff Sound, an all-analog recording studio located in the Fort. He’s recorded albums by Sacred Broncos, House of Bread, TIMBER!!!(he was the drummer for them as well), Dwane Ferren, and Heaven’s Gateway Drugs to name just a few. So sometimes it’s easy to forget because of his prolific work with other bands that the main reason he opened a recording studio was to record his own music.

For the past several years Jason Davis has put out several 7″ singles with his band Streetlamps for Spotlights. “Vultures”, “Wake Up”, “After The Bullfight” are a few SfS have put out, but never any full-length albums, until now. On April 19th, or as the vinyl community call it Record Store Day, Streetlamps for Spotlights will be releasing Sound and Color for the world to hear and having an album release show at CS3 with out-of-town guests The D-Rays and Weird Science.

EAP: It’s great to finally be talking to you about this record. How does it feel to be releasing the first Streetlamps for Spotlights long player?

Jason Davis: My plan was for Streetlamps to only release 45 singles, so our history when it was all said and done could be compiled into a box set of 45s.   With 6 singles in our past, it was time for a full length.  It sort of aborts the plan but I think we may reach more people this way, as everyone seems to be finding the beauty of not only the fidelity but of the aesthetic tangibility of vinyl records again over the last few years.  I still think it takes a special kind of junkie to flip the 45 bin in a record store.  Although it may be where the most interesting gems are.  The reason to release music on vinyl is that there are these places call record stores where music ends up and collects, new and used, where it waits to found again by someone in the search for something new, 5, 10, 20, even 50 years later.

EAP: With as much work as you do with other bands at Off The Cuff, was it difficult to fit time in to record SfS full-length?

Jason Davis:  I love making records.   I am very lucky to have worked with all the people I have worked with.  Making my ownAlt_Web_Icon records is how I got into to all this in the first place.   Tracking sessions are always fun.  Mixing sessions are always exciting.   We divided this record into 4 sets of tracking sessions with three songs per session.   There were a few reasons for this.   One of which was so that I didn’t have a 12 song laundry list of things to finish.   That can weigh pretty heavy on someone.   It becomes all encompassing when you know there are all these things that aren’t done yet.  Just ask any musician.   We would work the three songs to completion.  The drums, bass , and guitars would be done in a 2 day weekend session with vocals and overdubs being completed in smaller sessions over the next few weeks when the studio was free.   While this was going on we would be rehearsing the next three songs so they were ready to be cut when the previous three were done.   When all four sessions and all twelve songs were complete Ryan and I mixed the songs to ¼” tape in a number of days off and on.  We just left the studio setup for our mix and worked when schedules allowed.  The final mixes were sent to The Boiler Room in Chicago where Collin Jordan mastered them from the 1/4” tape.   The masters were then sent to Musicol Vinyl Pressing in Columbus where John Hull cut our lacquers.  This place has been making records since the 50’s.  They made James Brown records back in the day.  It is a small family owned shop.

EAP: Let’s talk about the album. It’s called Sound and Color. For those unaware, you released a solo album in 2012 called Flatline Movements which you played most of the parts on yourself. Streetlamps for Spotlights isn’t that kind of situation. It’s very much a band, right?

Jason Davis: Streetlamps is very much a band with Jay Hackbush on bass and Ryan Holquist on Drums.  These guys are seasoned, tasteful players.  The beautiful part of being in a band is what each member brings to the collective table no matter where the song originates…or at least it should be.

We tracked this record together in the studio to 24 tracks of 2 inch tape.   So performances were key.   Human noise!   We rehearse a lot and make demo recordings of those so we can listen to what we like and dislike.   Sometimes what you think sounds good when your playing doesn’t sounds as good as you think it did.

EAP: Were you manning the board during these sessions as well?

 

Jason Davis: I love the recording process so working both sides of the glass doesn’t bother me.  We are very lucky to have a handful of people that are willing to come in for a session and run buttons.   Tape OPs!   Everyone who has done this duty has actually made records at the studio so it is not a foreign process to them.   What do they do or do not realize is that they become a de facto sounding board.   Many times things will happen in the recording process that are spontaneous and unplanned and because of the tape medium you have to decided if it works and whether to keep it or not.   I really appreciate having these people work through that process with us and would like to name these trusted associates:  Ben Larson, Dwane Ferren, C. Ray Harvey, James Rude, Josh Estock, Atticus Sorrell.  Thank You!

EAP: Can you talk a little about your songwriting process? 

Jason Davis: Songs are strange creations.  How and why someone writes them is terribly mysterious.  A one liner lyric, a catchy riff…sometimes it is an instant creation, sometimes these things just hang around until they find a natural place, sometimes they are forgotten (so were they that great in the first place?), sometimes they are found again written down somewhere, spark something new, and live again.    Those are the best!

When we decided to make this record we did some preproduction live to two track versions of all the songs.  We choose 12 that worked well together.   We took the rest and started a new list for the next record.   While making this record we’ve been simultaneously writing, arranging, and rehearsing songs for the next record.   We plan to start making the next record as soon we finish releasing this record.

EAP: The release date for Sound and Color is April 19th. For those not in the know this happens to be Christmas Day for vinyl lovers, aka Record Store Day. Was this in the works for some time, or just a happy accident?

Jason Davis: It just happened to line-up time wise.   When you make a vinyl record you need to plan four months out.   We sent the master to press right around New Years.  So it seemed appropriate to link it up with RSD day.   It’s become such a celebration of the medium that we are glad to a part of it locally.   For the turntable disabled we also pressed Compact Discs and it will be available on itunes and other online distributors.

EAP: So after folks head to Neat Neat Neat Records the morning of April 19th and grab their copy of Sound and Color, they can head to CS3 that night and hear the album live at your album release show. You’re bringing in Athens, OH bands The D-Rays and Weird Science as well. Sounds like a great time.

Jason Davis: We are very excited to have our friends The D-Rays in town to play this show.   We play Athens quite a bit.  Not just super great people, Erick, Missy, and Maceo are an amazing live show.  http://draysathens.wordpress.com/ They are also Off the Cuff family as they have made both their first 45 and then their full length at the studio.   Weird Science just happened to be touring the Midwest and are very excited to see them play Fort Wayne for the first time.   We have just recently added Exterminate All Rational Thought to the bill.  They have a new record coming out on April 19th as well.   Being they have made records at Off the Cuff as well, we felt it was a fitting and fine addition to the show.  

EAP: You do plenty to bring in great bands to Fort Wayne. The Hussy, D-Rays, Weird Science just to name a few. Do you think clubs and promoters are doing their part to bring in talent to the Fort?

Jason Davis: I think Fort Wayne is doing a great job keeping things moving forward and fresh.  We get an amazing amount of diverse music coming through this place if you choose to be a part and experience it.  This augmented with what we having going on locally!    There are just some great bands here.   Every town has them, and we have them too!   Music is one of those things that is hard to find until know about it.  So tell someone, tell three people.

EAP: Is there some touring planned?

Jason Davis:  We do have some touring planned.   Chicago and Madison, Ohio, Kentucky, Nashville, Asheville are all in the works.  We submitted ourselves to a few festivals as well.   We are all working guys with pretty great day jobs…so frequent weekend jaunts will have to do for now.

EAP: So what’s next? Do you have any albums on the back burner? 

Jason Davis: We are actually planning on following up this record pretty quickly with another as we have been doing double duty, recording one record while writing the next.   Sounds a bit crazy but it has been working well.   It has allowed us to have something to look forward to and work on as we finalized this record.

Mark your calendars, folks. Aprl 19th is Record Store Day and it’s also Streetlamps for Spotlights release day. Sound and Color is hitting your earholes. Be prepared for some music goodness. And even if you don’t dig the vinyl, you can head out to CS3 that evening for what will be one hell of an album release show. Streetlamps for Spotlights, The D-Rays, and Weird Science will rock your socks off. Check these sites out. http://streetlampsforspotlights.bandcamp.com/, http://draysathens.wordpress.com/, and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Weird-Science/165317181158