The handful of regular Thought on Tracks readers should be able to detect a pattern in the type of music I promote in this space. I have a weakness for female vocalists, fuzzy garage bands, experimentation and Afrobeat influences – particularly in jazz. Louisville’s Sandpaper Dolls has several of my guilty pleasures rolled into a single package.
The experimental, female A Capella trio recently dropped their debut single “Swallow Them Whole.” Singers Suki Anderson, Amber Estes and Rebecca Dennison weave impeccable vocal lines, looped for added depth and layering. The result is an arrangement similar to fellow female trio Mountain Man with the poly-rhythmic styling of tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus. “Swallow Them Whole” is the first taste of Sandpaper Dolls’ self-titled debut, due out via Karate Body Records on November 6. The album will be available for pre-order on September 25.
Written by Rob Peoni
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“The Other Side of the Gun” starts out with the kind of slow roll that you could envision playing alongside the opening credits of a gritty cop flick. The detective’s battered muscle car wheels around the types of corners working class folks avoid after dark, while the movie’s protagonist tosses off knowing glares and cigarette butts. Heavy, serious sounds from Seluah, a Louisville band cutting its first album in 10 years.
Red Parole is due out on April 10th via Karate Body Records. “The Other Side of the Gun” was released last week as the album’s first single. At nearly seven minutes, it’s a bold introduction. The guitar line, though simple, resonates immediately. Seluah creates a dense, driving atmosphere before drummer and vocalist Edward Grimes takes his crew into a jammier, synth heavy bridge. This is not light, easy listening, but it is certainly satisfying.
Seluah formed in 2000 and were immediately regarded as one of Louisville’s best bands by the local press. Their self-titled EP was hailed by LEO Weekly as “One of the best records to ever come out of Louisville.” An astonishing statement considering My Morning Jacket had dropped The Tennessee Fire in 1999 and were well on their way to regional and national acclaim with 2001’s At Dawn. Seluah resurfaced in 2011 after a six-year hiatus that saw its members earning their keep amongst a variety of national touring acts. The local buzz was back in full force after they opened for TV On the Radio last summer. Keep your eyes pealed for Red Parole later this spring.
Written by Rob Peoni
Some intriguing sounds are floating their way up I-65 these days. Louisville band Nerves Junior’s release As Bright As Your Night Life made a significant splash across the indie blogosphere last year, despite their lack of mainstream coverage as recently noted by hometown champion The Decibel Tolls. The latest band from south of the border to catch my attention is Whistle Peak. Their sophomore release, Half Asleep Upon Echo Falls, from Karate Body Records is due to drop on Valentine’s day. The album’s first single “Wings Won’t Behave” has a bounce in its step that makes me nostalgic for Motown, with vocals that maintain the uncanny ability to feel at once melancholy and deceptively cheerful. The lyrics of lead singer Billy Petot have a tendancy to wash over the listener like a brief summer rain on a lake – before you can adjust the drops have passed and the sun has returned. Listen below:
Whistle Peak is yet another Midwestern group that deserves a larger regional following. Last summer the band dropped a video for the song “Gold Teeth” from their debut self-titled LP. The video footage appears as if it could be from some pre-cursor to the Planet of the Apes, where primates have overran a rural, early American outpost. Like “Wings Won’t Behave,” this track exudes the same sleepy frivolity. From the video, we can discern that this is not a band that takes themselves too seriously. If there is a hidden artistic agenda in watching a monkey barber, then it is over my head. For those of you who prefer your sounds via vinyl, Whistle Peak will be issuing 250 copies of their new LP on wax. Act fast.
Written by Rob Peoni