Electric City Presents
The Eastern Sea
Grandchildren, The Caves
Kansas City, MO, 64111
This event is 21 and over
Watch & Listen
The Eastern Sea
At times, it’s easy for The Eastern Sea to forget that Austin, Texas is home. While the band’s roots are firmly planted in the Texas Hill Country, their dynamic prose-pop travels from location to location, effortlessly moving between distant settings and their own, still somehow foreign, neighborhoods. Created in 2005 as the bedroom project of songwriter/vocalist Matthew Hines, The Eastern Sea quickly released a self-produced anthology Further Up, Further In, which showcased Hines’ folk and electronic roots. From ‘07-’09, the band added several new members and recorded what would eventually become The Eastern Sea, a self-released collection of two eponymous EPs. Songs such as “The Snow” and “The Name” attracted the band’s first national press and led to several festival appearances (SXSW, CMJ, FPH Summerfest) and a pair of national tours. Starting in 2010, The Eastern Sea began work on their first official LP, Plague, a project that marked a major shift in methods for band. Instead of piecing tracks together with home production, the vast majority of Plague would be recorded live to tape by Matt Smith (Ola Podrida, Golden Bear) at HOTTRACKS!!! in Austin. Ultimately, these principle recordings were a swan song for the long-running East Austin studio, as the complex that housed HOTTRACKS!!! was condemned by the city only a month into production. The Eastern Sea was then forced to finish Plague in between temporary studios and homes across Central Texas. Despite the numerous setbacks, the completed Plague (WhiteLabBlackLab), mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering (Bon Iver, Andrew Bird), represents The Eastern Sea’s most cohesive collection of songs to date. Musically, it combines the hypnotic rhythm of post-rock, the playful melodies of traditional American folk, and the dynamics of contemporary progressive indie-rock, a distinct evolution of the sound that appeared on The Eastern Sea’s self-titled release. While ornate percussion lies at the heart of Plague, the signature slow builds of poly-rhythm in songs such as “Wasn’t for Love” and “The Match” serve as a launch pad for melodic bass, shimmering keys, finger-picked electric guitar, and expressive trumpet. Lyrically, Hines’ boldly present vocals weave a revealing autobiographical narrative, developing themes of change, transition, and powerlessness over the course of twelve songs.
Grandchildren began in 2008 as the solo recording project of Aleks Martray, forging intricately layered arrangements with only an acoustic guitar, a mic and a loop pedal. Since then, it has evolved into a 6 piece pop-orchestra known for its high energy live performances featuring dueling drums, circuit bending electronics and an instrument swapping horn section. On stage, the tiny 5'3″ frontman remains stoic, at the eye of the storm, encircled by a whirlwind of animated instrumentalists, belting out melodies in a voice that defies his own stature. Martray attributes Grandchildren's eclectic sound to his nomadic upbringing in a military family across Europe and the US and his journeys throughout Latin America as a young adult:
"I think when you live and travel all over the world from such a young age your mind constructs a sort of map that is an amalgamation of all of these different worlds. I see the music as a soundtrack for this puzzle-like landscape that otherwise would exist only in my head."
As their 2010 debut album Everlasting aimed to piece together the feel of various places, their new record attempts to collage together various points in time.
Golden Age reads like a scrapbook in homage to that elusive era that serves as a reference point for how we'd like to remember "the way things used to be", how they "ought to be", but probably never really were. The recordings stem from this concept musically, pulling from a vast array of influences, and thematically, swirling around it from all angles with songs of hope and disillusionment, optimism and doubt, nostalgia and anticipation, caution and regret. The cinematically layered musical arrangements set the stage for unique vocal stylings that take on a range of characters in what Martray describes as something akin to method acting. "The lyrics are simple because it's all subtext to the music. They're more like the voice of a character and the music is the setting, and so the story unfolds between them." As these scenes play out, what unfolds is a narrative about how we project our fears, hopes, desires on everything and everyone around us, forcing our simplistic ideals on a complex world.
The Caves evolved from solo shows Ashby started performing in late 2004.
“My plan had always been to fill out the lineup with David on bass and Jake (Cardwell) on drums, and as our other bands began to sort of disintegrate, what began as a side project eventually became the main focus for the three of us.”
All three are alumni of other bands: Ashby with the String and Return; Cardwell with the Belles, and Gaume with Dirtnap. In 2009, Elizabeth Bohannon joined the band and the lineup that would record “Five Songs.”
- Timothy Finn, The Kansas City Star
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