Historian (record release party), Bell Gardens, Modern TIme Machines


“Shelf Life”, the debut album from Historian, aka Chris Karman, is an album many years in the making. Excited with the limitless possibilities of modern recording, Karman was determined to craft music that would envelop the listener in layers of interwoven beauty. Add to this his love for spacey sounds and quietly reflective nature and you have the basis for what is Historian; it’s music that is tailor made for the nocturnal headphone listening experience or the long night drive. What was originally a private outlet for his introverted ruminations in time developed into an uncompromising style he’s chosen to share with the outside world. For Karman, music is the freedom to put as much sound onto a track as feasible - or completely ignore verses and choruses; it’s experimentation to present any combination imaginable. At it’s core, Historian is about striking that balance between the creative, the contained and the chaotic - with beautiful music as a result.

“Hypnotically entwining – and at times completely disregarding – traditional song structures, Karman sits calmly on the edge between creative containment and cathartic release.”

-Beats Per Minute NY

“It’s all peculiarly dissonant, but even with warped melodies and fuzzy reverb, Historian’s music

still aims to do the most important thing — tell you a story”

-Buzz Bands LA

Bell Gardens

Bell Gardens began with just two friends (Kenneth James Gibson and Brian McBride) over many late nights talking and playing for each other the songs that have inspired them over the years. Songs such as the Beach Boy’s Cuddle Up, Jack Nitzsche’s We Have to Stay, and even a Bobby Vinton song or two, seemed to make sense of their lives at the time. Even when the duo first thought about making music together, Skeeter Davis’s End of the World was unanimously chosen as a piece that the duo would aspire to properly cover.

When Brian traveled to Europe in the Fall of 2007 to tour for Stars of the Lid’s And The Refinement of the Decline, Kenneth had sent him some demos of some tracks he had been working on. While Brian sat in the van awaiting his next performance, he starred out at the European countryside studying the Gibson’s tracks and other songs that he had loved for some time but wanted a better understanding of why. Occasionally before the beginning of a performance, Brian would turn to these recordings. Upon returning from tour, recording for the duo began.

Initial recordings found Kenneth and Brian trying to stay faithful to a time period in which songs had been recorded. Wanting to experiment in what they believed to be a classic type of sound, the two used mainly live instrumentation, thinking about what was available in studios from the 50s to the mid 70s. Pre-set software sounds were rejected for their own recording of pianos, strings and horns. Even the sounds of the strings were often recorded flat in an attempt to preserve both room sounds and the natural sound of the instrument. If you were to ask Kenneth and Brian about the process of recording, they would probably say that the music they’re making in Bell Gardens is more “experimental” for them than their previous work.

A search for Kenneth James Gibson in the Discogs.com database, will turn up eight or more different monikers, from the California dream noise rock project of the middle 90s, Furry Things to his current techno artisanry as [a]pendics.shuffle. Brian McBride is better known as one half of the nocturnal lullaby giants, Stars of the Lid.

The EP Hangups Need Company by Bell Gardens is loosely based on a sense of “pop” from another time. Although pop is what you could call it, there is still a sense of restraint and unhurried beauty here combined with a sense of heady beds of weirdness. The LA Weekly describes it like this: “It’s gorgeous, rapturous pop balladry with candy-coated Beach Boys falsettos and pre-afro-Phil Spector production. It’s weightless with gravitas. Gibson might be the techno flavor du jour, but this is the stuff that will mark his place. I found him.”

Modern Time Machines

Modern Time Machines’ haunting, bittersweet melodies recall elements of dream pop, new wave, and space rock, and their sound has been described as “a noisy, romantic hurricane for those who like their rock with intricate layers” (Buzzbands.LA). Boy/girl vocal harmonies feature heavily in the band’s feedback-laced love songs, which have drawn comparisons to shoegazers and noiseniks including M83, Medicine and Sonic Youth.

After playing their first show in December 2007, the band’s first single “Dweeb” began receiving strong radio support from Los Angeles’ KROQ 106.7FM. Continually refining their sound, the band garnered noteworthy praise for its shows, playing LA venues such as The Satellite and The Glass House alongside acts including Nightmare Air, The Cold & Lovely, and Letting Up Despite Great Faults, as well as touring Austin, TX for the 2011 SXSW music fest. Music from the band’s 2012 debut LP “Continuity Girl” has also been featured nationally on the Adult Swim TV network with a live performance on the cult hit The Eric Andre Show.

Modern Time Machines is Ben Golomb, Mike Raines, Ryan Connor, and Stacy McClarnon. The band’s forthcoming music video/digital single “Loveletters” will be released in July 2014, and a new EP is in the works for release later this year.


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Historian (record release party), Bell Gardens, Modern TIme Machines

Sunday, September 22 · Doors 8:30 PM / Show 9:00 PM at The Satellite