The Features

The Features

Two weeks. That's how long The Features had to work up roughly a dozen new tunes before they traveled some 2500 miles from their native Tennessee to Vancouver, Washington to make their new album "The Features" (Serpents and Snakes/BMG). There, the Nashville-based band spent a month crafting the most inventive and assured album of their career.
But when the four members first set up shop in the cabin-esque confines of Ripcord Studio, what they'd come out of there with was anybody's guess."A lot of it seemed pretty spontaneous," says the band's frontman, Matthew Pelham. "Because we didn't solidify anything, really, in those two weeks of practicing. So when we got there, there were a lot of loose ends to tie up."

It wasn't just a bold move, but a dramatic change of pace for a band that’s been praised as one of best live rock combos around. Over the years, they've served up slice after slice of hook-fueled brilliance - with subtle nods to new wave, '60s garage, southern rock, Krautrock and beyond - and perfected them over the course of countless shows and constant retooling in their practice space.

Capturing their thrilling, stage-tested sound was a no-brainer on previous albums. But for "The Features," Pelham and his bandmates - keyboardist Mark Bond, bassist Roger Dabbs and drummer Rollum Haas - were game to shake things up. Just two months away from the release of their hailed 2011 album "Wilderness," they decided that they weren't going to wait another two or three years to start work on the follow-up. They'd make it in the two months they had to spare.

That meant that almost none of the songs pegged for "The Features" had been performed in front of an audience - and several were still works-in-progress when the band arrived in Vancouver. "I don't think we really had any expectations," Pelham says. "We just thought, 'Let's do it differently.’"

From their first night in town - when they loaded into the studio and immediately started firming up the song they were set to track the next day - the band didn't flinch at the task at hand. With no time for second-guessing, they embraced a slew of previously untapped sonics and styles, resulting in their most adventurous set of songs yet.

Lead-off cut "Rotten" is a bold, multi-movement stunner, veering from serene synth-pop to proto-metal riffs, flirting with anthemic "Who's Next" arena-rock before shrinking back to its starting point. "This Disorder" - an instant classic in The Features' esteemed catalog - throbs with a tense funk pulse, jagged guitar swipes and staccato synth lines, as Pelham's tightly wound vocal offers words of caution in the scatterbrained smartphone age. "New Romantic" and "Ain't No Wonder" similarly straddle the line between classic new wave and Bowie-styled soul. But the album is thoroughly modern, too, particularly in the wide-open spaces of shimmering rockers "With Every Beat" and "In Your Arms."

Add it all up, and "The Features" is the sound of a band that's wholly comfortable with where they are - and know exactly where they want to head next.

here is a realm where beauty, magic, sedation and elation exist in a constant stream. There is a plain where sonic waves create a vast wonderland for subconscious wanderers to explore, create, and radiate. We all know. We all go there in the meanderings of our minds, from day to day, minute to minute, filling in the gaps of what it is we consider reality to be. Yet, it is in these undefined spaces where we are truly formed, where our selves are given room to breathe. It was in the early morning hours of a soft Portland autumn in 2012 when four such fellows began building an audible vehicle to transport subconscious wanderers between these plains. A vehicle deemed Daydream Machine.

In the quiet dark basement of iconic drone-rocker Jason Adams from The Upsidedown wonder coalesced into form. Jonathan Allen, a founding member of The Upsidedown, had been living in Philly for the past eight years, working on his project Music For Headphones, and had just returned. At the same time, Matthew Bernard Strange from Portland’s prized group Hawkeye, and Josh Kalberg of the folk-gaze duo Whole Wide World, had been casually getting together with possible ideas brewing. Yet, it was there, in the hushed spaces of Jason’s basement where the four convened for the first time, in a trance-like state, releasing the confines of objective reality by the strike of a fuzzed out guitar chord. It wasn’t long until Charlotte Engler, also of Whole Wide World and chorister for Portland’s Trinity Episcopal choir lent her angelic voice to provide the soaring swoons rounding out the dynamic soundscapes which Daydream Machine creates.

Newly signed to Picture In Your Ear music, Daydream Machine has been piercing the Northwest scene with a slow-burn intensity playing with such acts as The Purrs, 1776, Souvenir Driver, Miracle Falls, and Kingdom of the Holy Sun. Some of their early demo basement tracks can be found on samplers “The Psychic Underground – Vol. 5”, and “The Active Listener – Record Store Day 2013”, and has received play on podcasts such as Anton Newcombe’s Dead TV, “Sideways Through Sound” out of Sydney, Australia, KZME in Portland, and “When the Sun Hits” on Strangeways Radio. With this momentum carrying them into their first full length album, Daydream Machine is establishing it’s presence as a tool of locomotive escape into the realm ethereal.

$10.00 - $12.00


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