White Violet - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
AGES (Normaltown Records), the third release from White Violet, is a record of unprecedented pacing. Bandmates Nate Nelson (songwriter, instrumentalist, producer) and Brad Morgan (instrumentalist, songwriter) plan to release tracks in five digital volumes, two tracks at a time, over the course of one album cycle. At the end, the album will be released on vinyl in its entirety. Each volume is a parcel to unpack and take in, a piece of the gradually unfolding puzzle. Each experience is like a bright correspondence with a stranger who, at the end of which, you meet to hear them speak their heart in full. The album will be written over the course of the cycle–amping emotional proximity to the material onstage–giving AGES an authentic narrative. In an age where we have access to endless streaming, sculpting a record into multiple releases is not only strategic and pioneering, but also an invitation to have a conversation; letting the listener join the band in a slow burn experience. AGES is about feeling time: the time between volumes, the time it takes to become comfortable in your work, the time that marks the experiences behind you and still ahead. Justly, White Violet’s first track of AGES Vol. 1 (releasing May 13) is titled “Time” and introduces a musical transition for the band. Drum machines set a beat to cruising through seconds and thoughts; merging into the synths of the second track, “Both of Our Views”, which send out a call for later tracks to respond. Throughout AGES, Nelson’s vocals and Morgan’s guitar playing will seamlessly move in and out, teasing synth pop territories. Like watching landscape shift through the window of a moving car, the sound design for the album will change over the course of the releases. AGES Vol. 1 was recorded in Nelson’s home studio, Cortright Recordings, and The Bomb Shelter in Nashville, and was fully mixed by Nelson. “This is a stream of consciousness release,” Nelson says. "Songwriting and recording are one in the same for me. I don’t finish songs outside of the studio. The whole recorded composition has to be moving and working together before I’ll consider a song finished. By recording and producing it ourselves, we can take the time to explore each song to its fullest potential." The band's live shows, which will take place in tandem with each release, are a blend Nelson’s recording and performing process. The combination creates full sonic stage presence with a stripped down, focused sound. One featuring both live and sequenced drums and bass along with vast looped guitar and synth soundscapes. All highlighted by projected visuals. It is an ever-evolving experience to match the growth of the band. White Violet formed in Athens, Georgia in 2011. Their first record, Hiding, Mingling (2012), was highly conceptual. A struggle within a dreamscape full of spare, sonic references to youthful memories in Georgia. Their second release, Stay Lost (2014), was recorded over the span of a few weeks in Kernersville, NC, with master engineer Scott Solter. The work was focused and isolated making for a satisfying but standardized mode of producing music. Ethereal guitars, airtight melodies, and eccentric and galvanizing rhythms proved creative prowess. But now, with AGES, the creative process is alive as time passes, and it moves and breathes as the band works and lives. It is intimate and artistically immediate. Savor the story; it is one for the ages.
Future Elevators - (Set time: 8:00 PM)
Future Elevators is the new project from Michael Shackelford of The Grenadines.
Michael Shackelford first wrote down the words "FUTURE" and "ELEVATORS" a few years ago on a rough instrumental demo. Recorded at his home studio outside of Birmingham, Alabama, the music never grew into a finished song, but that simple, surprisingly evocative phrase stuck with the multi-instrumentalist. "I liked the phrase so much that I thought I would name the band that," Shackelford explains. "It's about trying to rise above and be the best possible version of yourself, and for some reason I kept thinking about the glass elevator in Willy Wonka as a visual metaphor for this band I was putting together. We try to achieve this feeling of elevation."
It's an apt phrase for one of Birmingham's most original musical acts. Like Roald Dahl's fictional creation, Shackelford—the group's founder, mainstay, and guiding creative force—is something of a pop confectioner who thinks up impossible sounds and makes them a reality. His self-titled debut as Future Elevators expertly mixes whimsy and gravity, the fantastical with the everyday. Even as he grounds his lyrics in real-world issues, Shackelford fills his songs with new and improbable combinations of familiar sounds: the jagged pastoral folk of "Alabama Song," the Rube Goldberg blues riffs of "Machine Maker," the retro-futuristic r&b of "Modern World," the warm drone of the ten-minute instrumental closer "Aphrodite."