The Georgia Theatre Presents
The Record Company
Stop Light Observations
Fri · August 25, 2017
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm
40 Watt Club
Tickets at the Door
This event is 18 and overhttps://www.georgiatheatre.com/event/1501166/
The Record Company’s popular success was matched with enthusiastic critical acclaim. “Caught halfway between the stomp of mid-century rock & roll and the soulful kick of Delta blues, the Record Company kick up a raw, rootsy racket,” raved Rolling Stone. “The scuzzy, 10-track set meshes the group’s biggest influences,” wrote Entertainment Weekly of GIVE IT BACK TO YOU, “the early electric blues rock n’ roll of John Lee Hooker, staccato lyrical delivery akin to The Stooges frontman Iggy Pop, and Rolling Stones-style grooves.”
The band formed in LA after a late night of hanging out as friends listening to records on their bass player Alex’s back porch with drinks in hand and speakers in the window. The spinning of a crackling vinyl copy of John Lee Hooker’s album “Hooker N’ Heat” at about 2am - coupled with singer Chris Vos’s stories of a trip to see Iggy & The Stooges at The Palladium in LA - inspired the three to get together the next day and jam together. That following afternoon they decided to hang some mic’s up in Alex’s living room and start recording.
“We listened to the playback that first day of recording,” Vos says, “and decided right then and there that we had to be a band.”
GIVE IT BACK TO YOU is powerful and authentic, its electric fusion of classic influences, personal songwriting, and contemporary energy feels designed to break hearts and shake the dance floor. Both intimate and intense, songs like “Off The Ground” and “Rita Mae Young” are marked by The Record Company’s ambidextrous instrumentation, built upon guitar, bass, and drums but also deftly incorporating harmonica, dobro slide, lap slide, pedal steel, piano, and anything else that might serve the music. The album was written, recorded, and mixed by the band in the same living room in Los Angeles that they formed in and did their first recordings, retaining the raw and untouched sound they strive to make.
“When recording we trust early takes, love soulful mistakes, and record much of the song together live so we can keep the vibe of the recording feeling natural and still mix it with an aim to make the speakers move” says Vos.
Long known for their incendiary live sets, the band has toured nearly non-stop in the months following the release of GIVE IT BACK TO YOU. They proved favorites at this year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, prompting Rolling Stone Country to name the trio’s set among the event’s “5 Best Country and Americana Moments” while declaring it “a wildly energetic show and one of the most communal experiences of the festival.”
They embarked on their first ever headline tour in the fall of 2016, selling out 32 out of the 41 shows they played – including the Bowery Ballroom in NYC, the El Rey Theater in LA, World Café Live in Philadelphia, Turner Hall in Milwaukee, and Antone’s in Austin amongst others.
What’s more, The Record Company have rocked the airwaves with a series of high profile TV appearances, including CBS’ Late Show with Stephen Colbert and TBS’ Conan, not to mention countless radio sessions and live concert broadcasts on SiriusXM, NPR’s World Café Live, and Chicago, IL’s WXRT.
The Record Company has also found themselves supporting and playing alongside a series of national and international tours and shows with a diverse group of legends and like-minded artists they admire including Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Dawes, BB King, Kurt Vile, Mavis Staples, Social Distortion, and Blackberry Smoke.
“It’s about making the right choices for the songs,” says Vos, “keeping things as engaging as possible without compromising the integrity of the song. Everything we do comes from our desire to write the best songs we can and make the most honest music that we can.”
“I always think of any performance as one less time, not one more time.” says Vos, “Nobody can say how many shows you get to play in your life. So we try to play our guts out, leave it all on the table, and have fun doing it”.
Stop Light Observations’ inaugural performance took place on Sullivan’s Island. Among the crowd was Cubby’s childhood pastor—a man with whom he had once had a close relationship. As it turns out, Cubby’s former pastor was Will Blackburn’s grandfather. Divinity had served up fate. Cubby and Blackburn had been childhood friends, but never knew it. SLO was born, and the sky was the limit.
But things didn’t truly take off until a few years later when SLO released their acclaimed 2013 debut, Radiation. Metronome hailed the record’s “emotive and elegant” songs, which landed perfectly in the sweet spot between arena and indie rock. The band went from relative unknowns to playing Bonnaroo and selling out Charleston’s largest club, The Music Farm, in just a year.
Since then, Stop Light Observations have broken the record for most consecutive sold-out shows at The Music Farm and have toured across the country, playing standout festival sets at Firefly, Summerfest, and more. SLO’s most recent LP, Toogoodoo, saw coverage at major national outlets from PBS and Conan O’Brien’s Fresh Noise to Impose, PopMatters and Garden & Gun, the latter praising Toogoodoo as “a promising debut from the band, who have wowed audiences throughout the South.”
Now, following the successful release of Toogoodoo, and an ambitious year on the road in support, Stop Light Observations are poised to tackle their next major endeavor—an ongoing series of digital 45s, each with an A-side and B-side, entitled The Volume, which will disperse the band’s hard-hitting yet melodic songs in a more immediate fashion.
“The Volume is much more than just bypassing the mechanics of an album,” Cubby explains. “Its about inspiring ourselves and others with this approach that lends itself to complete creative freedom. The Beatles released 250-plus songs in 7 years without the technology we have today. If they can do it, why can’t we?”
At the center of the first volume is Stop Light Observations’ new single, “Coyote.” It’s a stunning, slow-building piano ballad that evolves strikingly through distinct dynamic phases, vocalist Will Blackburn’s effortlessly toggling between a delicate croon and an anthemic howl. With “Coyote,” the group distills its already potent arena-ready indie rock all the way through the song’s powerful crescendo of an outro.
Thematically, “Coyote” deals with loss—something the entire band has coped with many times over the years. “The situations and emotions behind our songs are extremely personal,” SLO guitarist Louis Duffie explains.
Cubby adds, “When I was 15, I started dating my childhood sweetheart—who is now my wife—and after our first year of dating we received the earth-shattering news that her best friend, Lizzy, had committed suicide. She was the sweetest, happiest, and kindest girl in our entire high school and to believe she would take her own life was unfathomable. ‘Coyote’ is that story for me—the story of the pack animal, still feeling alone despite its family joining in its howls of pain. It is the girl with the bright smile taking her life—the fallen angel. It’s the first time you meet up with all your friends and that person you all loved so much isn’t there.”
The first installment from The Volume also offers up “The Ghost of Larry Ford Jr.,” an instrumental track that tackles the next step of loss: the frustration, anger and anxiety of letting go, all seamlessly communicated sans lyrics. The stylized, labyrinthine track sounds like a Wes Anderson films looks, along the way deftly mapping the chaotic trajectory of a mind in mourning.
Stop Light Observations may be blazing their own trails, but they want everyone to join them on their journey—fans, friends and family, past and present. “The Volume releases will ultimately be defined as a series—a voice for the voiceless. A podium for those who have yearned for the opportunity to share their own stories of struggle, passion, and love,” vocalist Will Blackburn explains.
“We live in an era of polar divisions perpetuated by fear,” Blackburn continues. “And the divide seems to be growing exponentially. But if we turn off the cable news channel and walk out our front doors and speak to our neighbors, we may find that our struggles, while they vary, are often quite relatable. It is my hope that trough this style of releasing music that we may open up the conversations that need to be addressed most in today’s America. All are equal and all opinions should be heard with hopes of perpetuating peace and understanding. Love is the way and this is the path we have chosen to move forward.”
40 Watt Club
285 West Washington St
Athens, GA, 30601