Steve Wildsmith

A cross between Rolling Stone, Soldier of Fortune and the Oxford American

Archive for the ‘Marina Orchestra’ tag

Catching up with the Royal Bangs: New band member and a new album

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royalbangsRoyal Bangs: (from left) Chris Rusk, Ryan Schaefer, Sam Stratton

Knoxville electro-pop indie darlings the Royal Bangs will play a rare hometown show on Friday, Sept. 21, at The Ciderhouse (112 Ramsey St. in Knoxville’s Warehouse District, adjacent to The Valarium; Marina Orchestra opens the show), and we caught up via email with singer/instrumental wizard Ryan Schaefer to get the skinny on what’s happening with the guys.

The band plans on debuting a “bunch of new material” at the Ciderhouse show, Schaefer writes, from the band’s forthcoming new album. Although it’s untitled right now and a firm release date has yet to be locked in, it’s a safe bet given the band’s last two nationally distributed releases — 2009’s “Let It Beep” and last year’s “Flux Outside” (released on the Glassnote label) — a lot of fans in East Tennessee and beyond are waiting on pins and needles for a new record.

It’s “almost finished, just getting it mastered now,” Schaefer writes. “We recorded it in Nashville with our friend Patrick Carney (of The Black Keys and founder of the Audio Eagle record label, which released “Let It Beep”) producing and Roger Moutenot engineering. It was really fun to make. Dylan Dawkins (formerly of up-and-coming fuzz-pop band Yung Life and the side project Persona La Ave) plays bass for us now, so we could actually track most of it live, which was kind of new for us. Usually we figure everything out in the studio, but this time we had it more or less put together before we got there, and the songs can breathe a little bit more because we’re playing them together.”

The band’s other two members include guitarist Sam Stratton and drummer/percussionist Chris Rusk. The Sept. 21 show starts at 10 p.m., and admission is $10; it’s a presentation of that most awesome Old City indie-rock club The Pilot Light.

Written by wildsmith

September 13th, 2012 at 11:09 am

The return of the Rockwells!

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rockwellsThe Rockwells

In perusing the calendar for that fine Old City indie-rock club The Pilot Light, I stumbled across a lovely little nugget slated for May 3: A performance by the Rockwells, that quartet of rockers who have been sorely missed in the local scene over the past few years as the boys have taken on various adult responsibilities.

A quick call to Tommy Bateman, general manager of the Maryville Tomato Head, reveals that it is, in fact, true — he’s getting married that week, and the guys are getting back together as sort of a celebratory reunion show. And while the band hasn’t committed to future performances, they’ve been practicing regularly, Bateman said, and there’s talk of perhaps some new recordings.

“We’ve kicked the idea around as we’ve rehearsed some of the songs we’re preparing for the show, especially one or two that never got recorded or were recorded early on and have changed shape,” he said.

The Rockwells — Bateman and his brother Trace, and brothers Fred and Jonathan Kelly (who have been busy of late running Famous London Recording Studio) — hail from Memphis, and they’ve played together in some form or fashion for most of their lives. Tommy Bateman and Kelly were best friends through high school and college, while their younger brothers, Trace and Jonathan, shared a similar close friendship. After the Batemans moved away, the Kelly brothers formed the Rockwells in 1999. The Batemans returned to Tennessee, the Rockwells moved to Knoxville and the rest is quickly becoming part of the city’s local music history.

The guys have released several albums — the full-lengths “Star Smile Strong” and “Little Symphonies for Kids,” as well as a number of EPs and the most recent full-length, “Place and Time,” the latter of which contains one of my favorite songs ever: the melancholy, looking-back-on-life gem “The Quarterback.”

The May 3 show also features Marina Orchestra and will start at 9 p.m. (real time, not Pilot Light time). Admission is $5.

“We’re really glad we’re doing it at The Pilot Light, given our history with that place and what it means to so many people around here,” Bateman said. “We’re really excited.”

Written by wildsmith

April 16th, 2012 at 8:26 am