My phone buzzed in my pocket. I had a notification from Bandcamp that Self-Evident’s new album was available. A few taps on my phone later I had it purchased and downloaded. All I need now is some time to break away and give it a good listen. The method of this inaugural aural experience was still to be determined. I decided to forgo the immersion of headphones, the freedom of cruising around in the car and the higher quality speakers of my desktop for a more relaxing method. For this I chose to lay down and place a Bluetooth speaker on my chest. Just large enough to produce adequate bass tones and just far enough away to create that stereo separation. While Self Evident’s music is often loud and jittery there are many docile moments that I can drift way in as the complex rhythms of the instruments swirl around my head. With that first chord hammered out on a piano, this was unexpected. In a deviation from previous works, this guitar, drums and bass trio stepped into a new territory. While their song Temporary, Confused has a sound reminiscent of a choir mellotron patch on it, that is the only keyboard type sound that really stands out. There have been other moments where a keyboard was used, albeit in a subtle fashion, like on the opening of In Cowardice. As the song I Seek The Glaive continues I ask, is that “more synth work or live strings?” This is awesome, this works well. I like that they are continuing to progress their sound. By the time Waiting For Tonight hits its apex, I know for sure that’s a live cello. The growls of machines are mimicked with the use of a synthesizer on You Run Circles Around The Others and title track. This expanded sound has me intrigued for tonight. This album runs the gamut of dynamics. Heavier riffs like that found on Open Space and how I love that ending tolls away like a tower bell. And then there are those warmer and calmer moments like the cello and violin laden closing track, The Creeper.
As I lay with a speaker box on my chest and let the air move to the sound waves, I am left in awe. There are a few albums in my collection where the first listen is so memorable and I can imagine that time and space where it took place. This one takes its place upon that mantle as well. As a Twin Cities transplant, this was the first local band I began to follow. After 15 years of enjoying their music, they’ve always provided me with music for moments of introspective passages.
This has been a first, buying a new album and giving it a few good spins and then hearing a majority of those new tracks live in concert later that night. This new album is astounding and it was well worth the wait. In what has become the longest gap in between albums, this 4 year wait was lengthy but the sounds on this one are phenomenal.
Now that I’ve had the luxury of hearing the recording ahead of the album release show, its time to gear up for the live performance of it. It’s another late show for this local band as things aren’t scheduled to kickoff until 11pm. As I traverse the snow covered roads to the Icehouse, I’m able to listen to this new album yet again. The Icehouse slowly transforms from a dinner crowd into concert crowd as plates of food are exchanged for drinks across the tables.
The enigmatic Hardcore Crayons took to the stage first. It’s been a while since I saw these guys play so I was glad to see them on the bill. If you’re unfamiliar with them I highly recommend checking out their entertaining videos which are so well done and are a joy to watch. The video for Zozzled is my favorite one, check it out below.
This local trio with their off kilter beats set a fun groove for the fretless bass. The various loops and soundscapes intertwine with the occasional modified vocal parts. The guitars add a variety of sounds as it is run through an array of effect pedals. The crowd is a mass of bobbing heads and swaying bodies as this free flowing music fills the Icehouse. These guys are always entertaining to watch on stage or on film.
Kid Is Goat
Despite the bitterly cold evening that has now turned into early morning, there was a hearty crowd eager to hear these new tracks that have just been released. As the stage changeover was happening I noticed they set out a keyboard and a laptop and a 3rd mic for vocals. This 3 piece just became a 5 piece for tonight’s show. In an effort to more accurately recreate the sound of the album, keyboards and another guitar were added to the mix. Just as hours before, that unfamiliar sound of a piano in this band’s world started of their set. The first four songs followed the album’s order, they skipped a song and continued with the albums continuity. They peppered in a few older songs before coming back to that skipped song, Open Space. That was a suitable song to close out the night on with chords that tolls like a bell. With that they played 8 of the 9 new songs. I figured that is where it would end but before the evening concluded they played one more for the thrilled crowd. Seeing how they added these two musicians I was always curious if there would be an appearance of a cello and violin courtesy of the folks of Not From Here. While they didn’t show tonight I did look into them and I’ll have to seek them out more thoroughly. My first thought when hearing them was, this reminds me of Anekdoten, and they’re local, cool!
I Seek the Glaive
Lost Inside The Machinery
Waiting Forever Tonight
You Run Circles Around the Others
Skyfire in the Starcage
The new album can be purchased here in a few different formats, digital download or vinyl. There is also a third option as a Japanese import CD that includes three bonus songs. This album has been great so far and I look forward to hearing more of the nuances that have been created and captured for future listening sessions. Hopefully the next album won’t be as long of a wait but if it is I’ll know from previous experience that good things come to those who wait.