Thursday, June 11, 2009

6/11/09 - Southeast Engine, a recommendation

I'm not usually the first on any below-the-radar bands, since my music discovery tends to follow the stampede of the written word, but I'm going to have to give a plug to Southeast Engine, I band that I came to by following a fairly convoluted route: In reading the Onion's AV club "Popless" project, I believe, the writer mentioned that Southeast Engine was a band that he was getting into after his vacuum chamber away from music.

Curious, I found my way to their website, where they've got a generous slice of songs on display (link below)

I was (and remain) impressed, which is partially because I think the band is way tighter and polished than their level of exposure. Back when I was first getting into music seriously, I had a kind of rage against the machine mentality, when I thought that there was a whole universe of music outside of the mainstream push that just didn't get exposed for some reason. I was excited about going to shows and seeing the opener, and about all the random bands I'd never heard of. I quickly learned that most (MOST, not all), bands that aren't head of are obscure for a reason - rarely do I go see openers at concerts anymore, just because the vast majority of them are mediocre-to-poor. Still, I'm not ignorant to the fact that good music is bound to slip between the cracks, and I think that this band is a good example of that.

I'm not going to make any grand pronouncements about why - the band is playing straight-up Band-style Americana, but pulling that off without being insufferably boring and turgid is a tough trick. Now that Wilco decided they wanted to be the American Radiohead, instead of the 2000s version of the Band, the slot is open for a roots-rock band with ambition, that's not just obsessed with pedal-steel formalism, but rather in the way that the intersection of folk, country, and rock can speak uniquely to the open space and frontier mentality that's such a part of American culture, for better and worse.

For further reading up on the Popless project, proceed to:

1 comment:

ariyele said...

i agree, this band is solid. a nice feeling on the album from start to finish. track five "two of every kind" stands out as poignant vignette that offers insight into the grown-man's-many-years-married-and-bored-landscape. the song evokes a sadness in the listener for the mistakes he is about to make or is making. all set to an upbeat polka-esque rhythm. s'great. check these guys out!