Friday, December 17, 2004

Roman Candle

Yesterday, I mentioned the recent recording that Thad Cockrell had done with Roman Candle. They're an interesting story in their own right.

Skip and Logan Matheney, brothers from Wilkesboro, started out in Chapel Hill back in 1997. Their early demos (see below) showcase some fine pop songwriting and singing, with more than a little Beatles influence. ("Baby's Got It In The Genes", for instance, comes a little to close to "All Across The Universe.") They produced a full album, Says Pop, in 2002, which scuffed up the songs with dusty production and some trip-hop inspired beats. (You can hear samples here.)

Frankly, I don't hear much twang in those tracks, but in 2003 Rolling Stone dubbed them "explosive new-country darlings", and they're definitely moving in that direction as evidenced by their collaboration with Cockrell. Chris Stamey has really taken them under his wing. The band recorded a song with him for the marvelous Alejandro Escovedo tribute album Por Vida, and he produced the re-recording of Says Pop, to be released with extra tracks...sometime soon. (Their web site says "later in 2004," but time's running out for that.) It'll be fascinating to see what Stamey does with these songs -- doubt it will be much like the original production! (I think you can get a taste here.)

MP3: "Why Modern Radio Is A OK"
This is a demo, and really shows a country turn. The snarky lyrics crack me up:
Don’t play Neil Young
Don’t play Van Morrison
Just let some high school emo band start versing and chorusing
Because there’s no way it will break my heart as far as I can see
And that’s why modern radio is A OK with me.
Here are the old tracks I mentioned above. Good songs, but not really representative of where the band is now as far as I can tell.

MP3: "You Don't Belong To This World" (probably the best of these)
MP3: "Baby's Got It In The Genes"
MP3: "Something Left To Say"
MP3: "I've Got A Reason"


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