Bringerer's time has come. Saturday the band releases its debut EP, Trink! Sink! Tanz! marking the band's graduation to the next phase of that strange Chutes and Ladders game we call the music business. Recorded with Chuck Johnson at his home studio, Cirrus Oxide, in July of last year (and mastered by Jerry Kee at Duck Kee Studios), the album took almost a year to come out because the music kept growing and evolving.
"We recorded when we were still getting to know each other so some of the songs that we were playing we play so much better now, so we wanted to re-record some of them," says singer/guitarist Ron Liberti. "It took a while to come to terms with that."
With a supple almost new wave swerve sparking a bubbly, melodic sensibility, Bringerer's pop smarts recall Cheap Trick if the band had grown up on the Cure. There's a bit of jangle, a little crunch, but mostly it's just good, textural pop. It came about out of a long-time collaboration with fellow guitarist Shawn Albert in Poncho Holly Bullfight Party.
"It's just kind of a get together and get bombed kinda thing. We've never played the same song twice, except 'Interstellar Overdrive,' which we play over and over and over again. We never really play live. We just jam. So Shawn and I said, 'Let's see if we can't take some of these things and make them into songs,'" says Liberti. "It's nice to pick up an axe and make some different kind of noises."
The album is being released on Hypnovista, Liberti's label with Groves Willer. (The label's last release was the Evil Weiner tribute album. Liberti is doing limited edition silk-screened covers for the release.) Joining Albert and Liberti in Bringerer are bassist Amy Wilkinson and drummer Bart Moyers, who adds some electronic textures to the album.
"Bart is kind of an electronics whiz, and he does kind of circuit bending, like opening a Casio and crossing some wires to make some warm fuzzy freakout sounds," Liberti says. "Bart calls his machine Slow Progress Forever. I love that sentiment, and I believe that's what we're all about. I'm a 38-year-old man and I'm in no rush, because as soon as it's out, it's 'Oh fuck, now what?'"
That's essentially the same sentiment that brought Nikki Meets the Hibachi to an end. The duo of Elaine Tola and John Gillespie met in a Comp. Lit. course at UNC in 1987, and got together almost immediately. They continued for five years, riding a steady tide of college rock popularity and releasing two full-length albums, The Bluest Sky and Better Late Than Never. But in 1993, after the death of Tola's father, they called it quits.
"[In 1993] both he and I were doing some soul searching. John decided he really wanted to go back to school and get his teaching certificate. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do, so we decided to kind of stop, which we did for several years. Then about six years ago I started doing some solo shows at the Cave," Tola says.
Gillespie would show up occasionally and play with Tola and other guests at these Cave shows, and soon he'd invited her to join his rock act, Marzipan Effigy. When that broke up, Gillespie and Tola reunited Nikki with Marzipan drummer Arturo Velasquez.
"We just started writing and were like 'Wow, we've got all this new material,'" Tola says.
"We started talking, 'Why don't we re-release The Bluest Sky, and if we're going to do The Bluest Sky, and we have all this new material, why don't we record a new record, remaster The Bluest Sky and include it at the end of a new record?"
Still, with almost 15 years between the recording of The Bluest Sky and the new songs, there's a noticeable difference beyond the audio component.
"You can really tell we've grown. You can tell life experiences have really influenced our work. It's a little more sophisticated. We were so confessional in our songs back then. Now we're writing much more like stories and from different perspectives," Tola says. "[Plus] Arturo is such a nice addition. It's amazing how much fun we have when we play, because we really get into the music. I'm singing and I'm dancing, and it's fun to look out and see other people doing it too."
The album was recorded with John Plymale, and they are expecting to master the album at the Kitchen, with the release planned for the fall.
Bringerer's CD Release Party is Saturday, June 11 at Wetlands (formerly The Treehouse), with Fashion Design and Mowing Lawns at 10 p.m.
Nikki Meets the Hibachi plays The Cave Saturday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m.