Rest on their laurels? No way. The Rosebuds' plan for global domination continues full-speed ahead, with no less than four possible releases in the next year or so. This summer they'll record the follow-up full-length to their critically-acclaimed, pop-driven debut, Make Out. They just finished an EP, have talked with Ben Davis (Bats & Mice, Milemarker) about doing a split LP and are formulating plans to record with singer/guitarist Ivan Howard's uncle, Otha Howard, who runs the first and longest running independent record label in North Carolina. How do they do it? "Our music is a lot like sausage," says singer/keyboardist Kelly Crisp. (You don't want to know what goes into it.)
Indeed, the forthcoming EP, Unwind (on Merge), went through a long gestation period with producer Zeno Gill at his Pox World Empire Studios.
"We've known him before and worked with him on a number of smaller projects. We really like the studio and the way he operates," explains Crisp. "We wanted to be able to have the flexibility to record anything we wanted, whenever we wanted. Really this is the only option we had for this kind of set up. And he really enabled us to do that. We could just go in and tinker with anything we wanted. A lot of times we wanted to go in and we had ideas and just wanted to scrap everything we'd done before. At one point we threw away all the songs."
Crisp speaks of the mountains of tapes and song ideas the married couple have gone through, and suggests that for as much work as they did on the songs, as often as not, the solution was to strip them bare.
"I think with our music you have to just make it more simple. A lot of times the songs are very simple. There's not a whole lot of complication or some people would say, sophistication. But I would say junk. There's not a lot of stuff junking up our songs," Crisp says. "The feeling is the most important thing, and you can really mess up the feeling of a song by trying to put too much on there. A lot of songs ended up more simple than anyone could imagine."
The duo has already talked with Brian Paulson, who will record their new full-length at Rick Miller's studio. Sometime after that, they hope to record a 5-song/side split with Davis, whom Howard has admired since his days in Milemarker. Then, toward the end of the year they are hoping to ask Otha Howard if he'll put out a split 7-inch with them. Ivan's uncle has put out over 50 singles since the early '70s, including a couple country singles by his mother.
For his part, Davis is just trying to get his house in order. His angular guitar pop band, Bats & Mice, which has played intermittently in the area the past four years, is struggling with the departure of their (fourth) drummer, Luke Herbst, to the West Coast. Always something of a commuter band since guitarist David Nesmith lives in Richmond, they face even more difficulty touring now. Further, with Des_Ark beginning to take off, Davis is probably going to need a new backing lineup for the Ben Davis Group. However, Davis expects to have a new lineup up soon and to be playing around the Triangle more frequently than he has in the past.
Finally, blues rock/jam band locals Pico vs. Island Trees are releasing a new single on Pesky Pole Records, recorded at Low Watt Recordings by Ted Comerford, who moved down here from the D.C. area a couple years ago.
"Right after Christmas we went into the studio with the mindset of doing an EP. We did two or three new songs and then redid an old one off the first album. And they sounded really great, so we decided to make it an album," says frontman Bryan Carter.
The band, which began a little over a year ago, hopes to hit the studio with Comerford this summer and put out their second full-length in the fall.
Pico vs. Island Trees plays the Lincoln Theatre on Saturday, March 26. The Rosebuds have their CD release party at the Duke Coffeehouse on Friday, April 15.