Tag Archives: Pedro the Lion

Members of Pedro the Lion, Starflyer 59, & His Name is Alive on New Project Lo Tom

Lo Tom

The four members of Lo Tom have operated within one another’s musical orbits for years. The number of bands they’ve each played in are too many to list (they’ve put together a helpful flowchart for those interested in untangling the genealogy) but the main points of intersection are Starflyer 59 and Pedro the Lion. To quickly thumbnail it: Lo Tom guitarist Jason Martin is the founding member and frontman of Starflyer 59, as Lo Tom singer David Bazan is for Pedro the Lion; drummer Trey Many and guitarist TW Walsh have played with both. But the resulting record, which they wrote and recorded over two weekends, sounds like neither band. Anyone hoping for the Sabbath-y shoegaze of Starflyer or the brittle indie rock of Pedro the Lion in Lo Tom would be advised to look elsewhere; instead, the quartet has made a record that sounds like Bob Seger being produced by Rick Rubin. Riffs are sharp and swaggering, the choruses are big and bruising, and Bazan has swapped his cutting prophet’s delivery for something meatier and more muscular. If this were the mid ‘70s, Lo Tom is the record that would blast from every parking lot smoker’s Camaro during lunch break. We chatted with Bazan and Many about the record’s whirlwind creation, and how the record was essentially just “an excuse to hang out.”

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Slowcore: A Brief Timeline

Low

Low, photo by Lego.

You could easily argue against the idea of “slowcore” as a genre. Unlike its late-’80s/early-’90s contemporaries in shoegaze and grunge, there was never a geographic focus or self-celebrating scene. Its key bands formed all across the country, rarely toured together, and never seemed to swap notes or compare guitar pedals. There were no formative moments, no Sex Pistols at Manchester in ’76. Nothing close to an ethos.

But, crucially, there is a sound—or, rather, a continuity of sound—a commitment to allowing songs the room to breathe, to stripping things down to their essence before something bigger can be built back up around them. Even when the songs are fast or loud or busy, they never lose that essential clarity, that push toward beauty as its own end. Continue reading

David Bazan Releases an Unlikely Holiday Album, Fifteen Years in the Making

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David Bazan. Photo by Ryan Russell.

Seattle singer-songwriter David Bazan has never shied away from difficult subject matter. He’s tackled infidelity and death, and offered layered commentaries on consumer culture tucked inside catchy pop songs. But no subject has been as deeply explored as Bazan’s spiritual journey. On his early albums with his band Pedro the Lion, he prodded at institutionalized religion from a Christian perspective; then, in 2009, he wrote Curse Your Branches, an album centered around his loss of faith.

It may seem odd, then, that Bazan would deliver something as seemingly sanguine as a Christmas album just in time for the 2016 holiday season. But Dark Sacred Night isn’t exactly a shopping-mall holiday record. It opens with one Bazan original, the somber “All I Want For Christmas,” and ends with the moving “Wish My Kids Were Here,” which could pass for one of Kris Kristofferson’s bleakest tunes. In between those originals are eight holiday standards, new and old, delivered in deeply contemplative fashion and soaked in faraway reverb. It has to be one of the least festive holiday records ever made. To hear its prime architect tell it, that’s exactly the point.

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