Monday, July 23, 2007
Toledo Shambling: Homeville Circle
Toledo Ohio's Homeville Circle recently released it's first CD "Midwestern Shambling."
Here is what songwriter Justin Longacre had to say about it. I thought that it was great that a band actually put some thought into "Creating a New Sound." There needs to be more of that. If I hear one more bawls out rock song about getting drunk, I could go insane.
What the Midwest Told Us:
Midwestern Shambling is a document of The Homeville Circle's first year as a band, and the inkling of a pretend genre. My goal is to make an indigenous Midwestern music that conveys a sense of place. The sound of the landscape; broken down barns, abandoned factories, rusted out machines, rolling farmlands crashing against the ruins of cities and endless suburbs. To this end, I didn't want to sound particularly old-timey, or any-timey for that matter. I'm not interested in reenactment or nostalgia for some idealized "more authentic" past, but rather the revelation of a past-haunted present. I wanted to sound like a bunch of kids after the turn of the millennium who grew up steeped in the artifacts of a defunct culture, a culture plundered by successive disappointments in agriculture and industry. This is the sound of wading in those artifacts.
If everything is broken, anything is up for grabs. Songs are culled from fragments of antique postcards (John and Sadie), World War II relics brought home by grandparents (Gerdy Versus the Luftwaffe), prohibition era newsflashes (Bloodmoon), or stories half-remembered and carried from the Great Migration (Dark Holler). The instruments were found on the roadside (air organ), saved from dumpsters (banjo), discovered in grandparents' garages (Justin's guitar and amp) or assembled from fragments of other broken instruments (Sam's guitar and bass). The sounds themselves are derelict assemblages of genre and era. Cobwebbed ballads drift into speakeasy jitterbugs or post-industrial guitar mess or thrift-store pop or lurid garage-psych swagger.
I call it "Midwestern Shambling," and these are our first attempts at it. There are 100 copies, each with a different actual antique photograph from this area. There will be no more made, ever. Ultimately, this was an exercise in exploiting our limitations. Limitations in geography, economy, skill and number. I couldn't always make the sounds I wanted to, so I made the sounds I could. Mandolins were substituted for horns, air-organs for accordions, the voice I had for the voice I wanted. Some of those limitations have since been done away with. As a result, we have no delusions about this recording. We think of it as a thing we had in our basement, which someone may or may not be interested in, like an old vase or musty couch or box of figurines at a garage sale. A collection of oddities we really don't know much about either, and whose worth we are unsure of ourselves ("how about five bucks?")
I hope you will also join us for the upcoming LP "Moths and Rust," which posits a new Great Migration/Great Awakening and further explores the ramshackle hymnody at which I have been hinting. If you have seen us live lately, you know that Dan Rock, Sam Pilbeam and I will be joined by multi-instrumentalist songwriters and genuinely good dudes Kevin Clark (banjo, organs, guitars and mandolin) and Paul Zink (accordion, trumpet, singing saw and banjo) and a multitude of guests.
Thank you for listening,