Monday 28 Jul

Planting the seed

Chelsey Cope’s new band, Elms, is as earthy and native to Oklahoma as the trees that are their namesake. The soulful folk four-piece’s debut EP, Parallel Lines, was recorded at Bell Labs Recording Studio in Norman and is on its way in September. But the band has already given us a tease, with its first single, “Burn,” going live on SoundCloud on July 14.
07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Commercial rock

Center of the Universe Festival featuring Capital Cities, Young The Giant, AWOLNATION & more
Downtown Tulsa 

07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Mack truckin’

9 p.m. Friday 
Kamp’s Lounge 
1310 NW 25th St. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Chevy cruisin’

Chevy Woods with Kevin Gates & more
9 p.m. Sunday 
Vibe Night Club 
227 SW 25th St. 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0

Rock steady

7 p.m. Saturday
Frontier City
11501 N. Interstate 35 Service Road
Free with park admission 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Reviews · Indie · Colin Stetson — New History...

Colin Stetson — New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges

Vastly unusual in an incredibly good way

Stephen Carradini January 17th, 2011

Some musicians want to make you dance. Some musicians want to make you rock. Some musicians want your money. Some musicians want to make you think.

Colin Stetson (Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, among others) is of the last category, as his upcoming  album, “New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges,” is a cerebral experience unlike any other I’ve heard. It drops Feb. 22.

Stetson plays saxophones primarily; there’s one 76-second French horn suite, but the bulk of the 44 minutes is dedicated to saxophone compositions. But don’t fear: As noted before, this guy has worked with serious indie heavyweights and knows his way around modern composition that doesn’t make me want to tear my ears off.

It’s easiest to file this in some sort of post-rock category; if you like Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky, you’ll find some bits to connect to in the instrumental experimentation, dynamic moods and long song lengths. Fans of Sufjan Stevens’ more esoteric audio experiments will also find much to like in these mostly wordless compositions (Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and Laurie Anderson contribute vocals sporadically).

But unless you know that, it’s hard to tell that these are solo pieces, as the compositions swirl and race at such a pace that it seems improbable that one set of hands could produce such a wild fervor. From the frenetic “A Dream of Water” to the stabbing “From No Part of Me Could I Summon a Voice” to the calmer “Clothed in the Skin of the Dead” to the “um, what is happening and how did he do that” moments of “Fear of the Unknown and the Blazing Sun,” this album never ceases to amaze. It seems that a collection of solo saxophone pieces, even ones played rapid-fire, would get monotonous, but that is not the case. These are fascinating, dramatic songs that stand up next to any indie rock track.

It’s not easy listening, for sure; no one’s going to mistake this for background noise. But if you’re the type that dedicates time strictly to listening to music (not while Twittering, watching TV, reading a book or whatever else), “New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges” will blow your mind. It’s vastly unusual in an incredibly good way, and it can stand up to guitar-based, cerebral, indie-rock albums easily.

Because isn’t indie rock about doing your own thing? Rock on, Colin Stetson. Rock on.  —Stephen Carradini

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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