Monday 28 Jul

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · The last Samurai

The last Samurai

Now reunited and it feels so good, Norman atmospheric rockers The Samurai Conquistadors prepare for battle again.

Chris Parker February 9th, 2011

The Samurai Conquistadors with Lollipop Factory and The Forever Years
9 p.m. Friday
Opolis, 113 N. Crawford, Norman, 820-0951

Not everyone’s comfortable sending out a photo of themselves in a Donald Duck onesie or that Halloween Catwoman costume as a 8-year-old. But this is the situation The Samurai Conquistadors found themselves when they returned from a yearlong hiatus.

The jazzy, atmospheric rock quintet from Norman formed nearly four years ago when most of its members were finishing up high school at Norman North. It began as a project between bassist Kevin Fries and guitarist Dane Heins. Zach Nedbalek, who’d played guitar in another band with the two, offered to play drums. Planning to recruit some other players to fill out the sound, they just decided to go with it.

“We realized, ‘If we’re going to be doing this together, we might as well start writing our own music and make it a team effort.’ That’s when we really started working on stuff,” said Nedbalek, who is studying music production along with guitarist Josh Praizner, at the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Thus, The Samurai Conquistadors were born; a debut album and several gigs followed quickly. As things continued to progress, the crowds grew larger throughout 2007 and 2008.

But things came to a screeching halt when Praizner moved to Hawaii “for a year just to do it,” he said. During the break, the members went their separate ways. Nobody touched the Conquistadors’ stuff until Praizner got back.

When he returned, they were faced with a dilemma, in the form of a half-finished record whose material was a couple years old. They’d gotten a lot better and smarter in that time. The question was, try to rework the material or play it as is, trying to retain the spirit of the time when it was written? The result can be found in “Taosyneche,” which they released last August.

“We pretty much consciously didn’t write any new stuff, because we wanted to save that for what we’re doing now,” Nedbalek said. “Where we are now is so radically different. We want it to be a big step forward from our first album to our second. It wouldn’t sound like that if we’d redone it all and reworked it.”

Unfortunately, “Taosyneche” is something of a stillbirth. They play very little from it live, and are more excited to play the new music. That’s the problem with old snapshots: the tendency to stick you in a look you’ve already outgrown. Any disappointment is easily leavened by the enthusiasm they have for the new material, which audiences can experience Friday at Opolis in Norman.

“A lot of people would call it jazzier or lounge-ier. It’s not really easy listening; it’s kind of demanding music, I think, if still in that vein,” Nedbalek said. “There are a lot more straightforward songs that, by normal standards, probably aren’t that straightforward, but are for us. We’ve got a much greater idea of what we want to accomplish now, instead of just being out there doing it.”

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