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.
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.
The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?
Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.
"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
Student Film with Penny Hill and the Low Litas 10:30 p.m. Saturday HiLo Club 1221 N.W. 50TH 843-1722 $5
It’s been a long ride for Oklahoma City indie-rock act Student Film. The band is fast approaching a full decade, much of it full of laborious promotion, touring and recording.
Although the group never expected to necessarily hit it big, frustration with expectations — both their own and others — and the Oklahoma music scene at large prompted lead singer and guitarist Justin Rice to post an open letter to musicians and fans alike online three summers back, warning of the many struggles a band hailing from Oklahoma City will no doubt face from personal experience.
For some, it was a rally cry; for others, it was disagreeable at the very least.
However, it’s hard to argue with firsthand experience.
“Show attendance, the number and quality of the bands — it all seems to fluctuate. You’ve got to try and ride out the lulls,” Rice said. “Most of what I wrote was a reaction to the pressures and disappointment of one of those lull periods.”
Student Film’s last full-length release, 2009’s “Generator, Operator, Destroyer,” probably bore a little of that frustration, consciously or not. Although not a total departure from its beloved “Sleeping Giant,” it was certainly the heaviest and darkest anyone had heard from the act.
“It was a bit dark and messy,” Rice said. “Now, we are back onto something a little more poppy again.”
We had this religious experience watching Talking Heads. —Justin Rice
Now, he seems more content with where both his group and his state’s music scene — praising relative newcomers The Boom Bang and The Pretty Black Chains — stand, and a lighter direction came beckoning. The tight, studious indie-rock sound that begs quick comparisons to acts like Spoon is again blasting at the forefront, and it’s suiting them well.
“We just naturally started in heading that direction, and then we had this religious experience watching Talking Heads’ ‘Stop Making Sense,’” Rice said. “It was encouragement to go back down that path and rediscover what we liked about our band to begin with. It’s a little closer to ‘Sleeping Giant.’” The band currently is figuring out how to reintroduce itself to a new generation of metro concert attendees. Slated for early 2012, a new record, tentatively titled “Facts and Values,” aims to do just that.
“One thing we’ve struggled with is the people that liked us when we started out are older and aren’t going to shows anymore. We’ve been around nine years, and those people aren’t going to be staying out until 2 in the morning,” Rice said. “We wonder how to get back out in front of the younger crowd. That’s the question right now.”
The simple pleasure of songwriting and playing shows should be enough to keep themselves afloat, even if that question goes unanswered. No matter the highs and lows, Rice is assured Student Film is in it for the long haul.
“It’s some strange, unshakable sense of dedication, I guess,” he said. “I don’t see us breaking up anytime in the near future, either. I could easily see another five or 10 years.”