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.
Every artist should be the star of their own creative life, which makes Kyle Reid’s steps out of the shadows of the many ensembles and supporting roles he has played in Oklahoma bands over the years to front and center on stage feel like a just journey.
Lost Lander with Kefalonia 8 p.m. Monday The Conservatory 8911 N. Western conservatoryokc.com 607-4805 $6
Lost Lander founder Matt Sheehy spends a lot of time alone, out in the wild. It’s his job, actually.
The Alaska native is employed as a forester in his newly adopted home of Oregon, and it gives him a lot of time to think. Consequently, his music is similarly cerebral, if not also romantic, in a scientific vein.
“There’s a feeling I get when I’m in nature and studying nature, looking at trees or reading astronomy books, that makes you feel like you are scratching the surface on the true nature of the universe,” Sheehy said. “Not to get too crazy and metaphysical, but I feel like sometimes that happens with chords and melodies. I try to take what I’m feeling at work and create that same feeling in music.”
His newest pet project, Lost Lander, boasts a mountainous, lofty soundscape that reflects the landscapes in which he grew up.
“It feels like a smoothie of all the things I’ve done in the past,” Sheehy said. “It’s got that songwriter core that I did with my solo work, but with a little more sophisticated arrangements like with [neofolk act] Ramona Falls. I took my background and tossed it all into a blender.”
The finished product finds its way into Lost Lander’s debut, “DRRT,” which sounds a great deal like fellow Northwest Pacific coasters Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes, but with more punch and vitality. Hoards of others helped make the album what it is, whether through lending musical talents to the recording, leading fundraising efforts, collaborating on music videos or volunteering design work.
“This record was like going to grad school, just in terms of finding out the way other people work,” Sheehy said. “That’s been something that’s been really exciting for me. Being a part of a team has been rewarding.”
While available for download, the album’s physical version is unique, with packaging that unfolds into a planetarium that projects stars onto a darkened ceiling. Sheehy said he couldn’t resist bringing a little bit of nature indoors.
“We wanted CD packaging that would do more than just hold a CD,” he said. “People don’t do anything more with CDs anymore than stick them into iTunes, so we wanted something useful. Why not bring the stars into your bedroom?"