Wednesday 23 Jul

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

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

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.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"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.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

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.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Switching gears

Switching gears

Singer-songwriter Andrew Belle can explain his pivot to electronica with only three words: the Drive soundtrack.

Joshua Boydston March 5th, 2014

Andrew Belle with Diane Birch

7 p.m. Sunday

Bricktown Music Hall

103 Flaming Lips Alley 



Fresh from a well-received full-length debut, singer-songwriter Andrew Belle was less on top of the world and more lost at sea.

What felt like a lifetime of personal maturity and artistic growth left the wholesome folk-pop approach carried into Ladders feeling tiresome. But for all the Chicago-based performer’s frustrations, a new direction wasn’t making itself immediately apparent either.

“It took me a couple of years to really find the groove I wanted to get into,” Belle said. “I kept trying to write on my acoustic guitar, but I had gotten to be pretty bored with that … I wasn’t sure what to do for so long.”

Lucky for Belle, he found all the answers in Ryan Gosling’s steely gaze.

“I saw Drive, and the movie itself — in terms of subject matter — is very dark, but the music was this sort of ’80s synth beat, poppy soundtrack, and I was fascinated by that,” Belle said. “It clicked that this is what I wanted to do.”

Inspired by the stylish action flick’s soundtrack (featuring memorable turns by Chromatics and Glass Candy) and a newfound admiration of Beach House and M83, he holed up in his apartment with some amateur recording software, determined to take his acoustic guitar-driven, heart-on-his-sleeve balladry and reinterpret those inclinations in new, challenging ways.

Fellow singer-songwriter and tourmate Ben Rector had mentioned his positive experiences recording at Blackwatch Studios with Chad Copelin and Jarod Evans to Belle while out on the road one spring. And on a whim, Belle decided to record what would become his sophomore effort, Black Bear, at the Norman retreat.

Filled with vintage keyboards and retro synthesizers, he quickly realized the studio was the perfect sanctuary to complete his metamorphosis from a perceived John Mayer disciple to something more multifaceted.

“From the first minute I walked in the door, it felt like the right atmosphere to make this record in,” Belle said. “The musicality of it wows me. I’m not a great musician; I’m more of a songwriter. And to go through that process is daunting … but Chad and Jarod really brought it to life.”

Recharged, Belle — appearing Sunday at Bricktown Music Hall — is eager to explore all ends of this new earth. The summer will usher in a stripped-down, organic version of the Black Bear album, and soon after, he will dive back into writing for another record, fully intent on staying the new course. 

“I’d love to keep exploring that world, maybe even push the envelope more,” Belle said. “I definitely think I’m going to stay in this terrain for a while. There are so many singer-songwriters out there, plugging away with an acoustic guitar. And after all those years, I kind of got burned out on it. This feels like unlimited possibilities.”

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