Marsh can't hold a day job. He tried for a while, but touring with his ambient-rock band, Soular, just wiped the "punctual employee" right off his résumé.
No matter. Becoming full-time musicians is why Marsh (who dropped his surname—Shamburger—some time ago) and fellow bandmates Jared Ashcraft, Ian Byrd and Brian Lee decided to make the road their home more than two years ago. "It's a tough place to be when you're trying to make that decision," Marsh says. "Is this my life or have I made this out to be my life, but shouldn't? For all of us, we can't do anything else."
Not long after Soular left Albuquerque for perpetual touring, the band signed with Astonish Records. "We talked to every label on the planet," Marsh says. "We were just really scared of all the big label junk. We didn't want to be one of those bands who gets on there and hates their label and goes bankrupt."
Marsh says they went with Astonish for a few reasons, the most important being retainment of creative control and the knowledge that founder, Adam DeGraide, created the label out of his love of music, not money.
"We realized we needed help to spread the workload so we could focus on just being artists," Marsh says. "Nothing's different. We're doing everything we've been doing, it's just now there are some extra things to help us."
The product of the band's new assistance is their first nationally released record, Love Crash Heal. The album hits stores on April 10, but the boys worked a little deal with the distribution company, Marsh says, and secured an official prerelease party in their hometown.
"It's a shame when bands that start to move forward don't look back," he says. "We wouldn't be who we are if we hadn't played the Golden West a long time ago."
Love Crash Heal has the refinement of a professionally produced album, but stays true to the alternative pop sound that Soular cultivated right here in Albuquerque. "The only area that was difficult was the artwork," Marsh says. Instead of using the artist their label suggested, they called a friend from Norman, Okla., and asked him for input--his first submission made the cover. Otherwise, the process was the same as recording Soular's three previous records, only less rushed, he says.
Love Crash Heal is a pop rock album that's easy on the ears. Marsh's vocals are strong and unwavering, and the creative control the band fought for is well-used. The layered sounds of bass, keyboards and theremin (which produces an eerie vibrato) keep the album fresh without falling flat into the dance rock genre. Love Crash Heal isn't a head-banging album, but there are elements within it that keep Soular open to do nearly anything on stage.
If Soular keeps up this breakneck pace of touring and recording, Marsh might never see the likes of a day job again.
Soular's CD Release Party for Love Crash Heal is Tuesday, April 3, at Launchpad. Joining them are Old Man Shattered, The Brobecks and The Hero Factor. The all-ages show is $10 at the door and starts at 7 p.m.