Shoulder Voices In Space! Release Party
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Although the band's been performing since 2001, Shoulder Voices never officially released an album. This week, however, the eclectic Albuquerque group—powered by Little Bobby, The Musk and a rotating cast of characters—will unleash its first proper, non-CDR collection of recorded material. In Space! is a concept album rooted in '70s psychedelia, as well as a means of furthering the band's aggressively festive shows.
"I think in the last couple of years we've gotten to a place where now the songs are sort of a vehicle for this large, sort of controlled chaos," says The Musk, who plays guitar. The chaos to which he refers includes costumes, glitter, fake blood and stuffed animals that are occasionally ripped apart onstage (and later turned into costumes). "It changes the whole atmosphere and pulls people in a little bit. Even if they think it's excessive, at least they're thinking about it. It's hard not to notice some person with a wig and a large orange robe and stuffed animals. You just can't ignore it. It's slightly confrontational, too."
Little Bobby, who sings and plays saxophone, tambourine, guitar, keyboard and probably any other instrument given to him, says one of the purposes of Shoulder Voices' music is to make listeners feel as though they are in altered states. “Coming to see one of our performances is an event. A happening, as they used to say in the ’60s. A 14-hour Technicolor dream. It’s much better than sitting at home doing nothing, watching celebrities eat bugs—or dance with bugs.”
While it's safe to assume that Shoulder Voices' performance will be the most bizarre thing happening in town this Saturday night, what with the space helmets and plushie homicide, it will also likely be the most truly groovy (plus the professionally pressed discs will be handed out free of charge). See you there.
Shoulder Voices • In Space! • myspace.com/shouldervoices
Shoulder Voices is a soft and fuzzy Shock and Awe campaign to your neocortex. But rather than the rapid dominance theory, layers of guitar, synthesizer, beats and vocals slowly stack up into a pile of warm pillows. On keyboards, percussion and sax, vocalist Little Bobby (ex- Unit 7 Drain) leads an embryonic journey of neo-psychedelia with unexpected side trips into heavy riffs from guitarist The Musk (aka Clifford Grindstaff, Grave of Nobody’s Darling).
When Shoulder Voices is onstage anything is possible, including an outer space expedition where Syd Barrett is ground control to a Monkees team of cosmonauts. And although it contains a finite six tracks, In Space! evokes boundless galactic exploration while touching back on Earth with songs like “Super Massive Tears” (a pastiche of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ “Tracks of My Tears” with a dash of Leslie Gore’s “It’s My Party”). Despite its repetitive musical structure—or perhaps because of it—the seven-minute song is over in a flash. Don’t misunderstand, however: In Space! is not instant gratification (there’s very little music of worth that is). Shoulder Voices is at its finest live, but this disc captures the band’s anything-goes performance. (Captain America)