Sweet Spirit w/ The Lonely Wild

DoLA & Resident Presents

Sweet Spirit w/ The Lonely Wild

The Lonely Wild

Thu · May 18, 2017

8:00 pm

$7.00 - $10.00

This event is 21 and over

Sweet Spirit
Sweet Spirit
Ironically, the eight-piece band Sweet Spirit started as a solo project.
Austin singer Sabrina Ellis was going through some distressing times: the band that she fronted for several years, Bobby Jealousy, with her then husband was disintegrating along with their relationship. Everything Ellis was working toward was suddenly in free-fall.

She started Sweet Spirit to hone her ability to write and perform on her own. “It was supposed to be focused on me writing solo, and performing with the guitar,” she says. But it didn’t stay that way for long.

When Ellis started Sweet Spirit, she was still writing and performing with her longstanding garage punk band A Giant Dog. AGD Co-founder Andrew Cashen was intrigued by Ellis’ new emphasis on soul and country and pop music as touchstones for Sweet Spirit and quickly climbed on board the project. “I’m very comfortable doing loud and fast,” Cashen says, “so this is uncharted territory for me.”

Together Ellis and Cashen began turning out songs at a breakneck pace. They assembled a core band of four more members, rehearsed religiously, and started playing gigs around town. Immediately they began turning heads and packing clubs.

Within six months they had gotten noticed by one of Austin’s most famous musical residents, Britt Daniel of Spoon. In October of 2014, Daniel asked the band to perform at Spoon’s “secret” tour kick off show at the cramped rock club Hotel Vegas for their latest record They Want My Soul, and Sweet Spirit was quickly thrown into the local buzzmill.

As Austin accolades continued to pile up into 2015, Sweet Spirit was added as an official SXSW showcase act without a full-length record or ever having applied. National attention from Esquire, the L.A. Times and other outlets solidified their status as Austin’s “next great rock band” and earned them a spot as the opener on 12 Midwest and West Coast Spoon tour dates.

Meanwhile, the band released their full-length debut Cokomo, as well as a two song collaboration with Daniel, receiving praise from Stereogum, Consequence Of Sound, SPIN, and other outlets, and leading to two more national tours.

In between shows, the band found time to work with producer Steve Berlin (Los Lobos, Deer Tick) on their sophomore full-length St. Mojo. The new record comes out on April 7, 2017 on Austin label Nine Mile Records and features a bigger, more dynamic set of songs. Lead single "The Power" has already become a fan favorite at live shows, while the Queen-esque track "The Mighty" and Prince dance funk of "I Wanna Have You" take the band is exciting, unexpected new directions. Guest contributions from members of Grupo Fantasma, Mother Falcon and A Giant Dog help expand the band's already considerable sound.
The Lonely Wild
The Lonely Wild
It’s difficult to write about death in a way that isn’t morose or dispiriting. The subject, long turned over by artists of all kinds, is inherently sad. But on Chasing White Light (eOne Music/Fast Plastic), The Lonely Wild reflects on death in a way that is both accepting and uplifting. The album, which follows the Los Angeles group’s 2013 effort The Sun As it Comes, was born last year as frontman Andrew Carroll was faced with the death of his wife’s grandmother. “When that happens to people you know and love, you often pause and reflect on people you’ve known who’ve passed away,” he notes. “And then the topic started coming out in songs naturally.”

“Scar,” a folksy indie rock tune, was one of the first songs to emerge during that process. The reflective track recounts the passing of Andrew’s childhood friend who died after they’d grown apart. “That was a moment of pause for me,” he says. “You wonder what could have happened if you were still part of that person’s life.” The rest of the album followed easily. “Snow,” a soaring, vintage-tinged number, raises questions about life and death, eventually conceding that there is no afterlife and that’s okay, encouraging the idea that you should live for now. “Running,” a song that offers the album its title in its lyrics, traces similar themes. It acknowledges the white light you supposedly run to upon death, but also sees that light as a metaphor for whatever you’re chasing while alive. It asks the listener to live in the moment and follow the thing that compels them.

Once written, these songs were transformed at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco. Working with Vanderslice marked the band’s first experience with a producer on an album. He had a huge impact on the sonic landscape of Chasing White Light, affording the musicians the opportunity to use antique instruments like harpsichord and cello, as well as analog synthesizers and electric organs, and recorded the entire album to tape. Instead of recreating the band’s demos, Vanderslice forced them out of their comfort zone, encouraging each song to evolve into its best incarnation. It was a deeply liberating experience for the band.

“We weren’t following a checklist of tracks to record” Andrew explains. “We listened more closely to the songs to hear what they needed and what sounded best. It totally transformed the songs. Recording to tape really helped shaped the performances. We didn’t pick everything apart. It’s raw. There’re mistakes in there. It was more about capturing a performance and that live energy and the emotive quality of the music, rather than making something polished and pitch perfect.” He adds, “We got a little weirder with the instrumentation and let the songs speak with unique voices. We didn’t want to fall back onto any one genre.”

The Lonely Wild’s touring experience also impacted the album. Over the past few years, the group, which formed in 2010, has performed with Damien Rice, Apache Relay, The Lone Bellow, Lord Huron, Laura Marling, Phosphorescent, Dwight Yoakam and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and at festivals like South by Southwest, First City Festival, Echo Park Rising, Cask and Drum Festival and Jubilee. The band has sold out nearly a dozen shows in their hometown of Los Angeles, and expanded their live show to feel as dynamic and exciting as possible. On Chasing White Light, the musicians wanted to bring that sense of exhilaration to the recording. “There’s a sense of urgency to this record that we didn’t have on previous records,” Andrew says. “It’s much more immediate. Some of that comes from the theme, but a lot comes from playing shows a lot. We turned into a louder band.”

In the end, Chasing White Light comes to some sort of acceptance. You will die, but that doesn’t have to be mournful or disheartening. It encourages you to stay in the moment and follow your own bliss, rather than live for some future promise of an afterlife. It’s a musical journey that leaves you uplifted and encouraged, even as it considers one of life’s darkest subjects. “This album doesn’t dwell on the despair of it all,” Andrew confirms. “It’s about looking at death for what it is – something we all go through at some point. It’s that great mystery and no one really knows what happens. You’re never going to know until you get there. And you have to come to terms with that. Through writing these songs I’ve come to accept it and not totally fear it. And I hope our fans can too.”
Venue Information:
Resident
428 S Hewitt Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90013
http://www.residentdtla.com/