Posts Tagged ‘ saxon shore

btv057 Saxon Shore : Four Months of Darkness

Saxon Shore
“Four Months of Darkness” (btv057)
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Track listing:
1. Four Months of Darkness
2. Amber, Ember, Glow
3. Our Mountain Pass, A Winding Truth
4. Secret Fire, Binding Light
5. Side By Side In This Gentle Descent

Saxon Shore was formed in the winter of 2001 by Matthew Doty (guitar, piano) and Joshua Tillman (drums). Founded in the ideal that themes of beauty, hope and despair could be translated without the use of lyrics or objective subject matter, Doty and Tillman began writing songs which would, quickly soon after, appear on 2002’s Be A Bright Blue which was released on Doty’s Broken Factory Records. Tillman enlisted the help of his brother, Zach Tillman, for bass duties during the sessions. Be A Bright Blue’s austere simplicity and minimal, melodic accessibility dissented from the majority of current instrumental acts by utilizing pop music conventions such as repetition, hooks, and western dynamics, while offering room for solidarity, free interpretations, and thematic independence.

After a year of three regional and one national tour, featuring a revolving door of membership, Saxon Shore recorded 2003’s Four Months of Darkness at home and with Georgia’s Jamie Bozeman. With Doty and Tillman living in upstate NY and Seattle, respectively, the songwriting process became an exchange of mailed 4-track demos. The songs would expand and contract, until both Tillman and Doty were satisfied. The initial tracks for Four Months of Darkness were recorded during a tour as Saxon Shore passed through Atlanta and had some spare days and studio time reserved. After recording these tracks in late autumn 2002, Doty and Tillman took the rough mixes to their respective homes and began to hone and craft the final, resulting album. Doty made several electronic, loop, and keyboard additions which were added to the final mix. Traveling guitarist Matthew Stone was also a contributor to the final process, recording guitar tracks to two songs in his Hershey, PA living room and providing many editing suggestions. Departing from the trademark indie-pop established by Be A Bright Blue, Four Months of Darkness is an expansion of the Saxon Shore sound, allowing meandering song structure and brooding tension throughout the unsettled beauty of its instrumental tale of struggling duality.

 

btv065 Saxon Shore : Be a Bright Blue

Saxon Shore
“Be a Bright Blue” (btv065)
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Track listing:
1 Cader Iris
2 Replacement Driver
3 Be a Bright Blue
4 Angels and Brotherly Love
5 The Last Days of a Tragic Allegory
6 Twilight Is Our Advocate Tonight
7 Guardians of the Second Tower

Saxon Shore was formed in the winter of 2001 by Matthew Doty (guitar, piano) and Joshua Tillman (drums) in upstate New York. Founded in the ideal that themes of beauty, hope and despair could be translated without the use of lyrics or objective subject matter, Doty and Tillman began writing songs which would, quickly soon after, appear on 2002’s Be A Bright Blue which was originally released on Doty’s own Broken Factory Records.

Tillman enlisted the help of his brother, Zach Tillman, for bass duties during the sessions. Be A Bright Blue’s austere simplicity and minimal, melodic accessibility dissented from the majority of current instrumental acts by utilizing pop music conventions such as repetition, hooks, and western dynamics, while offering room for solidarity, free interpretations, and thematic independence.

Be A Bright Blue was born out of late night inspiration, a lust for melody, and most likely a subconscious childhood fixation with progressive rock. Layers of intertwined guitars and syncopated drums crescendo with drive and serve as a backdrop for abandon, hope and restlessness. Without the confines of vocals or song structure, Saxon Shore freely explores musical beauty and depth with an intensity and drama most characteristic of film scores. They are unashamedly emotional, relentlessly rock and roll, and independent, straight up.

The band toured in 2002 to support Be A Bright Blue and gained a following through three regional tours, a summer long national tour, and several spot dates near their New York home. Available at shows and direct mail order, Be A Bright Blue sold out of two pressings on the strength of Saxon Shore’s live show and eventually fell out of print. Four tracks from Be A Bright Blue were featured on the 2004 season of MTV’s The Real World : Philadelphia, but fans were unable to get those songs since the album was unavailable. Tracks from Be A Bright Blue were also used on the independent short film Stray which premiered in Los Angeles this winter and ready for the festival circuit. It is now re-released in 2005 on Philadelphia’s Burnt Toast Vinyl.

2005 is a busy year for Saxon Shore. They band briefly toured in the East and Midwest en route to 2005’s SXSW festival in Austin and the MACRoCk festival in Harrisonburg, VA. Saxon Shore have East Coast and Midwest dates set for April and a national June tour with Ill Ease (Too Pure) booked by Silver Leaf Booking in support of their forthcoming cdep Luck Will Not Save Us from a Jackpot of Nothing (31 May). In between the two tours, Saxon Shore will record their third full-length album, tentatively entitled The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore in Fredonia, NY with Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Low, Mogwai, Mercury Rev) which will be released in autumn 2005.

 

 

btv066 Saxon Shore : Luck Will Not Save Us From a Jackpot of Nothing

Saxon Shore
“Luck Will Not Save Us from a Jackpot of Nothing” (btv066)
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Track listing:
1 July 5
2 May 26
3 April 14
4 June 23
5 November 16

Video : 8.23.03
Video : Secret Fire, Binding Light

With the departure of Seattle drummer and cofounder Joshua Tillman, Saxon Shore has become more of a collaborative group than ever. Anchored by guitarist Matt Doty, a fluid roster of contributors helped create the latest EP, Luck Will Not Save Us From a Jackpot of Nothing. The album leans heavily toward synthesizers and programming, yet still retains the dark guitar-driven intensity of previous albums. As before, lyrics are absent and unnecessary to telegraph the band’s themes of hope, beauty and despair.

Relying less on traditional verse/chorus/verse patterns and more on warm keyboard sounds, Saxon cofounder Doty devised the basic song structures and melodies at his home in upstate New York. He then sent them to Matt Stone in Philadelphia and Oliver Chapoy in Washington, D.C. for collaborative input. Stone provided guitars and synthesizer parts and Chapoy added guitars, programming, keyboards, and sampling. Additional tracking and production was done with John Hill in New York City.

As a nod to the importance of file-sharing in creating this album, the song titles indicate the dates on which Doty started sessions on his computer. The EP title refers to a nickname the band used for a tour in support of their 2003 full-length, Four Months of Darkness (Burnt Toast Vinyl). On the road for eight continuous weeks in the summer, each night was a crap-shoot as to how many people would come to the shows, Doty says. “It was a ‘jackpot of nothing’ because even if a few people showed up one night, it wasn’t guaranteed the next,” he says. The EP is also a reference to the film The Fog of War and a Robert McNamara lesson in diplomacy that luck was the force that prevented nuclear holocaust during the cold war.

That bleak darkness is captured on a short documentary about Saxon Shore that premiered at Sound Unseen, the Minneapolis film festival, alongside Low’s documentaryLow in Europe. The tension and turmoil of touring hardships portrayed in the documentary ultimately led to both brother Tillmans’ (Josh and Zach) departure from the band. The new EP features two live videos that were featured in that documentary: here, the energy and creative angst of such a tour is on display for all to see.

Moving forward, Doty expects to continue incorporating electronic elements into the Saxon sound. The upcoming full length, which will be produced by Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Low, Mogwai), will more closely evoke the overpowering rush of the band’s live shows. It will combine the strong melodies of their debut Be a Bright Blue (re-issued Spring 2005 by Burnt Toast Vinyl) with the natural and textured sound of Four Months of Darkness, while retaining the analog keyboard strains of the EP. Luck Will Not Save Us from a Jackpot of Nothing is an introduction to that forthcoming release,The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore, due in the autumn of 2005 from Burnt Toast Vinyl.

Over the last year, Matt Doty has been taking a break from the Saxon touring jackpots, writing and recording for Elkland’s debut release on Columbia and adding guitar parts for a track on the new Earlimart album on Palm Pictures. Album titles aside, Doty is taking it all in stride and remains hopeful for 2005. Look for Saxon Shore on tour with Doty, Stone, bassist William Stichter, new drummer Steve Roessner, and other members of the Saxon collective in support of this new EP and full-length.