Like most bands of the indie-rock persuasion, the members of Western Civ tend to balk at efforts to define the band’s sound. “Can I just tell you what it isn’t?” asks guitarist/singer Rich Henderson. And it’s not that he hasn’t had time to mull it over– Henderson and his longtime pals belong squarely in the catagory of musical “lifers”. “I don’t think I could do anything else,” Henderson says, his generally-easygoing features taking on a steely edge as he makes the admission.
Despite Henderson’s characteristic reticence, a few adjectives spring readily to mind when listening to the Chapel Hill, NC-based outfit’s upcoming release, the Mitch Easter-produced Shower The People You Love With Gold: terms like “textured” and “intricate” might seem at odds with “infectious” and “raucous”, yet any listener who’s ever worn an ironic thrift-store sweater would be compelled to admit that, yes, they all apply.
The bands newest release is the third from the group, whose core lineup of Henderson, Jason Briggs, and Bryan Cabler remains unchanged. The trio is frequently augmented both on stage and in the studio by cohorts Jason Hall, Kemper McDowell, and Ken Larson.
Western Civ descended on Mitch Easter’s (REM, Pavement) Fidelitorium Studios in May 2008 to lay the tracks for Shower, which was recorded in eight days and mixed in five. “We’re ecstatic at the outcome of the new record,” gushes drummer Cabler, whose enthusaism often serves as the precise opposite of Henderson’s restraint. “Working with Mitch was easily the most amazing experience of my…can I call this a ‘career’? Maybe I should say ‘my musical life’.”
As the album, which was tracked on 24-track Studer analog tape machine, began to take shape, Easter’s studio toybox was plundered by the band– in addition to typical rock instruments, a 1980’s Casio keyboard, a vintage Leslie cabinet, and a child’s bull roar toy were employed in the pursuit of sonic diversity. And that’s to say nothing of the bright-orange metal folding chair which was rechristined an instrument, miked up, and played con brio by Cabler with a drum stick.
Shower The People You Love With Gold releases February 24th, 2009! Tour dates will be announced soon!