Keep On Movin’: Don’t Feed the Machine: Keep it local, keep it quirky

AnalogueTape

In these times of religious observances, family obligations and unabashed consumerism, it can be hard not to succumb to the embracing womb of corporate America. But when you’re participating in capitalism this holiday season, try to seek out local sources. You probably won’t be able to avoid supporting our new god Jeff Bezos at some point, but a T-shirt or record from an independent shop may stave off the inevitable corporate take-over and keep RI’s quirky culture intact for a little longer.

The RIght Profile — Andy Davis of subModern Records

This is a new, possibly reoccurring series I’m calling The RIght Profile in which I interview the boots-on-the-ground players of the local music community.

Andy Davis is the producer behind subModern Records and the frontman of The Bendays, who just put out an excellent record. He’s a steadfast believer in analog (tape) recording, and we talked at his studio in Cranston about his operation and why the OG way is sometimes the best way.

Jake Bissaro: How did you start out recording? Were you a musician first?

Andy Davis: I got into recording at the same time as learning to play. I started recording in 2001 — I actually just found my first one, a reel-to-reel of me and a friend attempting to play along with a tape of “Californiacation.”

I helped out at some other studios and it was a fun and good learning experience, but I wanted to do things my own way. I’ve been in this space for a year and a half.

JB: What are the virtues of analog recording?

AD: I like the workflow and the sound quality, as well as the archival nature of the medium. When you have to rewind the tape when the band messes up, it can be really helpful to stop and figure out what went wrong, as opposed to just recording eight hours onto an external hard drive. I enjoy working within the limits of it, and to me knowing you have Pro Tools to make everything sound perfect makes the process less fun.

JB: Do you have trouble getting tape or the equipment?

AD: There’s really no shortage of tape or equipment; it just takes some research. I love working with these older machines, though ironically I could not do any of this without the internet. I also couldn’t afford it if it weren’t for computers making the equipment undesirable.

JB: I know the Bendays just released a cassette. Playing devil’s advocate, I thought cassettes were just a hipster thing without much function.

AD: I think the cassette is great! It’s small and very durable. If you go see a band and buy a cassette, it’s a lot more memorable than a business card with a download code that you might lose.

JB: What are some subModern highlights?

AD: We recently worked with a marching band, and for that we recorded 30 or 40 people in here, all at once, to tape (though we admittedly do some edits in Pro Tools afterward). We also just finished the soon-to-be released Xr-Tabs album.

JB: What are your hopes for the future of the studio?

AD: We’ve had styles from metal to acoustic, but all with a basis on rock. I’d love to explore more styles; maybe do a hip-hop album or a jazz quartet — really anything with sound. I’m trying to spread the word, because the goal is to spend all of my time here.

For info on recording at subModern, head to submodernaudio.com

Chris Capaldi — Far from Here EP

On this impressive four-song EP, singer/songwriter Chris Capaldi brings a Springsteen-like earnestness and expert arranging skills to the table. With apparent themes of things moving on and time passing, it reminds me of modern-era Ryan Adams or The War on Drugs.

“The Best I Can” is a heart-on-sleeve catchy rocker. “Lost in a Dream” is a rumination on the passage of time that layers vintage synths and big drums. The production and playing on Far from Here is firing on all cylinders, and Capaldi’s expert guitar wailing rounds it all out.

Chris Capaldi’s Far From Here is available at chriscapaldi.bandcamp.com/album/far-from-here

For Live Consumption

Barr Brothers @ Columbus Theatre

The Barr Brothers are one of the most imaginative bands of the last five years and a joy to see live, with a sound I’d call baroque folk with a psychedelic edge. Last year’s Queens of the Breakers album builds on a bedrock of two other great releases, and is their best to-date. The first album played with folk traditions, and second heavier on blues and polyrhythms. Everything about the Barr Brothers subverts expectations in the best way possible. Andrew and Brad Barr grew up in Providence, and played in the band The Slip before hightailing it to Montreal. Highly recommended.

Fri, Dec 7 at the Columbus Theatre, 8pm

Heather Rose in Clover/Tiny Diamond/Mountainess @ Askew

Catch a night of female fronted ferocity with some local acts at Askew.

Fri, Dec 7 at Askew, 8pm

Phosphorescent @ the Royale (Boston)

Brookyn-based Phosphorescent is the music of Matthew Houck. Think indie folk with an airy twang.

Sat, Dec 8 at The Royale, 6pm

Roomful of Blues – The Founders @ The Met

Next Friday, The Met hosts Roomful of Blues, probably the best-known Rhode Island blues act ever, whose origins go back to the late ’60s. The night will feature five original members: guitarist Duke Robillard, pianist Al Copley and the horn section consisting of Rich Lataille, Greg Piccolo and Doug James. Joining them is Mark Teixiera and Brad Hallen.

Fri, Dec 14 at The Met, 7pm

Ravi Shavi/Nova One/NICE @ AS220

Ravi Shavi’s garage rock swagger and new wave hooks have made them a life favorite. It’s an album release show, so hopefully we have more of their gut-punch songs to look forward to. This bill also features Roz Raskin’s project Nova One.

Sat, Dec 22 at AS220

Please send music news to jbissaro@gmail.com

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