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Since their last record, an eight-song EP titled Miniature Stallion, dropped in the summer of 2008, the band has been signed to a label, toured twice, and cut a new album. Their latest project, Gold, set to be released this Saturday, is a full-length LP that is, much like the band themselves, quirky and eclectic.
Some songs sound like they were made in the '80s, with dominating synth, mechanical, repetitive drumming, and an overall larger-than-life quality. Others are very pretty and petite, featuring acoustic guitar and catchy, lighthearted pop.
They also span the spectrum in terms of content. The song "Ariel Pacific" is, in fact, about the Little Mermaid, and "Transmogrification," an older song re-recorded for Gold, references the surreal shape-shifting hinted at in the title.
The band, which is fronted by Elmo Kirkwood, the son/nephew of the Meat Puppets brothers, is known for, among other things, their lo-fi DIY home recordings, production, and packaging. For this project, they spent some time in the studio (at Jalipaz Nelson's local Audioconfusion). The difference shows in the final product. The band's sound is becoming markedly more polished and likely to appeal to a larger audience.
"The quality of the recordings really helped bring out the essence of the songs, which has been hard for us to pin down in the past," said Kirkwood. "We did keep to our roots somewhat, though, in that we did most of the tracking in first or second takes and completed recording and mixing the whole album in what totaled at about six full days."
While that is no small task, their Springfield, Missouri-based indie label, DC-Jam, which typically signs punk outfit such as JFA, has been helpful.
At a time when many are considering whether or not it's worthwhile to even try to get signed, Kirkwood has only positive things to say about it.
"Darron Hemann [the president of DC-Jam] is super-supportive and very artist-friendly. We have been provided with press opportunities that I just wouldn't have been able to work myself, as well as having some real promotion, marketing, and distribution behind what we are doing. I would definitely encourage bands to find a nice indie label that wants to work with them. Make sure you're getting what you deserve out of it. That's ultimately why we decided to release with a label. The benefits and opportunities have been great, and I'm looking forward to working this album together [with the label]."
Though the band went on tour toward the end of last year, it plans to be on the road again this summer in support of its latest endeavor. And whether it was egotism, optimism, or just irony, Kirkwood Dellinger can boast about their new Gold record.