Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the fourth day of our third annual year-end daily countdown, 100 Bands in 100 Days, where every day until December 31st, we’re showcasing a new band or artist you have to know about, presented by Verity Credit Union. Follow the #100Bands100Days hashtag on Twitter to stay on top of all the bands featured and make sure to follow Verity on Twitter as well. Some days the featured act could be an accomplished (but still definitively northwest) local musician that perhaps you haven’t been turned onto yet, and other times they could be a band with a small following that just hasn’t had their deserved time in the sun yet. On this Monday morning, we’d like to take things to the trippier side of Seattle, to tell you all about one of its most enveloping names, Evening Bell.
A local quintet with a wealth of experience and songwriting chops, Evening Bell is one of the best bands in Seattle that take the sounds of old-school country and roots music and then updates it for modern tastes. The band’s members have had prolific upbringings on their own, with its two lead singer-songwriters, Hart Kingsbery and Caitlin Sherman, having played in and collaborated with various other Seattle-based projects, including Davidson Hart Kingsbery (Hart’s solo project), the now-defunct alternative pop outfit Slow Skate, and electronic music producer Lusine. While you can pick up traces of these other projects in Evening Bell’s music, their main focus is evenly and distinctly blurring the line between the surreal, mind-expanding world of neo-psychedelia, and the more mannered world of roots music.
Saloon-ready twangy guitar and piano phrases that give off serious western/desert vibes may not be what you would expect to hear supplemented with subtly kaleidoscopic effects and beautifully-married dual vocal melodies (like you might find on the more drug-addled Beatles records), but every aspect of Evening Bell’s music is perfectly realized, and is performed with elegance and extreme attention to detail. This winning musical crossroads is best showcased on Evening Bell’s debut studio album, Dying Stars, released in August of this year. One of Dying Stars‘ best qualities you can pick up on with a first listen is its carefully-controlled sense of scope and soundcraft. The record has a bold presentation, and the grand space opened up by its effects-laden instruments leaves a lot of room for Kingsbery and Sherman to harmonize gracefully over the alluring instrumental accompaniment. The efforts of acclaimed percussionist Jason Merculief and bassist Aaron Harmonson aren’t to be downplayed, however, as their rhythmic backing offers some additional color to the mix, with Harmonson’s sturdy bass-lines and Merculief’s often upbeat and head-nodding drumming.
If you’ve not yet experienced the sounds of Evening Bell, take some time to be alone with the record, with no distractions. Get some nice headphones, sit by yourself, and let the magic of Evening Bell whisk you away into a better place.
You can follow Evening Bell on Facebook and on Twitter @EveningBellBand. Dying Stars is available digitally through iTunes and Amazon. Watch the music video for “Tail Light” off the LP below via YouTube. Watch their Live on KEXP in-studio session here.