DFW Music News

Meet Abacus, Ourselves and Melting Season, The Three Most Recent of Mom's Offspring

No DC9 in SPACE filming tonight--and, because of some technical errors on our part, no DC9 in SPACE episode to share before the end of the day today either (although, once it's ready in a few hours, we'll have last week's episode up on the blog for your viewing pleasure).

Our missing out on tonight's taping, though? Well, that's a hell of a shame--especially since tonight's episode had the potential to be a real good one.

In fact, the plan was actually to film two episodes this evening: One with Sleep Whale, the much-loved instrumental band formerly known as Mom, which is gearing up for the release of its new record (with vocals!), Houseboat; and a second set, this one from Sunnybrook, the project from Sleep Whale member Paul North, younger brother of Sleep Whale founder Joel North.

Unfortunately, both bands had to back out of tonight's taping at the last minute, and we weren't able to find a suitable replacement in time (although, between you and me, we were on the verge of somehow scoring quite the replacement coup at the last minute...but that's neither here nor there.) Either way, we're sorry--for your sake and for ours--that we won't be able to film these bands tonight. Especially because, really, there's something kinda crazy special about what's going on with Sleep Whale at the moment--all four of its members, actually.

See, all four current members of Sleep Whale--Paul North, Joel North, Bruce Blay and Spencer Stephenson--are all also currently working on own solo projects. And here's the crazy part: All four of the solo projects are pretty good--maybe good enough to put the ol' "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" idiom to rest...

In total, these four musicians account for five bands--Sleep Whale (of course), Sunnybrook, Blay's Melting Season project, the elder North's Ourselves, and Stephenson's Abacus.

And to hear each of them, well, is truly a study in how each member contributes to the band title they al share. Certainly, by now, you should already be familiar with Sleep Whale (hear "Cotton Curls," the first single off Houseboat  streaming on the band's MySpace page) and Sunnybrook.

Pitchfork, meanwhile, has been geeking out about Melting Season and Abacus already. Check out these streams for a taste...

And then there's Ourselves, which, actually, is a solo project that Joel North started prior to the release of Mom's great debut EP, Little Brite. For a taste, we recommend "a happy arch for Royal," currently streaming on the act's MySpace page.

With each of these acts' outputs, you can hear the same core ingredients: ambient vocals, lo-fi production and intricate instrumentations filled with plenty of found sounds--long a staple of Sleep Whale's. And yet each takes the same ingredients off in different directions: Sunnybrook creates lo-fi folk-pop; Melting Season creates psychedellic folktronica; Abacus offers up lo-fi, ambient electro-pop; Ourselves, meanwhile, revels in a beautifully musical instrumental realm similar to Mom's initial output. Sleep Whale, meanwhile combines these all into an ambient indie folk-rock amalgamation.

Hopefully, upon Sleep Whale's return from its upcoming west coast tour, we'll be able to land the band back on our DC9 in SPACE taping schedule--and, by proxy, maybe we'll be able to shoot some or all of its members' projects, too. We'll let you know once we've confirmed anything on that front.

In the meantime, catch a free, Gutterth-presented CD release show for a limited run of 100 copies of Ourselves' new four-track, self-titled release on Friday night at J&J's Pizza in Denton. Joel North will play the new album in order, in its entirety, at the show, and--no surprise here--he'll be joined on the bill by Melting Season and Sunnybrook. Of course, he will.

As for DC9 in SPACE? Well, after 26 straight weeks of filming, we're taking the night off. We'll be back, filming a new episode next Wednesday night, though, again welcoming one of the latest and greatest acts from Denton into our confines. Maybe we'll see you there.

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman