Calhoun (Fort Worth): In February, I wandered into Bass Propulsion Labs in Dallas to visit its house producers; I had time to kill and was trolling for ideas for Unfair Park entries (the blog would launch a few weeks later). Nobody answered the door, so I let myself in, and when I walked into the smaller of the recording rooms, I could see why. BPL co-founder Toby Pipes was working with Calhoun lead singer and songwriter Tim Locke on a rough mix of a brand-new song. I said hi and walked in with trepidation, having never been a particular fan of Calhoun's straightforward, no-risks pop-rock, but within minutes, I found myself shocked. The song could have been a skeleton version of Locke's ultimate vision--layered keyboards, vocals, some electric guitar buried way back in the mix--but at that moment, the song sounded perfect.
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The early mix of "Summer/Winter" gave focus to Locke's lonely, midnight vocals and had a chilling, arctic effect that turned the catchy song into something special. Excited, I immediately asked if that was the final version; when they answered in the negative, I said, "You better not add any damn guitars to that." Locke agreed, insisting that he was taking the album in a different direction than the material I'd heard previously at Club Dada concerts and the like. That's not to say Calhoun will be a wholly transformed band come April 9, but its take on pop-rock is at least broadening in a positive way on the band's forthcoming record, which was just shipped off to mastering today, according to Pipes. I'll have to wait two weeks after WoSF for the CD release show at the Cavern on April 21 and see whether the mix I heard was preserved or whether they decided to "rock" it up. Hopefully, cooler heads prevailed. Arctic ones, even. -Sam Machkovech