Neighborhood Theatre & MaxxMusic present


Roadkill Ghost Choir

Wed, June 21, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Neighborhood Theatre

Charlotte, NC

$10 adv/$12 dos

$3 Under 21 Surcharge at Door (Valid ID required for entry into venue. Under 18 permitted with parent.)

Accepted forms of ID: State Issued ID or Driver's License, Military ID, Passport.


Los Colognes - The Wave

“Only the living feel the flow/only the loving let it go”- Unspoken

One of the highest and rarest aspirations in popular music is to reach for the
transcendental, to access the spirit. On the third album “The Wave” by Nashville based Los Colognes, they succeed just this - in breaking through the confines of everyday pop song lyricism to tell a sort of holistic story. It’s not a concept piece, but it’s a brooding and still joyful song cycle filled with philosophical rumination, effortless hooks, inspiring musicianship, and expansive arrangements. It’s an album perfectly suited of the current zeitgeist of unease and hope.

“The Wave” is an album about archetypes and about the everyday. There are allusions to the Great Flood, to Plato’s Cave, to Poe, to the hero’s quest so iconically defined by Joseph Campbell. There are recurring metaphors about the water, about the vastness of the ocean and the delicate balance between riding the wave and being pulled under. There is struggle, there is dread, there is hope, there is ultimately the knowledge only gained by a journey. It’s an album about attempting to gain acceptance with the flow of adulthood, life in the music business, the
changing awareness that only time and maturity can hand to someone.

Guitarist/singer Jay Rutherford opines in the album’s initial single , “Flying Apart”
‘Nobody believed/We’re all just hoping/Floating down streams”. It’s a song that repeatedly invokes the wave metaphor of the album’s title while churning through its own sonic sea of shimmering keyboards and guitars anchored by drummer Aaron Mortenson. The music evokes any of the best moments of late seventies or mid eighties FM radio while never being weighed down by the specter of influence. Los Colognes are a young band who have managed to forge their own sound while channeling the best sonic worlds of the decades past.

Unlike the live approach used to record the group’s previous records, “The Wave” was
built from the ground up so to speak and with attention to each track, each part. There is a certain economy of space in the songs that feels deliberate while never ceasing to be warm and inclusive. Guitar and keyboard lines drift off each other in between lyrical exchanges while Mortenson propels the beat, sometimes meditative, sometimes driving. Each song passes into another with a thoughtful pause- a passing keyboard chord, a drone, a bit of noise, a breath before the next reflection. Like any fully realized album, there is a cyclical wholeness to it that beckons the listener not just to hear it in its entirety from the outset, but to hit ‘play’ again or lift the needle as soon as the last chord of “Can You Remember?” subsides.

Rutherford sings on “Can You Remember?” - ‘When you were young/there was a flood/almost drowned’, but with the understanding that the journey didn’t end in tragedy, we didn’t drown, we are still navigating the waters and with new perspective. The journey to finish the recording of “The Wave” was its own quest of sorts for Rutherford and Mortenson, a more deliberate process of creation and craft that shows a band becoming fully aware of its voice and its vision. As current events in the world breed anxiety and unease, as the accelerating paces of the hyper information age make it yet harder to deliver contemplative messages in the arts, and as we all struggle to accept the uncertainty and mystique of ‘living in the moment’, Los Colognes have given us a singular collection of quietly anthemic tunes, held together by philosophical reflection and damn fine rock and roll chops. The Wave is coming.
Roadkill Ghost Choir
Roadkill Ghost Choir
It’s been two years since Roadkill Ghost Choir has taken listeners on a ride. Last trip, Andrew Shepard (Vocals / Guitar), Zach Shepard (Bass), Maxx Shepard (Drums / Vocals), Stephen Garza (Guitar), and Kiffy Myers (Pedal Steel) packed the car, pedal to the metal, with a banjo, guitars, and the profound swelter of the South. With the upcoming arrival of False Youth Etcetera, the quintet outgrows their roots in a supersonic fashion – exchanging their known vehicles for an electrified, aspirational magic carpet ride that soars through the night sky versus the tireless trudge of clocking mileage on an odometer.

Coming off of a handful of challenging times, Andrew in particular was a bit hardened by his experiences on the road under pressure to deliver new songs. It’s no surprise False Youth Etcetera feels like a turn towards fantastical and anthemic escape compared to songs from the past. It’s immediately felt on the band’s first single, “Classics (Die Young),” which bends beautifully and purposefully in the direction of M83 than the group’s previous resonance to contemporary folk, based mainly in their choice of instruments to begin with.

“Going into [the band’s first major release] In Tongues, I was terrified because I had never written under such a pressured amount of time, and I had struggled with writer’s block for a good portion of that time. After the record was completed, I had my first full-on panic attack on tour in Houston during one of the worst tours we’ve ever been on,” notes Shepard. “The sandwich I was eating [before a gig] started to fall apart, and it felt symbolic of my current state. I immediately left the awful restaurant and found myself aimlessly walking around an unfamiliar city, feeling I had hit a wall both in my personal life and creatively within the band. That was a major seed for the record – the dread that informs life being in a band.”

Shepard was able to afford a more comfortable and inherently inspirational environment where his body of work for the band could flourish, and where he could feel closer to himself. He explains, “It ended up being the first time I didn’t have a timeline, so I went right back to that – me sitting and recording, getting ideas down, and navigating what I really wanted to do sonically and lyrically. False Youth Etcetera is more textural, more synths, more interesting.” Shepard is pointed in the departure from their familiar sounds, confirming “there is no banjo” on False Youth Etcetera. Instead, the new set of songs is “sonically, what I always wanted to do. I got to sit in my room in my underwear and play on synthesizers all day long figuring stuff out. We learned a lot more in the studio than ever before recording as a band, figure things out, and fully realize what we were going through.” This notion also shines through in the songwriting of False Youth Etcetera, the strength of which Shepard credits to his ability to “go through all [his] petty shit, sadness, take a deep dive, face it, reconcile it, and at the end, realize it’s not that bad.”

This desire to explore new musical terrain was only bolstered by Shepard’s adoration for similarly sonic explorations that feel like transport and transformation – felt in roots of influence like The War On Drugs, and Shepard’s longtime desire to “make a record that sounded like Springsteen if Neu! was his backing band. I think I listened to nothing but Springsteen for about a year… Songs like ‘Tougher than the Rest’ informed how I wanted to approach the record sonically. The great 80’s synths, and big drums, huge and covered in reverb. I’m drawn to it for some reason and I have no idea why.” This refreshed perspective and palette of inspiration, combined with the “comfort” and “centrality” of a new home base in the richly musical town of Athens, Georgia positions Roadkill Ghost Choir to brighten many corners as False Youth Etcetera unfurls to an audience waiting to sit shotgun wherever the path guides them next.

The album is a drive that picks up an impassioned pace – starting with the extended, hazy dream sequence of “Vision on Vision (Undo)” that will make Roadkill Ghost Choir faithfuls feel right at home; picking up the pace on the majorly pulsating “Dream Shiver;” later careening into the stunning peak of a starry, Kraftwerk-inspired, and multilayered journey called “Panik Kit.” The back half of False Youth Etcetera is masterful aural poetry – from the soaring liberation of “Sad Magic,” the impassioned yearning of “Suit Said Sing,” to the lilted, sweet conclusion, “Out of Existence,” so clearly and beautifully delivering the group to a whole new illuminating, electric terrain.
Venue Information:
Neighborhood Theatre
511 East 36th Street
Charlotte, NC, 28205