Thursday, June 13, 2013

Overseas...another super group of relative unknowns

I seem to be inordinately fond of the Kadane brothers various projects...Bedhead, obviously, but also the New Year, Macha, Consonant and, probably, two or three others I can't remember at the moment. Anyway, I was excited about the new Overseas album, since it's Matt and Bubba, plus David Bazan (I interviewed Bazan, BTW, a year or so ago for PopMatters) and Will Johnson of Centro-Matic and South San Gabriel. The album is really quite good and it's odd, because of the two singers, I think Johnson does the best job melting into the overall aesthetic, but Bazan's songs are odder, more abrasive and, because of that, more interesting. My review ran yesterday at Blurt.



Overseas collects the restless, subtly shifting energies of four individuals, two of them the Kadane brothers from Bedhead and the New Year, one Seattle’s rough-housing spiritualist David Bazan, the other Will Johnson, the ghostly Texan murmurer of Centro-Matic and South San Gabriel.

The four are connected by criss-crossing ties of touring and playing together over the years, but the main node of intersection seems to run through the Undertow Orchestra, a collaboration between Bazan, Johnson, Vic Chesnutt and Mark Eitzel of American Music Club. It was shortly after Chesnutt’s death in 2009 that Overseas first convened. All four of the new band’s members had been affected, in one way or another, by the songwriter’s life, work and passing, all four looked to the Orchestra’s model of shared songwriting and equal contribution as a way to work together.

The album took about three years to finish, working from sketches and jams into the fully-realized songs. Bubba Kadane played mostly guitar, his brother Matt a variety of instruments – guitar piano, drums – Johnston played drums and guitar, and David Bazan picked up the bass. Even so, it has a casual, lived-in grace, a happily accidental quality of four rather different sensibilities fitting together without losing their own shapes.


Overseas "Ghost To Be" from Undertow on Vimeo.

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