The opening track on What Science Can’t Explain is so easy going that I found myself bopping along to it… and I don’t do that. I’m pretty stodgy as far as movement when it’s not one of my favorite bands. It’s like years worth of standing around staring at instrumental bands at Cave 9 and Boiler Room have set me on a course for nothing but toetapping for the rest of my show-going life.
The first single Silver Hands was nice. It was clearly electronic, vaguely Southern rock, grunge and pop wrapped up in one package, but I fell for its country-like rhyming scheme. Simplistic and easy to grab onto, yet self-depricating at the same time. Prefacing ANYTHING with “maybe I was born in a van” is gonna get me everytime.
Singer Ian Thomas McIntosh has an easygoing infectiousness I haven’t heard since Grouplove or Delta Spirit. The album goes in and out of different sounds and you find yourself wanting it to because you enjoy the waviness of it all. The wavy vocals are the common thread between dark postrock anthems and upbeat power pop. And like I said earlier, the guitar riffs could fit in comfortably at any Glory Fires show.
All these nice words from the same girl I described earlier. The anti-hippie rock, “PICK ONE SOUND” type of kid who hates how everyone’s sophomore album is experimental but ends up defining her favorite bands by that exactly. Except Onehundreds has gone through many incarnations over the past few years, so this is more of a mature sound at their coming out party. And it works very well.
Their first album, Unexpected Magic, sealed their poppy vibe but didn’t give it the smooth addictive quality that Michael Shackelford & Jamie Vance brought when they produced & mixed the new album, respectively. The same big time sound that the Grenadines first hailed is being carried by torchbearers of a completely different vibe.
I caught up with Beth Ragland, drummer for Onehundreds & Feather Canyon. Read it below.
BHAMFM: How long have you been making music with Onehundreds?
Beth: I have been with Onehundreds since the beginning of 2012. Their previous drummer had joined St. Paul and the Broken Bones and wanted to focus on that so then they approached me about joining. I already really liked a lot of their music so I decided to give it a shot.
BHAMFM: In previous bands you’ve played in, you also sang a little. How was it harmonizing on What Science Can’t Explain?
Beth: It was actually a lot more challenging then I am used to, but in a good way. Ian (our lead singer) has a great voice and on some of the songs he holds out notes for a really long time. I had to start “thinking like a horn player” and learn how to hold out all these long notes. I really like singing with Ian though.
BHAMFM: How long ago was the album recorded and where’d you guys do it?
Beth: We started recording the album in April of this year and finished up in October. We recorded at Tom’s Sound practice space with Michael Shackelford as our engineer. We had started practicing there and Michael was interested in trying to record some music in the space. It’s a great space because it has a larger warehouse space that gives a really big sound and then some smaller rooms for more intimate sounds. It was very much a DIY kind of approach towards the end. We finished up some songs, vocals and overdubs in our own practice space. We then sent it off to Jamie Vance to be mixed and mastered, who is a friend of Charlie’s and a wonderful sound engineer who is now based in Portland and L.A. He did a wonderful job and we’re thrilled with the end result.
BHAMFM: The band itself has been around for a while. How many shows have Onehundreds had with this particular lineup?
Beth: We have played 5 shows since I joined in 2012. Our last show was in June.
BHAMFM: What is your favorite thing to listen to and get inspired these days?
Beth: Well I always enjoy making mixes so there is a lot going on in those. Here is some new stuff that I’ve enjoyed lately: I really like the new Cults album Static and there are several songs on that album that I’m digging – I really like the whole thing. That Janelle Monáe song where she teamed up with Prince is in the regular rotation – Givin Em What They Love. Look that one up if you haven’t already, you won’t regret it. I’m a sucker for Prince. I really like Midlake’s new album Antiphon. It’s beautifully recorded and has captivating arrangements. I have also been digging on the new Blouse album Imperium. I saw them last year at Bottletree and didn’t know anything about them and they blew me away. Their previous album is also one of my favorites that has come out in the past few years. I like Foxygen’s album We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. What’s funny about them is that they blatantly rip off the styles of the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, ELO, but there’s something really charming about the way they do it. Like your little brother decided that one of your old favorite albums is now his favorite and he’s playing it for all his friends. A few other recent releases – Washed Out – Paracosm, Pond – Hobo Rocket, Arcade Fire – Reflektor, The Black Angels – Indigo Meadow, David Bowie – The Next Day, Casual Sex (it’s a band) – they’ve been releasing a lot of great singles on their Soundcloud, RJD2 – More Is Than Isn’t, My Bloody Valentine – mbv2…Other more random stuff that I’ve been into lately is Supertramp, specifically the album Breakfast in America. I discovered that my boyfriend had it on vinyl and it has been my favorite thing to put on while cooking or cleaning. Keith Cross & Peter Ross’s album Bored Civilians is one that Charlie shared with me and it is a beautiful 70s classic rock hidden gem. I really like Cosmonaut on Vacation’s album Let the Moment Land. Yay! A Birmingham band! I’ll end this there. Go check them out. Go check out Onehundreds too!
BHAMFM: Any thing you’d like to let folks know about What Science Can’t Explain?
Beth: The album is being released by Step Pepper Records (http://www.steppepper.com/) digitally, on CD and on vinyl at http://theonehundreds.bandcamp.com. We will have CDs available at the show on Friday but we also have a 180 gram translucent green vinyl available for pre-order at the show. If you pre-order it on record at the show and live in the Birmingham area Santa will hand deliver it to your door on the week of Christmas!