Calm Blue: One Loud Conversation
story by tim mcmahan
Lazy-i: February 25, 2004
Bright Calm Blue
w/Her Flyaway Manner, Gnome Slaughterhouse
Feb 27, 9 p.m.
13th & Martha
It's only fitting that Lincoln's Bright Calm Blue will be sharing
the stage with fellow Lincoln act Her Flyaway Manner this Friday at Sokol Underground.
BCB's lead guitarist Dustin Wilbourn credits HFM's Brendan McGinn as an inspiration
for his band's gritty, shimmering, jangular indie sound.
a very big influence, especially on our guitar parts," Wilbourn said.
and his band, along with Wilbourn and BCB, were among the flock of performers
that shared the same practice space in Lincoln's Haymarket, a plywood-partitioned
basement near 8th and R streets sometimes referred to as The Garage. It's where
the five original members of Bright Calm Blue first got together nearly four years
had been an artist space until the bands took over," Wilbourn said. "There
were four bands per room, about 15 or 20 bands in all."
bands, including Happy Dog, Square, Dr. Solo, Wastoid, Scientific Method and Seasick
Bob, that Wilbourn says have influenced BCB's blaring sound. "Since we all
practiced in the same basement, we constantly were hearing new ideas from our
friends," he said.
But none were as influential as Caulfield recording
artist Her Flyaway Manner. When it came time for BCB to record its recent 6-song
EP, they brought in HFM's McGinn to sit behind the soundboard at Presto! Studios
during the 3-day recording marathon.
"We had already recorded a 5-song
demo with Brendan on a laptop using Pro Tools," Wilbourn said. "Our
label, Level Plane, had been talking to us before we had sent out the demos and
asked us to do an EP. So we wrote one more song and squeezed in three days at
Presto!, recording the instruments one day and vocals the next. Brendan mixed
all six songs on the final day. Level Plane was paying for it, so we were trying
to get it done cheap."
The final product, A Direct Approach for
Casual Conversation, is pure punk buzzsaw highlighted by gnawing, pulsing,
syncopated guitars and two guys taking turns howling their cynical observations
about life, relationships, politics, the usual stuff. Pegged as emo, screamo and
post-hardcore, A Perfect Approach
garnered a 4-star review by indie rock
bible, All Music Guide.
we all practiced in the same basement, we constantly were hearing new ideas from
seems more intimate compared to Omaha. But it's our hometown, so it's obviously
going to seem that way."
labels, however, are a tricky fit for these guys. The EP's almost fast enough
to be filed under "hardcore" except that there's way too much melody.
On the other hand, the CD is almost grinding enough to fit with the metal stuff,
except that their songs are too smart and never wander into metal's dimwitted
drop-D minor-key monster movie territory. Plus, call it what you want, these guys
actual sing, sort of, using their voices as screeching counterpoints to the chug-chug-chugging
Credit the rhythm section -- bassist Austin Skiles and
drummer Javid Dabestani -- for the CD's variety and dynamics. They're never content
with any one style, alternating between straight-on bashing and pulsing back-beat
grooves. Both handle the majority of the vocals as well, taking over after original
lead singer Ian Whitmore left the band just before they began recording A Direct
Guitarist/keyboardist Michael Bredehoft rounds out the four-piece.
With the help of strong distribution and aggressive print and radio promotion,
A Direct Approach
cracked the College Music Journal charts at 120
and has almost sold out its first pressing, Wilbourn said. Not bad, considering
their limited touring experience that included a brief romp along the East Coast.
The band plans a Midwest jaunt during spring break, touring with Virginia's Order
of the Dying Orchid.
Look for a few more Omaha shows as well, though Wilbourn
says he prefers playing in the capital city. "Lincoln seems more intimate
compared to Omaha," he said. "But it's our hometown, so it's obviously
going to seem that way. They're both great."
With three of the four
members finishing up their degrees at UNL, there isn't much time for more elaborate
road work, but Wilbourn says all four will rock full-time as soon as the diplomas
are in hand. "We'll begin recording our full-length either in late spring
or after our tour this summer, but nothing's set in stone."
in The Omaha Reader Feb. 25, 2004. Copyright © 2004 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.