Art pop band Elk City shares ‘That Someone’, a song exploring the dual nature of self and other, excitement and dismay. The sound is vibrant, raw-edged, guitar-driven and maybe even a little scary. The shadow-laden accompanying video was filmed in New York City and Montclair, New Jersey, as well as edited by Ray Ketchem.
The first single from their forthcoming ‘Above the Water’ LP, opens a new chapter in the Montclair, New Jersey-based band’s evolutionary story, showcasing a new guitar-rich lineup featuring members of Versus, Luna and the Psychedelic Furs side-project Feed.
Elk City revolves around its founders, artist/vocalist Renee LoBue and producer/drummer Ray Ketchem. Ketchem’s Magic Door Recording studio is homebase, where the band creates their uniquely swirling dream pop for insomniacs.
‘That Someone’ and the full ‘Above the Water’ LP will be released via the new Magic Door Record Label, founded by Guided by Voices drummer Kevin March with Ketchem and LoBue. These three neighbors, collaborators and friends launched the label with a simple mission to release music created by the rich community of artists who surround them.
With a glimmering rock thread, ‘That Someone’ dishes up potent atmospheric pop with psychedelic undertones and overtones. Ketchem and LoBue’s co-pilots here are uniquely qualified for this high-flying task: twin rods of lightning in guitarists Sean Eden (Luna) and Chris Robertson (Feed, Punch Havana), and electrifying bass courtesy of Richard Baluyut (Versus).
Since 1999, Elk City has faced the omnipresent question: What does Elk City sound like? Given their output of 5 albums, 3 EPs and countless one-off tracks, the answer is ever evolving. But that’s a good thing, revealing an even deeper question:
What does Elk City feel like?
It feels pretty good, man. ‘That Someone’ is definitive in this regard: Like so many Elk City songs, it feels like it’s happening at night, and there’s a storm coming.
Opening with a riff akin to early Sleater-Kinney or ‘Loaded’-era Velvets, it quickly goes Blondie, then unleashes into the kind of full-fledged tornado that is uniquely Elk City.
“We’ve never used this much improv before,” says Renee LoBue of this initial single and the forthcoming album.
“The stuff you hear is happening in the moment, while tape was rolling,” says Ray Ketchem.
From there, Richard Baluyut became the band’s rehearsal tape archivist and obsessive editor, building out these rehearsal room jams into something completely different: The kind of elegantly crafted 3:30 pop songs that decades ago, bands would press onto a 12-inch, one to a side, almost as if to say, “Here’s a song you can get swept up in. Here’s a song about what it feels like to be alive.”
‘Above the Water’ was recorded, mixed and mastered at Ketchem’s Magic Door Recording, opened in 2017 as an acoustically lush refuge where musical expression and experimentation can unfurl. Ketchem, whose production credits include Guided By Voices, Luna, and Gramercy Arms, partnered with legendary studio designer George Augspurger to transform a cavernous warehouse into a freeform studio where vintage microphones, modern studio gear, and bespoke sound tuning elevate and inspire.
As of August 31, ‘That Someone’ will be available everywhere digitally, including Apple Music, Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify and Bandcamp, where the full album can already be pre-ordered. The ‘Above The Water’ LP will be released on October 21.