You don't find too many indie-rock bands these days that talk up their proggy side. Even groups that have such inclinations tend to dismiss them outright or wave them off as something else. Not Call Me Constant. The Cleveland quartet's epic new "Chiaroscuro" is named after a shading technique in art that adds depth through the use of dark and light. There are time shifts, a weighty middle section, and classical-sounding horns going on throughout the song's seven winding minutes. "The instrumentation has gotten more involved and complicated," admits singer and guitarist Stephen Mlinarcik. "We all play different instruments. It just made sense to harness those talents and put them in in a way that complements the songs but doesn't exploit them."
"Chiaroscuro" is one-half of Veins, a new split EP with the Louisville, Kentucky band Don Dehlia. (The other group gets two songs because Call Me Constant's runs so long.) "It seems like a fitting title," says Mlinarcik. "Musically and lyrically, the song bounces around the dark." Call Me Constant will release the EP on Thursday at the Beachland.
The band is wrapping up its full-length debut, The Sun, the Moon, the Dark, the Dawn, which should be out in March. Mlinarcik says it's loaded with glockenspiel, brass, and even accordions. Positively proggy! "We're definitely expanding our sound," he says. "We still have that pop-punk element of verse-chorus-verse-chorus, but it's slowly developed into section one to section two to section three to section four. It's far more progressive, and I don't fear that."
THE ALBINI CONNECTION:
Steve Albini — the once-volatile, now-mellow recording engineer who helped shape classic albums by the Pixies, PJ Harvey, and Nirvana — recently wrapped work on two local records coming out in the next couple of months. First up is Cloud Nothings' second full-length, Attack on Memory, which releases on January 24; Unpleasant Companion, by Youngstown's Asleep, comes out on February 7. Both albums are really good, and both bear Albini's trademark live-in-the-studio buzzsaw sound — not too surprising, since the Chicago audio nerd never takes a producer credit, preferring instead to be called an engineer. The implication is that he just sorta sits in the control booth and presses "play," giving little advice to the bands he works with. Turns out that's about right, according to members of Cloud Nothings and Asleep. As for why two Northeast Ohio bands will be releasing Albini albums within weeks of each other? "He'll work with anyone," shrugs Cloud Nothings frontman Dylan Baldi.
SERIOUSLY, THEY'RE BIG IN GERMANY: It's not just for metal bands hoping to make it big. Last March, Akron indie-psych rockers Simeon Soul Charger moved to Germany, where they recently showed up on a TV show playing some songs, showing off their home, and sitting down for an interview with the German host who's apparently allowed to say "fuck" on television. (Search YouTube for "Simeon Soul Charger on SÜDWILD" to see the entire 23-minute program.) The band is currently working in the Bavarian countryside on its new album, a concept record that should be out sometime this year.