Tag Archives: Under the Radar

Check ‘Em Out: Airpark

Last month, Nashville-based alternative pop/rock duo Airpark released their debut EP Early Works, Volume 1 via Eugenia Hall Records. The band is on tour now, with upcoming dates in NYC, Boston, New Orleans, Nashville and more (full list below).

The band just premiered their video for “Plenty To Pine For” at Under The Radar, who said “The brothers face off in the manner they typically create, with Michael Ford Jr. on drums and singing with an alley cat rasp similar to Spoon’s Britt Daniel and Ben playing guitar in tight lock with the slugging drum beat and lending falsetto accents.”

Inspired by minimalism, melody and groove-heavy percussion, bandmates Michael Ford, Jr. and Ben Ford launched the group in 2016, one year after their previous project The Apache Relay quietly called it quits. The Apache Relay had been a large band, staffed with six members and armed with a thick, wall-of-sound approach. With Airpark, the Ford brothers sharpen their focus and scale back their arrangements, offering songs that pack a punch with bold, basic ingredients. So far the band has been embraced by BaebleAmerican SongwriterLockeland SpringsteenWYEPConan O’Brien’s Team CoCo, and more.

Raised in New Orleans, the Fords grew up surrounded by music, from the Crescent City’s jazz to the soul of Irma Thomas and Allen Touissant. Later while living in Nashville, the two rekindled the music connection they’d kick-started back home, finding popularity as The Apache Relay performed alongside the likes of Jenny Lewis, Mumford & Sons and more. Michael and Ben move at a deliberately different speed with Airpark, thus finding new musical territory to explore.

Taking their cues from a wide set of influences — the rhythmic world music of Tinariwen and Lijadu Sisters; the production of Air, Damon Albarn, and Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel; the tenor vocal range of Big Star’s Alex Chilton and Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, with the occasional pop crooner delivery of Harry Nilsson — the two unveil their new direction with Airpark’s debut EP, Early Works, Volume 1.

It’s a sound that targets the feet and the head. It’s pop music for thinkers. It’s dance music for wallflowers. And with the brothers pulling triple-duty as songwriters, multi-instrumentalists, and co-producers, Early Works, Volume 1 is their most forward-thinking project to date, pairing the band’s growing ambition with musical chops to match.

Tour Dates:
4/24 Indianapolis, IN – The Hi-Fi
4/25 Columbus, OH – Rumba Cafe
4/27 Tupelo, MS – Blue Canoe
4/28 Jackson, TN – Barefoots Joe
4/29 Columbia, TN – Variety Records
5/4 Shreveport, LA – Day Old Blues Records
5/6 New Orleans, LA – House Of Blues
5/9 Boston, MA – Middle East Upstairs
5/10 Brooklyn, NY – Gold Sounds
5/11 New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall
5/13 Albany, NY – Parish Public House
5/14 Providence, RI – Fete Lounge
5/16 Burlington, VT – Light Club Lamp Shop
5/17 Kennett Square, PA – Kennett Flash
5/19 Lexington, KY – Willie’s Locally Known
5/20 Nashville, TN – Capitol District Street Fair
6/9 Knoxville, TN – Preservation Pub
6/10 Nashville, TN – Musicians Corner
6/17 Lawrence, KS – The Bottleneck
7/14 Cincinnati, OH – The Comet
7/15 Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe
7/20 Durham, NC – The Pinhook
8/19 Omaha, NE – Barley Street Tavern
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Check ‘Em Out: Midnight Faces

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Listen: Midnight Faces – “This Time”

The Fire Is Gone is the second album by Los Angeles-based duo Midnight Faces, comprised of vocalist Philip Stancil and composer Matthew Doty of Saxon Shore, the pioneering instrumental post-rock band founded by Doty and Josh Tillman aka Father John Misty.

Scheduled for release on May 13th, the album is the follow-up to 2013’s debut Midnight Faces release Fornication, which despite Doty’s astute reminder that “‘Indie’ and ‘80’s’ are not genres,” reminded folks fondly enough of those sounds to draw the attention of MTV Buzzworthy and MTV Hive along with popular and influential music discovery websites such as Under The RadarMy Old Kentucky BlogEarmilk, and Baeblemusic among others.

To better understand what The Fire Is Gone is, please understand what it isn’t: No fancy producers, no big name special guests, no one wearing robot costumes, no all-analog studio, and no songs recorded live to tape.

“We made this album by ourselves and for ourselves,” Doty says. “We made it in my apartment on a computer one track at a time. If you dig the tunes, cool. If you don’t, that’s cool, too.”  Fair enough, but there’s a damn good chance you’ll be landing in the camp of the former.

Still, Doty asserts, “Just what L.A. needs –another fucking 80’s new wave band, right?” Well, no. But when the songs are as good as what Midnight Faces is cranking out, perhaps the listener should be the ultimate judge of that? In fact, The Fire Is Gone is an even more evolved take on the sound that Doty and Stancil already had pretty damn near perfect.

“We laid the drum and bass line fairly quickly, but were unsure where to go next for a while,” Doty explains of “This Time,” the latest track from The Fire Is Gone recently premiered via The Onion A.V. Club. “And when I say a while, I mean like 30 minutes.  I think we took a break to go watch ‘Shark Tank’ or something.  Uhh, I mean have a beer and a cigarette.  When we came back, Phil started whistling with a bunch of reverb on it.  It just seemed to hit the spot.”

Midnight Faces Live

05/01 Hollywood, CA @ Spare Room @ Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
05/10 San Francisco, CA @ Milk Bar w/ We Will Be Lions, Owenstone
05/13 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar w/ New Young Pony Club, We Are Sirens
05/21 Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater Record Release Show

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Tracklist:

  1. Wake Me
  2. Over Again (STREAM)
  3. Shadows
  4. Hold Tight
  5. This Time (STREAM)
  6. Give It Up
  7. Animal
  8. The Fire Is Gone

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