Wednesday 23 Apr

IndianGiver - Understudies

There’s a difference between being derivative and being inspired by something, a line a lot of artists can’t seem to find — or at least don’t care to.
04/22/2014 | Comments 0

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Good Grooming

Good Grooming

No jacket required as Grooms stroll down the aisle to deliver its dreamy, retooled rock sound.

Joshua Boydston March 16th, 2011

Grooms with Depth & Current and American Aquarium
9 p.m. Tuesday
Opolis, 113 N. Crawford, Norman, 820-0951

Credits: Angela Hodgkinson

A guitar, by itself, is an amazing and beautiful instrument, but for musical swashbucklers looking to explore and find new sonic treasures, effect pedals provide limitless prospects.

A true understanding of capabilities of guitar pedals figures in nicely with the distorted, effect-heavy alternative rock of three-piece Grooms, and when bandleader Travis Johnson found a side gig helping design and manufacture them, that knowledge went to a whole other level.

“In terms of knowing what things could or should sound like, in terms of possibilities, it definitely brings something to the table,” Johnson said. “When we were making our last record, I was just a lot more familiar with sounds we could make. There was such a greater understanding of how these sounds were formed and what could be formed.”

The buzzy Brooklyn band hit in Oklahoma several years before, when Grooms was still Norman alternative favorite The Muggabears. Johnson formed The Muggabears back home in Texas as a solo project before beefing it up with new members while attending the University of Oklahoma. New York City came a-callin’ after graduation, and he — along with bassist and Oklahoma native Emily Ambruso — made the move and shook things up.

“At some point, we got tired of the name,” Johnson said, “and decided to just make it into something new entirely.”

As a result, Grooms found a wider audience to appreciate its sound, a mixture of Sonic Youth meets No Age.

“Lately, we’ve been getting into making more dreamy, soothing sounds, less abrasive things. It’s still the same things in a lot of ways, but just applied differently. Less and less out there, and more melodic, maybe,” Johnson said. “We are kind of getting past the cool guitar work we thought we were doing. With this one, we focused more on vocal melodies, something that people would like to hear and sing along to. Even though that’s obvious, it’s something we’d never thought of before.”

Much of that has been tracked onto the band’s upcoming sophomore disc, “Prom,” which will see release in July, but will be previewed during the group’s trek to South by Southwest, with a pseudo-homecoming stop Tuesday night at Opolis on the way back. Johnson is cautiously optimistic that this album might be the one to break Grooms through, but mostly thrilled how it captured a new side of the group while staying true to the fierce, distorted tunes that got them here and how perfect the “Prom” moniker seemed to fit that.

“I didn’t initially see a tie there,” he said. “It was just a good, unclaimed name that we went with. But there’s that idea of it being something really romantic and kind of innocent … and magical, and if you look at horror movies, there’s this sort of nasty undercurrent to prom. So maybe it’s something pretty with something vicious underneath.”

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