Tuesday 22 Jul
 
 

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
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Papal state


Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em! Smoking Popes do. Having survived the alt-rock fallout, they ironically enjoy playing to audiences more now than the ’90s.

Joshua Boydston July 20th, 2011

Smoking Popes with The Fellowship Students and They Stay Dead
8 p.m. Tuesday
The Conservatory
8911 N. Western
conservatoryokc.com, 607-4805
$10

Pop-punk band Smoking Popes formed a full two decades ago. To still be playing music is the last thing lead singer Josh Caterer ever expected.


“I don’t know that I ever thought about what I’d be doing 20 years later when we started this band,” he said. “You always think you are going to be dead, and then it turns out you aren’t dead, so you have to figure out what you are going to do. I’m just glad I’m still alive.”

They’ve done more than just survive; although not a household name, Smoking Popes inspired many groups that are. Fall Out Boy and Alkaline Trio both hold the Chicago-based quartet up as the act that inspired them to form. Green Day, Morrissey and Jimmy Eat World were also admirers. They inked a deal with Capitol Records in 1994 before deciding that pressure didn’t suit them.

“We were and always have been an indie band,” Caterer said. “It just took us some time on a major label to realize that.”

Soon after that departure, Caterer converted to Christianity and left the group, feeling that the two lifestyles couldn’t co-exist. Smoking Popes disbanded in early 1999.

“Because I didn’t grow up in church, I didn’t have any previous familiarity with that faith. It was a shock to my system. I couldn’t conceive of my life up to that point being compatible with moving forward as a follower of Christ. There was some conflict there, for me.” Caterer said. “It took a few years to get established and realize I was mature enough to play in a rock band without compromising my faith.”

The band reformed in 2005, and oddly enough, that extended break is probably the biggest contributing factor to the longevity Smoking Popes enjoys today.

“Taking the break helped me to get my life in perspective and to be a happier and more productive person. It helped us enjoy what we were doing,” Caterer said. “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

Smoking Popes has released four albums — all on small, indie labels — in just six years, including its latest, “This Is Only a Test.” Despite being more than a few years removed from adolescence, Caterer wrote it through the perspective of a teenage boy dealing with finding his identity,.

“The process of writing this record was exhilarating to me. It was freeing to have a concept to contain the writing,” Caterer said. “It made the writing feel like it had direction.”

The group will re-release its seminal LP, 1995’s “Born to Quit,” soon, and plans for another new album are in the works. No end is in sight, unless the group works itself to death.

“We used to complain about touring because it’s hard, but now we love it. It hasn’t gotten easier; we’ve just realized the stuff we like about it is a lot bigger than what we don’t,” Caterer said. “I like the fact that we will go somewhere and set up our instruments and people will pay to see us play. It’s hard not to take that for granted.”

 
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