A Decent Animal
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A Decent Animal

Band Rock Americana


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Quiet Evolution"

Quiet Evolution
BY: Sara Miller
Just on the scene, A Decent Animal present a different sound
A Decent Animal
w/ Green Milk from the Planet Orange
Sat. June 18
9 p.m.
Redux Contemporary Art Center
136 St. Philip St.
722 -0697
Musicians, much like words, can take on entirely different personae depending on the context. If you’ve ever seen Telegram, the words “mellow” and “acoustic” are probably not the first to come to mind.

However, both words apply heartily to A Decent Animal, the two-man band comprised of Telegram members Richard Weld and Jonathan Nicholson. After performing as A Decent Animal for the first time at January’s Pieces of Sanity event at the Humanities Center, Weld and Nicholson realized that they’d stumbled into something more than just a side project.

“This outfit has been one of the most natural things,” Nicholson says. “It hasn’t been a whirlwind, like in a band, where you’re concerned about labels and tours. A Decent Animal happened and it was like a vacation. Here it is a few months later and we’ve got 10 or 11 songs already.”

“Every time we play somewhere, we leave with big smiles on our faces,” Weld adds.

So far, A Decent Animal haven’t played the same place twice, choosing instead to go the nontraditional route — they’ve performed at Pieces of Sanity, in Marion Square during Spoleto, at a birdhouse show at the Aquarium, at a Christian college in Asheville, the Spinster Trunk Show reception at the cozy Poe Studio ... and less exotic locales like the Village Tavern and Cumberland’s.

Their sound is simple and straightforward: acoustic guitar and sometimes bass, with Weld and Nicholson sharing vocal duties. Both of them have excellent voices that tend to get buried under electronic amplification when they’re playing with their “rock” groups (Weld also plays with Genrevolta and the Richard Weld Experience), and they blend together beautifully.

“We started up this group because we both had songs that maybe just didn’t fit with a group and we didn’t want them to get lost or pushed under the rug,” Nicholson says. “We’re working on some dual vocals, trying to work together to use our voices almost as another instrument.”

With their hard-rock pedigrees, it may seem incongruous, but A Decent Animal have a sound similar to that of quiet independent acts like Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Will Oldham, and Sufjan Stevens. Weld and Nicholson recently spent some time recording at Fusion Five studios and plan to have an EP out “whenever it’s completed,” Nicholson says. “Hopefully soon.”

Indeed, as Weld is getting ready to take a paternity leave from his rock ’n’ roll duties; his radiant wife Amanda is due in about three weeks, so Weld fans take note: this will be your last chance to catch him for a while, and in the perfectly intimate setting of Redux.

“We’re gonna put together some theatrics with props for this show,” Nicholson says. “It’s not just two guys sitting around playing acoustic guitars.”

“I can’t wait for this Redux show,” Weld says. “It’s nice to play different places every time ... and I get to sing and play guitar, which I don’t ever get to do. It’s like, therapeutic. People get that vibe from it, and it’s amazing.”

- Charleston City Paper

"rabbit hole ep review"

The mellow, six-song disc recently released by local band, A Decent Animal, makes apparent the notion that its not necessary for music to be complicated to be good. Richard Weld introduces the album with the bass line of Bird, and continues to implement the electric bass, along with Jonathan Nicholsons acoustic guitar, to create a nearly haunting effect throughout the remainder of The Rabbit Hole EP. Maintaining integrity with thoughtful, loosely substantial lyrics, Nicholson wails on songs like Adell where the demonstrated fusion of his and Welds voices is sometimes chilling. The sixth song and title track, Rabbit Hole, kicks it up a notch with a full drum kit and a jazzy baritone sax. Adopting similar concepts pioneered by the credible Tom Waits, a Decent Animal provides a unique layering of instruments and sounds that sometimes follow no specific rhyme or reason. Embracing such concepts, the music remains simple and slightly unpolished at times, spotted with dangling sounds and missed notes [that arguably add only to the appeal of the album]. Consequently, the EP exhibits the refreshing rawness and purity that render ADAs music, not merely decent, but lovely and unique.

Jamie Resch - charleston city paper


Posted on MARCH 29, 2006:

A Decent Animal (literally) get arty

By T. Ballard Lesemann

A Decent Animal w/ Pyramid, Clint4 Sat. April 1 9 p.m.
$10 ($15 includes a new CD) Cumberland's 301 King St.
In a grand display of visual and aural expression, Charleston trio A Decent Animal celebrate the release of their six-song mini-album, The Rabbit Hole EP, this week with a multi-media art show/concert at Cumberland's.

"We're covering the walls on the day of the show," says Richard Weld, guitarist and bassist. "Clint4 will sort of provide the background sounds for the opening and throughout the evening, along with music from Pyramid and us. The idea is to have about 10 new pieces of work from various local and regional artists that were all 'inspired' by the music on the CD. There's also a tap dancer and a few other treats."

Among the featured artists are Kevin Taylor, Chris Wyrick, Fumiha, Seth Cort, Adrienne Antonson, Julio Cotto, Johnny Pundt, and Kelly Brat — all of whom contributed paintings and drawings "inspired" by the music on the disc.

Weld and singer/guitarist Jonathan Nicholson — both longtime bandmates in local post-punk rock band Telegram — only recently solidified their current band's lineup with the addition of drummer George Baerreis (formerly with Matter and the Georgia-based band Bain Mattox). All three musicians have always been original, uncompromising, and highly regarded in local critic circles. They all look forward to performing as a unit and sharing the stage with like-minded musical artists this weekend.

Charlotte-based ensemble Pyramid formed in N.C. eight years back with the idea of creating a unique atmosphere within a familiar acoustic pop setting. Singer-guitarists Joey Stephens and Ben Best, string player Ben Kennedy, horn player and keyboardist Kris Baucom, horn player Brent Bagwell, bassist Tyler Baum, drummer Chris Walldorf, and accordion player and trombonist Ryan Blaine recently released their debut album, The First American, and scored the film The Foot Fist Way, directed by Jody Hill, which premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival in January.

"Pyramid are truly amazing," says Weld. "I hope folks will come out, show support for us, and show Pyramid some nice Charleston love."

Pyramid's drummer Chris Walldorf is a self-trained sound engineer who began building a custom-made studio at his home in Charlotte a few years ago. He now calls the facility Sioux Sioux Studio (ha!). While Walldorf doesn't work as a full-time engineer at the studio, he does get to pick and choose his sessions — one of which was A Decent Animal.

"Richard and Jonathan had done some recording already, but weren't quite happy with the sounds as a duo," says Walldorf of his session with A Decent Animal. "They asked me to play drums and I thought it was going to be a low-key, brushes type thing. As we worked on the tunes, it evolved into a full drum kit situation."

Weld and Nicholson only recently solidified their current band's lineup with the addition of Baerreis. It's a bold move ahead toward a fuller, more textured sound ... and it's not necessarily a "rock" sound, either.

Last spring, Telegram (Nicholson, Weld, singer-guitarist Eric Brantley, and drummer Mike Besta) released a five-song, self-titled EP recorded at Babylemonade Studios. It marked the beginning of a hiatus for the band, during which Weld took a paternity leave from his rock duties when he and his wife Amanda welcomed the arrival of their son Henry (the toddler is featured on the band's web page as a "decent animal, himself"). The hiatus also marked the semi-official launch of A Decent Animal.

"When we started, it was mainly songs that were real simple," says Weld. "We started doing the songs that Telegram probably would do — songs with more vocal harmonies and acoustic guitar parts. Really quiet, laid-back stuff. As we played and started to feel like a real band, we filled it out a little bit by bringing the electric bass in and more. We started considering recording with horns and organ and other instruments. Now, we have new songs that are ready to record that sound totally different from what we did a year ago. It's different from anything Jonathan or I have ever done musically."

The trio pressed 360 copies of The Rabbit Hole EP with the hopes of getting some exposure and connections. They'll be available at the show, at Monster, and at 52.5 Records this week. Curious locals can grab an inexpensive copy at the Cumberland's show as part of the ticket price ($15 gets a disc and admittance).

A Decent Animal also perform outside of Max Jerome at 45 John St. during the designer shop's "sidewalk sale" on Thurs. March 30 at 5 p.m.

- charleston city paper


the rabbit hole ep (2006)


Feeling a bit camera shy


in 2005, A Decent Animal sprung from the ashes of the musical discontent of Richard Weld and Jonathan Nicholson. After sharpening their teeth as a duo at art shows, chapels and high society parties, ADA spent eight months
developing their craft before
recording their first cd in Charlotte, NC at Sioux Sioux studio. After an incredible and eyeopening studio
experience the band added drummer/keyboardist George Baerreis to the mix. With their 2006 cd release under their belt, A Decent Animal is playing shows that mesmorize
audiences with both an emotional musical experience and a visually stunning one. Their shows feed the senses.
A Decent Animal is atmospheric rock. It’s tinges of Pink Floyd and radiohead blended with alt country and a minor key. They play with great emotion, beauty and sadness. With uninhibited lyrics, subtle harmonies and haunting instrumentation, A Decent Animal wants to crawl inside your heart
just to have a look.