Always the Runner
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Always the Runner

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The best kept secret in music

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Very few instrumental bands pique my interest; Always The Runner is the newest addition to this exclusive list.

Taking cues from Mineral or Low Level Owl: Vol. 1-ish Appleseed Cast minus vocals, the band utilizes floating octaves and atomspheric guitar harmonies that slowly glide through the foreground. Always The Runner somehow manage to find a way to capitalize on their influences without ripping them off. Maybe it's because half the time there isn't a complete wall of sound, but most other times, the music certainly puts forth an aura not far from Explosions in the Sky, like "Speaking of Paliminos," with its rapid drum fills and soaring, layered guitar harmonies. Though it may not be as accomplished as EITS in terms of ridiculously dreamy, lush arrangements, it comes fairly close, carefully piling one instrument over the other to create soothing, moving musical tones, with guitar, piano, bass, and percussion.

The subtle snare roll and subsequent light crash midway through "Let's See If You Bastards Can Do 90!" (bonus points for the "Back to the Future" reference) actually marginalizes the rest of what is a great little song, only because its short-burst effectiveness is so noteworthy. Actually, quiet drum rolls are scattered throughout the disc; this just happens to be its best usage. The song's abrupt ending also exemplifies another quality of the band - sudden conclusions to songs, which is an odd quality considering most instrumental bands let their pieces slowly fade out.

The band isn't complete instrumentals though: the first and last tracks showcase a short portion of the soft vocals of drummer Chad Favre, which end up coming off somewhat like more trippy Sunny Day Real Estate sound bites, philosophical in feel and fragile in touch.

Fans of Explosions in the Sky should definitely take note, especially if beautiful, atmospheric, delicate post-rock instrumental is your thing.

3.5 out of 5
http://www.punknews.org/reviews.php?op=albumreview&id=3251 - Punknews.org - Brian


"Imagine Sunny Day Real Estate playing all instrumental after watching Dune and being inspired by Toto's grandiose score for the movie" - Bettawreckonize (John Miller)

- Betta Wreckonize


"Their music is very emotional and perfectly charges with powerful and, at the same time, very much counterbalanced, energy" - Real Art Magazine (Russia - Pavel Baleevsky) - REAL ART Magazine (Russia)


"An excellent soundtrack to accompany ice blue sky cotton candy clouds, unsheathed skeleton trees and the green undulating hills of old western Virginia"
- Greenhouse Zine (Washington DC - Def Jetson)
- Greenhouse Zine (DC)


"This is big, epic guitar music with beaucoup delay and tremolo and waves of crescendos descending - quite pleasantly, I might add - on the listener's senses" - Creative Loafing (Charlotte - John Sacht) - Creative Loafing (Charlotte)


Always the Runner (Self-titled) 4/28/2004


I'm not sure if there is a gigantic increase in instrumental bands these days or if I'm just noticing them more, but here's another one: Always the Runner. The band is fairly new to the scene with this their first album not counting a two-song EP released a few months ago.

Out of the recent instrumental bands I've reviewed (Unwed Sailor, Questions in Dialect, Mono, and Explosions in the Sky if you were keeping count), Always the Runner is a bit more accessible. While there is an atmospheric element to be found here, the music strongly rests in an ability to rock out. A quick listen to the six-song, 32-minute album is enough to be convinced that this band should be able to put on a fine live show.

Despite the fact that technically the band is instrumental, the album opener "A Falconer's Prayer" has some vocals as does the closing "Don't Kill the Messenger." "A Falconer's Prayer" gets the album off to an introspective start before the band takes the opportunity to prove their worth on "Speaking of Palaminos." It's the song "Telling Lies Over Lattes" that sticks out over the rest of the album in terms of musical breadth. When it comes to creative song titles, though, it's hard to beat "Let's See If Those Bastards Can Do 90" and "Not What Jesus Would Have Done."

All in all, this is a solid debut for the band. They're going to have to do quite a bit to stick out from the rest of the crowd in their genre, however. There are some signs here that make me think they can, but it's something they'll have to work hard for.

7 out of 10.

www.loconotion.net
- Trae Cadenhead www.loconotion.net


Always The Runner: s/t EP (Myla Records, 2004)

Always the Runner is an intriguing band that plays mainly instrumental, cinematic rock that combines elements of dreampop and math rock….

Now, before you roll your eyes and say “Not another “instrumental” band”, please read on! Granted, the music world is chock full of uninteresting bands that play boring instrumental music, trying to pass their tedious offerings as off as “artistique”. But, don’t let that fact prevent you from experiencing sublime music that IS interesting. On their self-titled EP release, Always the Runner succeeds in rising above the glut of dull instrumental bands to create a collection of fresh, well-played songs that sound inspired and energetic.

Always the Runner begins with “A Falconer’s Prayer”, one of the two songs on the 6 song, 32 minute EP that features vocals. The male vocalist here, oddly enough perhaps, reminds me a tiny bit of Bono from U2, though Chad Favre vocals are noticeably more gruff than Bono’s. Perhaps it’s the passionate yet polished delivery of the vocals that cause me to make this comparison, but I will say that that Favre is not a direct or blatant imitation of the Irish singer. “A Falconer’s Prayer” is a good introduction to Always the Runner’s sound, with its angular guitar lines, droning keys, and crisp drumming. In their songwriting and musical elements, the band reminds one of a more energetic Early Day Miners, a more accessible Unwed Sailor, or perhaps a less aggressive Appleseed Cast. “Speaking of Palominos” follows, with effected guitar lines vaguely reminiscent of a cross between Early Day Miners and The Autumns in their In the Russet…era. The song is structured in a way that tells a story (albeit a vague, musical story), meaning that even without vocals, the song has direction and purpose. With buried keys again supporting the main guitar lines, “Speaking of Palominos” sounds full and well integrated. “Telling Lies Over Lattes” also combines elements of dreamy rock again, as it features gorgeous effected guitars washing over piano and the ever solid drumming of Favre (the technical and tasteful work of Favre on the drums is a shining feature of the band through the whole of Always the Runner). At about the 4 minute mark of “Telling Lies Over Lattes”, the song decrescendos to silence, only to erupt in a soaring rock explosion. Moments like these give the listener the impression that Always the Runner would be an excellent live band, and even on CD, their performance sounds inspired and energetic. “Let’s See If You Bastards Can Do 90!” showcases the band harder side, as they rock out in a more defined math-rock style. The song hits harder, and contrasts nicely with “Not What Jesus Would Have Done”, the EP’s soft, atmospheric closer that features wonderful and exotic sounds coating the buried vocals of Favre.

All in all, Always the Runner is a very promising first release from this young band. With excellent playing, good song writing, terse production, attractive artwork, and an well-designed website, Always the Runner proves itself as a band who is serious about their art. And good thing, too, because they have much to offer fans of pseudo-instrumental music. Definitely an EP worthy of a spin, and definitely a band to keep your eyes on for the future. Fans of Unwed Sailor, Appleseed Cast. , Early Day Miners, The Autumns, or perhaps Ok Computer-era Radiohead would enjoy this disc.

Added: Thursday, May 20, 2004
Reviewer: Brent
Score: 4 of 5

- Brent Diaz - www.somewherecold.com


Always the Runner
Myla Records

Always the Runner, a band comprised of four guys from Baton Rouge, is great. I should get right to it, I figured. No wasting time. Check this band out. Almost entirely instrumental rock music that is very pretty and melodic and epic. And I mean epic in the cool arena sort of way with delay and tremolo and guitars providing the big sound they should. Climactic in every song, always melodic, and very, very big. Always the Runner is not trying to follow around the current crop of "epic, mostly instrumental bands." In fact, if all were right in the world, they would be leading most of them around. Great, great little EP.


Key track: "Don't Kill the Messenger" (the guitars at the end are PERFECT)

Reviewed by: Kent Walter

- Kent Walter - www.1340mag.com


Atmospheric, ambient, bombastic, shimmering, all that stuff. No, really, while Always the Runner is considered a post-rock instrumental band, don't worry, they won't put you to sleep. The first release by Always the Runner is actually bit more accessible than most instrumental releases as of late. I like to think of it as instrumental-pop-core. There, I made up another genre. Hey, they even sing on two of the tracks. Fans of the Mercury Program, and the Appleseed Cast shall not be disappointed.
- www.interpunk.com



ALWAYS THE RUNNER (self-titled) - Myla Records

Set amidst a shimmering delayed guitar, Always The Runner introduce themselves with a saturnine slice of beauty. The half time tempos and blissed out melodies beg for a tag other than pop because ATR call for anything but the grabby hooks of radio. It's layered and textured like the detail of an oil painting. Spidery guitar and buoyant piano spin a web on "Telling Lies Over Lattes," an instrumental piece that recalls Durutti Column and Mogwai. I already liked ATR after reading song titles like "Let's See If The Bastards Can Do 90!" and "Not What Jesus Would Have Done." ATR are mainly instrumental but occasionally toss in vocals. Which is odd because on the 2 vocal tracks, ATR have a damn fine singer. But they prefer to let the instruments be their voice. Believing that music can be powerful and evocative without the guidance of lyrics is an alien concept to today's major labels and radio stations. But it's a valid concept that radiates forward from Beethoven. When a modern band like ATR creates music that is full and rich without vocals, you don't even notice it. It's like noticing that "With Or Without You" had no accordion. Many instrumental bands these days are experimental or art projects (Hangedup, The Books, etc) and that's all good, but occasionally it's also good to hear real music that doesn't make you feel like you need a PhD in music to understand. ATR have a sunnier disposition than their peers in the majestic rock tradition, and it appears they are not (thankfully) working out their inner demons in their songs. ATR shows that sometimes it's good to enjoy the sunlight and gossamer beauty of monumental songs.
--- Paul Leeds

8 of 11

www.culturebunker.com - Paul Leeds www.culturebunker.com


Discography

"I Thought I'd Find You Here" (2003) - Recorded at Building Studios / Engineered by Paul Knox (2 tracks)+

"Always the Runner" self-titled (MYLA, 2004) - Recorded at Apocalypse the Apocalypse Studios / Engineered by
Fred Weaver (6 tracks)*+

"Framed EP #1" (Status Quo Audio, 2005) -
Split EP with Chicago-based band Snowbeast / Featuring original album art by Scott Saw
Engineered by Andy Baker and Jay Robinson
(3 Tracks)*+

"An August Golf" (Velora Recordings, 2005) -
First full-length album - Recorded at the Boulevard House / Engineered by Andy Baker / Mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side (8 Tracks)*+

*Distribution through
Tonevendor Distribution
Stickfigure Distribution
CD Baby

+mp3s and/or press reviews are available at www.alwaystherunner.com/media.php
www.myspace.com/alwaystherunner
www.statusquoaudio.com
www.mp3tunes.com
www.cdbaby.com

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Formed amidst the shady oaks of Baton Rouge, LA, Always the Runner is an instrumental rock band developed by four gentlemen in the summer of 2003.

The future is bright for AtR, as they begin to revel in the Fall 2005 release of their new full-length An August Golf engineered by Andy Baker (Elf Power, Crooked Fingers, The Mercury Program) and mastered by Alan Douches (Dismemberment Plan, Ben Folds, Mock Orange). Even before the album’s release, AtR was enlisted to contribute some of the tracks to MTV’s next Real World/Road Rules Extreme Challenge® and was listed in the top 3 “unsigned bands to watch” by MSNBC’s Independent Study column (June 05).

The debut record for the band was recorded in January 2004 at Apocalypse Studios in Baton Rouge w/ indie-acclaimed engineer Fred Weaver (Storm and Stress, The Myrtles), and was originally released on the band’s own label, MYLA Records, in March 2003. Promotional support for the album has included a string of successful tours including the Midwest in summer ‘04 and a trek up the Northeast megalopolis in winter ’04 that took the band as far as up-state NY and included radio/media support in numerous major markets. Album sales along the way have been aided by continued regional touring and international online distribution that has resulted in steady sales and press/media/radio airplay both stateside and overseas. The band has toured with many notable bands such as the Appleseed Cast, Mock Orange, Ted Leo & Pharmacists, Jealous Sound, Communiqué, Matt Pond PA, Unwed Sailor, The Forms, Engine Down, The Joggers, Mercury Program, Darediablo, the Oranges Band, Mae, Armor For Sleep, the Six Parts Seven, Me Without You and many others.

Other upcoming releases include a limited edition split with the Chicago-based outfit, Snowbeast. With a release date set for August 2005 on Status Quo Records (Atlanta) and distribution through many national retailers (Stickfigure, Tonevendor), the record will offer artwork courtesy of emerging artist and California native, Scott Saw, as well as three previously unreleased tracks from AtR.