Bound Stems
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Bound Stems

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"A woozy triumph featuring quivering vocals, ragged distortion, and train-track drums, the song follows its
haphazard trajectory to arrive at a blissfully imperfect indie-rocking whole." - Entertainment Weekly

"On its densely packed 25-minute EP, The Logic of Building the Body Plan (Flameshovel), the Chicago band
Bound Stems finds plenty of room in a zone that borders Wilco, Animal Collective, Tortoise and the Fiery
Furnaces. The songs start out orderly and serene, working in minimalist patterns on a chord or two. But it doesn't take them long to go haywire. Tracks mutate from electronics-smudged skiffle to garage rock to noise, and back; verse-chorus-verse gets discombobulated by psychedelic squall and vertiginous overdubs. And Bobby Gallivan sings, in an unheroic voice, about memories, romance gone wrong and - strangest of all, given this stubbornly idiosyncratic rock - commercial ambitions." - New York Times

"Akin to Arcade Fire, the Bound Stems' layered sound builds up and breaks down at just the right moments... refreshingly well done." - New York Press

"The music is smart and ambitious incorporating a tongue-tying jumble of lyrics on 'My Kingdom For A Trundle
Bed' and a collage of field recordings on the two part 'Up All Night,' but it's also emotionally super-saturated, achieving post-rock's complexity without its aridity or pretension - this is clearly a band bound for greatness, or at
least bigness." - Chicago Reader

"[ The Logic of Building the Body Plan is] an immersive listen... 'Wake Up, Ma and Pa Are Gone' breezes past on
gorgeous guitars and a sprightly drum pattern (courtesy of Harvey Danger refugee Evan Sult), almost slows to a
halt, then pulls up for a speaker-blowing crescendo. Then there's 'Risking Life and Limb for the Coupon', where Gallivan stays calm while the rhythm leaps and lurches until the cathartic full-band sigh of the finale with memorable calm/frantic call-and-response singing...catch [Bound Stems] now -- before they become another entirely different band." - Pitchfork

"Appetizing textures are spread over seven tracks, but you'll still be mighty hungry by the last small bite." - URB
"Quirky indie pop that's experimental yet strangely accessible...if you're a fan of [The Flaming Lips] -- or adventurous pop music in general-Bound Stems are right up your alley." - Alternative Press

"On opener 'Crimes and Follies,' a driving, bluesy stomp backs frontman Bobby Gallivan as he lingers, unsure of
a romance that's rapidly progressing beyond his control. 'At the end of the night,' he coos, 'we're crawling up the
stairs together with a secret inside.' Then the track slips off into a pensive, sparse pause that mimics the
situational uncertainty. 'Crashed around the room, she's egging me on / Smile politely but I'm too ambitious,'
Gallivan relates over slow-building snare taps. 'We spent the morning kissing on the floor / We entered casually but left a wreck.' The meandering storytelling is even more effective on the searing 'Wake Up, Ma and Pa Are Gone,' which takes off around the supercharged line, 'It all comes down to a moment like this / When I'm leaving for something bigger than us.'" - Spin.com

"Listen to [Bound Stems] songs like 'Wake Up, Ma and Pa Are Gone' and 'Risking Life & Limb for the Coupon,'
two of the EP's best tunes, and you'll hear the ratty pages of a crinkled and ink-worn notebook that chronicles the
life and blood of this band." - Chord - Various


Discography

The Logic of Building the Body Plan EP (Flameshovel, November 2005)
Appreciation Night LP (Flameshovel, Sept. 2006)
WOXY.com In-Studio Session
Daytrotter.com In-Studio Session

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Chicago’s Bound Stems is Dan Fleury (guitar), Bobby Gallivan (vocals, guitar), Janie Porche (vocals, guitar, sampler, violin, etc.), Dan Radzicki (bass, keys, vocals) and Evan Sult (drums, tapes). Fleury, Radz, and Bobby were friends from high school basketball on; Evan arrived from Seattle and Harvey Danger in September 2002. They started writing songs all the time, then playing out, then writing some more, and by the time Janie had completed the transition from friend to roommate to band member, The Logic of Building the Body Plan EP had been released by Flameshovel Records and they were deep into the construction of Appreciation Night, Bound Stems’ debut full-length, also on Flameshovel.
Appreciation Night was two years in the making; the songs themselves cover a dozen decades. Chicago is the album’s host city, where the Civil War blends with the roar of the elevated train and the songs’ edges are embroidered with the found sounds of airport patter and clattering turnstiles, parties, private conversations, snow crunch and drifting histories. Produced by Tim Sandusky and Evan at Chicago’s Studio Ballistico, Appreciation Night is a large and complex album in which each song could as easily be a story as a chapter. Mathy, too: opener “Andover” hides tricky time signatures under a warm patchwork blanket of vocal melody, and “This Is Grand” rolls sevens hard against sixes. There’s history rock (“Walter Waters Addresses the Bonus Army”), lit. rock (“Rented a Tent”), and social studies pop (“Wake Up, Ma & Pa Are Gone”), and each song contains moments of fierce, earnest success, where all of Bound Stems' sonic experiments converge and fall into crashing, exultant hooks. Appreciation Night is a record of a band’s optimismism: fascination with life, a diet of interesting objects, the narrative thread.
Recording began to blend with playing farther and farther from home, as Bound Stems followed a sizable storm of surprised and favorable press around the East Coast and Midwest. Jon Pareles wrote them up in the New York Times (“Bound Stems finds plenty of room in a zone that borders Wilco, Animal Collective, Tortoise and the Fiery
Furnaces”), as has Spin magazine, Entertainment Weekly (“a woozy triumph”), Alternative Press magazine (“experimental yet strangely accessible,” 4 out of 5 stars), the Chicago Reader (“emotionally super-saturated, achieving post-rock's complexity without its aridity or pretension”), and a starburst of blogs by people who’ve heard Bound Stems online and caught their shows. Their live shows glow with pleasure, swinging from the tight curls of “Crimes and Follies” to the roaring cheer of “Excellent News, Colonel” to the baroque-ass pop of “Western Biographic.” Instruments appear and disappear behind ivy vines while Bobby sweats out his lyrics and stomps alongside Janie’s harmonies, Fleury’s Camaro of a guitar, Radz’s melodic bass leads, and Evan’s distracted smile.
Now that Appreciation Night is complete, the members of Bound Stems have disengaged their real jobs (high school history teacher, comic book art director, lab tech, hi-tech techs) in favor of their heretofore fake job as a touring band. It’s an act of faith consistent with the characters on the record, the architecture of the songs, and the implied narrative arc. It’s time to spread the good word. Get excited about counting again.