Canvas
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Canvas

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


“Invocation� might confound the trend spotters, but for listeners who still look to rock ‘n’ roll for tribal support, a touch of the circus, a taste of the inexplicitable and a glimpse from the edge, the album and Canvas will be a live wire. - Jim Beal


Delivering poetic lyrics over eerie vocals, Canvas establishes a forboding mood that is in your face and on the edge. Lead guitar licks are actually used in the bridges, but this band is no some hard rock re-tread. Instead, they found a unique way to form their signature sound. King’s voice is another instrument altogether, utilizing a wide spectrum of vocal effects. One moment he’s murmuring a Jim Morrison mumble, while the next it’s a Manson-like creep-fest. These vocal changes correspond with the dynamics in the music and give the songs dark depth. - Bernard Bauer


CANVAS' Invocation: "Have you ever been so completely taken over by a piece of music that you find yourself fluttery-eyed, pursed-lipped, hands mussing through your hair and hips swaying involuntarily to the beat?" - Kelly


Discography

The electrically organic, tribally grooving Canvas has become a regional indie phenomenon with the release of its stunningly popular 2001 debut Invocation, on Desert Tide Records. The disc’s two singles, “In These Walls” and “Sirens”, were added into regular rotation at KLBJ-FM Austin and climbed to #1 Most Requested and Top 5 Phones within a week, and stayed at the top for two months. The band received significant airplay at ten influential stations throughout the state, and its consistent array of live shows—which blend Joseph King’s vocal drama, edgy yet ambient guitars and tribal rhythms with exotic performance art visuals—and internet marketing helped the recording sell in excess of 3,000 units.

Four Days Awake, Canvas’ long awaited new recording, is notable not only for eleven emotionally searing new songs, but its crisp, cutting edge production by veteran studio wizard Stuart Sullivan, one of those mile long resume cats whose credits include Sublime, The Butthole Surfers, Willie Nelson, The Meat Puppets and Jimmie Vaughn.

The opening instrumental track “Kamala’s Garden” seduces us slowly into the tribal-primal, percussive and mystical Canvas experience, a true reflection of the band’s live performance style. “Break” is along the lines of self-destruction while “Intertwined” is on the lighter side, a fantasy reconciling conversation between King and an ex lover. The dreamy, laid back “All About You” shows King’s gifts for sardonic satire before “Strange Hello” conveys the desire for a fantastical lover that will offer a natural redemption. After the raw rock energy of the title track (listed on the credits as “FDA”), “Jezebel” (a song written during King and Rada’s Bay Area days) is about an exotic dancer King dreamed up during his time hanging in North Beach. With its Hindu chant and lyrics about an obsession with a dark goddess, “Om/Inside of You” explores the band’s spiritual side and includes some spoken poetry, a la Jim Morrison. The trippy moodswinging continues with “There is No Light” (about the psychological condition of listlessness defined as “Anhedonia”), while “Lessons from Underneath the Katchina Woman’s Skirt” was written during a spiritually healing pilgrimage by King to Sedona, Arizona (and named after a tall spire on Cathedral Rock). The closing track, “Carousel,” is a searing social commentary on the pseudo-depth of the alt rock lifestyle, played and sung with biting humor.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

CANVAS

The Austin, Texas based unit’s colorful and catchy, yet spiritually intense blend of moody, poetic vocals, entrancing guitars, Eastern flavors and exotic tribal rhythms--combined with a theatrical live show often featuring moments of spinning fire rituals--has been the hit of festivals, alt-rock radio shows and biker rallies alike. Kings of A&R recently declared the five piece group’s ambient, post-rock sway as a mix of influences ranging from Jane’s Addiction and Led Zeppelin to Pink Floyd and The Doors.

Not that a band so committed to the indie, regional superstar lifestyle would dare brag about also appealing to the mainstream, but their success has also been built on shows at esteemed venues like Red Eyed Fly and The Steamboat in Austin, The Curtain Club and Trees in Dallas, The White Rabbit and The Rox in San Antonio, Side Car Pub and Fitzgerald’s in Houston, Doc’s in Midland and Bleachers in Lubbock. Radio support from stations all over The Lone Star State, combined with regional distribution, internet and venue sales, helped Invocation, Canvas’ 2001 debut on Desert Tide Records, sell over 3,000 units. The disc’s two singles, “In These Walls” and “Sirens”, were added into regular rotation at KLBJ-FM Austin and climbed to #1 Most Requested and Top 5 Phones within a week, and stayed at the top for two months.

The release of Canvas’ second album Four Days Awake, produced by acclaimed engineer/producer Stuart Sullivan (Willie Nelson, Meat Puppets, Sublime), will be followed this summer by tours of the Midwest and East Coast.

Founding members Joseph King (a San Antonio native) and L.A. bred guitarist Ben Rada (who doubles on sitar) met at a coffehouse open mic in Palo Alto, circa Fall ’95, when both were college students at Stanford University. They formed an acoustic rock outfit with the curiously cumbersome name Labrosse King, and, when they weren’t hanging in a blacklit opium den with counterculture types in Pacifica or chasing the ghosts of beatniks on Haight Street, they were focused on becoming a self made regional success story. Living mostly out of an RV, they booked their own tours from California to Texas for a few years and decided to relocate to Austin in the Spring of 1999, when they found a friendly response at The Mercury Room and were invited to play at South By Southwest. The transformation into Canvas occurred member by member as King and Rada brought popular local musicians Julian Mandrake (guitar), Brad Byram (bass) and Scott Thomas (drums, percussion) into the fold.

“The tribal roots element was a part of the earlier band and just kept growing even as our vibe became electric,” says King, who draws musical inspiration from his extensive studies of Eastern Philosophy (his degree is in Religious Sciences). “Invocation had an Eastern rock edge about it, and we evolved into what we liked to call an electrically organic experience. Our first few years here, we did every Tuesday and Wednesday night somewhere and slowly developed a wild cultish following that has come to shape itself. We found we were tapping into several forgotten American subcultures that are truly thriving. We’re all about a collective spiritual search that is balanced by a celebration of sexuality and just the right amount of playful mischief. And that percussive vibe, the drum circle, is always at the heart of what we do.