Elkhart
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Elkhart

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Music

Press


"Whispered vocals, slowed-down tempo and lingering guitar notes work well for this band, especially when you listen closely to the lyrics. The Moon is definitely a record for late nights spent alone." - Quick/Dallas Morning News


"Quite splendid...the soft, dreamy sounds of each and every track on The Moon literally made me want to just keep driving into the starlit night."
- LifeOutsideTheBubble.com


"I was impressed right away by their live set. They have the Americana rootsy vibe without the typical voice associated with it. Travis Hopper is a good singer, his voice reminds me of an Roots/Americana version of Thom Yorke. I've been checking out their album The Moon today and it's quite tasty." - BonaFideDarling.com


"The Moon" was named Honorable Mention for Top 10 albums of the year from Dallas musicians. - Quick/Dallas Morning News


Elkhart is my kind of rock band. The group hits a little bit of that Wilco alt-country aesthetic without feeling like a ripoff. They write songs that are remorseful and tragic without being overly nostalgic and trite. They have some age to them, a bit of dust on their guitars and dullness to their drums. They come off as thoughtful, introspective, and authentic.
And the music is pretty good, too. The Moon is covered with breathy, deliberate vocals, kind of like a subdued Silversun Pickups, copping the same kind of dreamy, wistful feel, but softer, older, heavier. I really like how Elkhart takes its time with this record. The members don’t rush the pace, choosing to keep a steady tempo. It has an old, well-traveled feel, and strange as it might sound, that’s exciting in a genre that demands everything to be loud and cutting edge. It’s the same delivery the Wrens use, and I think we all know how fantastic that band is. Like the Wrens, Elkhart evokes such powerful emotions with so little, making the whole record seem effortless. Lines like “in the heart of my hometown / trash piles up in a place where it can’t drown” on “Houston” and “crickets buzz like radio static” on “Tune Out” perfectly portray the loneliness of the country, and make me want to drive somewhere far, even though I know there’s nothing out there for me.
My only problem with The Moon is that it’s missing the big, swelling moment— the part of the album where they are unusually loud and powerful, or have a slightly dissonant bridge, or unexpected key change. They sort of tease it on the stellar track “Hometown”, but it doesn’t come to fruition.
Maybe that’s for the best. This isn’t a record about getting what you want. It’s about wishing you could go back and do it over, so maybe, just maybe, this time around you have a shot. - Delusions of Adequacy


Often times, an artist or a band may get wrapped up in the effort to conform to a sound or style rather than seeking to create a vibe that actually fits them more effectively than many of the preordained titles and labels available really do. When Travis Hopper, lead singer and songwriter for Dallas-based Elkhart, was prepping for a show with guitarist Michael Crowder, they seemed to have a joint epiphany about how that night’s show, as well as the general direction of the band’s sound, would proceed from then on out. After listening to The Moon, it isn’t any surprise to learn that bands such as Red House Painters and Calexico were in heavy rotation at the rehearsal space, as Elkhart also leaves the listener with the inability to paint them into the “Alt-Country” corner while still posessing many of the twangier elements that many associate with the quasi-genre . Don’t mistake their influence-by-osmosis for lack of an individual identity however. Hopper told me via email that he and his band mates were tired of “doing something that felt like trying on someone else’s clothes - writing these pop songs that could be anyone’s songs.”

Using the memories that Hopper has carried from his hometown of Houston, Elkhart has created an exemplary document that can almost be considered a concept album. When many bands are creating a signature sound or feel, there is an extremely fine line that is traversed between the areas of cohesion or theme and merely monotonous. With the hushed and whispery vocals of Hopper tying the 9 tracks of The Moon together, this album establishes a pace that never crosses over to mundane or bland, but presents a mood that compels the listener to join along as if reading a book and discovering more as the story continues to unfold.

Speaking of Houston, when Hopper sings, “Battery sparks burst like fireflies / cigarrette butt and the last of the Bud Light“, he isn’t merely listing random objects, he is transporting you to the scene of the rhyme (yep, I just said that). Many of the lyrics on The Moon serve to provide exposition and effectively provide a sepia-toned translation of many things that make up each of our memories of the past. This is a great example of a band cutting ties to a safe sound and looking to, perhaps, add another “Alt” onto any other “Alt” that many will try and lump them in with. - Twangville


The title track is, for me, the standout. Reminiscent of the Red House Painters, but a little less oppressive. Simple lyrics, a looping melody, capturing…something. Something lonely. Something between two people. Something of…an understanding?…empathy?…an acceptance?…of the others need, despite never knowing, truly, what affects them.

Touching. Haunting. - Get Your Melancholy On


"What a beautiful record...nine beautiful, southern-sounding songs in the style of Red House Painters, Midlake, or Calexico...Travis Hopper has a beautiful voice...[The Moon] has a warm and dreamy late night sound...slow and dark colored numbers to gently remove dreams." - Rootstime


Discography

The Moon [self released, October 2008]
- All tracks are streaming on:
http://www.elkhartband.com/audio.html

Photos

Bio

Elkhart was a long time coming.

It was born from the desire of five guys - Travis Hopper, Michael Crowder, Jarad Brown, Sam Romero, and Bruce Johnson - to do something different. To strip bare the influence of past projects and find something new. Something that wasn't trying to sound like this band or that sound. The desire to find something that sounded like them.

The bones of their debut album ["The Moon" - self-released 2008] - the sketches of the songs - were written in a week by Hopper, alone at a cabin in the country, away from cell phones and TV and life, with twelve months’ worth of lyrics taped to walls, a bank of song ideas on an iPod, and nothing to do but piece it all together. The band then got together and fleshed everything out over the course of a few months in a cramped attic practice space above a friend's living room.

What emerged were nine unhurried vignettes, focused the ideas of home, the memories past and visions of what may be, the faces of friends and sketches burned into memory, the families that love us, and things sacrificed along the way. It was the sound of growing up and of lessons earned - both lyrically and sonically. The sound was deliberately minimal, but full - only the essential parts, and none of the fluff.

In the end, it was something that didn't sound like any other band. It just sounded like Elkhart.