Free Electric State
Gig Seeker Pro

Free Electric State

Durham, North Carolina, United States

Durham, North Carolina, United States
Band Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Free Electric State signs to Churchkey Records, prepares debut LP"

When Durham quartet Free Electric State booked studio time to make the follow-up to their excellent two-song debut demo, they aimed only for the next step in size: Cut an EP, and see if any labels were interested in a longer project. Turns out, they didn’t have to wait.

“Kyle and Steve said, ‘We’re not interested in putting out an EP. We’d rather do a full-length,’” says Free Electric State’s Shirlé Hale Koslowski of Kyle Miller and Steve Jones, who run the Durham label Churchkey Records. “We had the songs, so we said we would record more. It wasn’t our initial plan, but it made sense.”

The band cut the core of the LP over three days in late October at the Mebane studio of producer Jerry Kee. Over the last two-plus decades, Kee has worked with Superchunk, Ryan Adams, Bad Checks, Shark Quest and, oh, about half of the bands in the Triangle. In fact, Koslowski and husband David, who plays guitar and sings in Free Electric State, worked with him in their former band, Gerty! Just before Thanksgiving, they returned to Kee’s to add overdubs and finalize mixes. Chicago’s Carl Saff is currently mastering the disc.

The nine-song LP, titled Caress, features a reworked version of “Hawks,” from this year’s demo release, as well as two new songs that the band has yet to play locally, “Matching Scars” and “The Black Sea.” Those tunes will get their premiere Friday, when Free Electric State joins Irata and The White Cascade for a 10 p.m. show at Slim’s.

The record, though, will have to wait: Churchkey plans to drop Caress in mid-April 2010.“I feel like it’s so far away,” says Koslowski, laughing, “that we’ll have another album written by then.”

For Free Electric State’s alternate version of how the deal with Churchkey went down, hit the jump.

Hands were shaken, signatures inscribed, and the ink dried to make it official. Local upstart rock act Free Electric State have signed an unprecedented one-album deal with media mega-corp Churchkey Records.

“We got ‘em,” reported label owner Steve Jones from a jacuzzi full of $100 bills. “Free Electric State is among the hottest 50 or 60 local acts around, and Churchkey Records is very happy to add them to our lineup.” He paused to light co-owner Kyle Miller’s Cuban cigar before adding, “These guys might sell in the double digits.”

“Steve doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Miller objected, between puffs of expensive smuggled tobacco. “We’re forecasting sales in the triple digits.”

“Sorry,” replied Jones. “Three digits is definitely a possibility.” The two moguls then clinked glasses of cask-aged Lagavulin to celebrate their score.

The band members responded with even more enthusiasm for the deal.

“I made it,” said noticeably drunk guitarist Nick Williams. Unable to contain his elation at the signing of the contract, he screamed “I FUCKING MADE IT!”, whiskey fumes pouring from his open mouth in palpable waves. He then gave the interviewer the finger and drove a stolen BMW into a grove of pine trees.

“I’m pretty excited,” responded normally laconic drummer Tony Stiglitz, in between sips of Bollinger from a Waterford champagne flute. Returning to his copy of Mojo, he mumbled “Actually, I’m not that excited.”

The unheard-of sum of $45 was paid to the band as an advance, which band-leader and guitarist David Koslowski promptly used to make a down payment on a fine sable coat. “Gotta start dressing better…” was Koslowski’s only comment, before punching the photographer and retreating to the bathroom “to write hits, for all you dumbshit teenagers.”

Frontwoman/bassist Shirlé Hale could not be reached for comment, although she was overheard by the interviewer screaming “Fuck that eurotrash shit! I am not wearing Lagerfeld to the goddamn Grammys!” into her cellular phone. All parties interviewed agreed that this is a historic deal, and should make all of them “assloads of the moolah, baby.” - Grayson Currin - Independent Weekly


The quartet favors mid-length rock anthems rigorously structured around charging rhythms and thick guitar tones, like a speaker cabinet of shoegazer records rattling loose in some dark dancehall. - Independent Weekly

"Introducing...Free Electric State"

A band reunion and a bar opening beget Free Electric State, a new Durham quartet whose dense rock tunes swirl like My Bloody Valentine as they charge like Harmonia.

"I turned up the volume again, and it was so nice," says David Koslowski, one of the band's two guitarists. In September, Koslowski reunited for a one-off reunion with his old metal/math-steeled Baltimore band, Liquor Bike. "I was like, 'Fuck, I want to rock again."

Koslowski made a new friend who wanted to do the same: Nick Williams, co-owner of The Pinhook on Durham's Main Street and a guitarist without a band, shared Koslowski's interest in the big rhythms and guitar canvasses of krautrock. Koslowski and Williams convened in the bar's backroom to play with drummer Stephen Mullaney (The Wigg Report) and bassist Shirlé Hale-Koslowski (married to David for 10 years and his partner in Gerty! and The Ex-Members). "I hadn't played with another guitar player for 10 years," says Koslowski of playing with Williams. "But it worked out and it all fell into place instantly."

The complex textures and intricate hooks of the band's first EP, appropriately titled 001, betrays the band's newness. They're so new, in fact, that they'll play their second show (and first with drummer Tony Stiglitz) tonight. With Shipwrecker and The Battle Rockets. $5/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin - Independent Weekly


Free Electric State is the latest and greatest byproduct of that great band member recycling wheel in the sky that, let's hope, keeps turning: Shirlé and David Koslowski danced to disco pop-punk in Gerty! before toughening it up in The Ex-Members. Their latest, the must-see Free Electric State, takes that same interest in pulses and applies it beneath thick, glistening washes of sustained tones. Like shoegaze kids on a cocktail of psychedelics and uppers, they power tunes with twin guitars and arching vocals and propel them with sharp, heavy drums. A Rooster for the Masses has problems with the way society runs itself. They will sing these woes to you, with the small request that you move to The Clash bedrock at their back. Free/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin - Independent Weekly


Caress - CD/Digital (Churchkey Records) - April 20, 2010
"Hawks" / "On&On" CD-EP/Digital single (self-released)



Conceived in the musical hotbed of Durham, NC (Megafaun, Mountain Goats, Red Collar, Hammer No More The Fingers) Free Electric State draws from shoegaze and noise rock to create a dark, velvety wash of sound. The quartet, formed after a barroom discussion about Krautrock by guitarists David Koslowski and Nick Williams in 2009, quickly garnered rave reviews about their blistering live shows.

On their debut LP, 'Caress', Free Electric State wraps listeners in a tense, yet comforting, embrace. It isn't a gentle, loving brush across the cheek. It's a sensually charged touch—the kind brought about by powerful emotion and breathless anticipation.

The album was recorded and mixed during six rainy days by Jerry Kee at Duck Kee Studio 8 (Superchunk, Polvo, Kingsbury Manx) in the quiet town of Mebane, NC.

Often big, often lush, the group's engrossing sound is generated by guitarists Koslowski and Williams' wall of blissfully dense guitars, while drummer Tony Stiglitz steadily pounds out heavy, driving rhythms. Singer/bassist Shirlé Hale's mournful voice adds a somber element to her dark and often impressionistic lyrics of loss, lust and regret.

According to Merriam-Webster, to caress is to "touch or stroke lightly in a loving or endearing manner." It's a small gesture – a private, intimate sort of thing, but Free Electric State's 'Caress' resonates inside these emotional recesses while also booming through rock's vaulted halls. "It's not just this blissed out, fuzzed out experience," says Williams. Yeah, it's more than that…


"The must-see Free Electric State, takes an interest in pulses and applies it beneath thick, glistening washes of sustained tones. Like shoegaze kids on a cocktail of psychedelics and uppers, they power tunes with twin guitars and arching vocals and propel them with sharp, heavy drums." – Grayson Currin, Independent Weekly

"Free Electric State jumping through amplifier buzz to hit the middle ground between My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth, there's plenty of memory, melody and humidity here." – Bryan Reed, Independent Weekly

"Free Electric State are at the top of their game right now...Nick & David's roiling duelling guitars are the perfect backdrop for Shirlé's distinctive vocal style, and the hooks are catchy but not cloying. I'm going to pre-emptively call the upcoming FES full-length one of the bigger local-music events of the year." – Ross Grady,

RIYL: Swervedriver, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Swirlies, Catherine Wheel, Can