Open Choir Fire
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Open Choir Fire

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"Pairing quirky Talking Heads-like innovation with the lo-fi soul of Modest Mouse, Seattle three-piece Open Choir Fire has been awarded this week's CMJ Sonicbids Spotlight. Catch the trio on the road this summer as they support their self-released 2006 EP In Each Appropriate, Everlasting And Not with a 10-city tour of the West Coast, kicking off August 23 in Seattle, Washington." - Taylor Mason - CMJ (College Music Journal)


Open Choir Fire are this week’s Band of the Week. Here’s why:

First of all, as their Stranger Bands Page attests, a drunk guy once told them they “are all scientific and shit like the Sea and Cake, except not so pussy!” One point.

Secondly, the first song they have posted, “Things You Have to Do,” reminds me of a more post-rock Mclusky via D.C., and I really like Mclusky, and I really like post-rock from D.C. Two points.

With the first song going over well, I listened to the next song, “Candle,” and that boasts a little more of a Jawbox vibe, and I love Jawbox. Three points.

While I do hear tinges of those bands in their sound, they’re not rippin’ anything off. In fact, the band claims to be inspired by a whole range of artists like the Pixies, Talking Heads, and Fugazi, and I can hear elements of all those artists in just the few songs they’ve got available, but they’re all done with the band’s own style. Four points.

Finally, they’re funny and they put up with my fangirl questions. Five points, FTW!



So, like, what’s your guys’ favorite color?
The color of the eyes of each of our respective love interests at the time of this email. That was easy.

What’s your idea of the perfect date?
I know what’s NOT the idea of a perfect date. Going out alone with the fucking band after the West Seattle show last Friday and getting much more drunk and unable to make a coherent decision than was necessary at that stupid restaurant/pizza place/meat market where the tequila girls were who don’t speak English and give out shitty straw hats and touch my shoulder and I don’t want them to and my step-brother-in-law keeps buying rum and cokes we ended up putting in Amo’s Nalgene and then we spend an hour walking around looking for some karaoke bar that Brian doesn’t know where it is and I spend the whole time, when we find it, standing on the dance floor making the hand signal for “Terry Cry” and then being sick on the way home and we can’t make it to the bank on Saturday morning like we planned.

If you (as a band) were being cast off to a deserted island for a year and were only allowed to take two instruments to make music with, which would they be?
I thought about this one hard. If you are on a two engine boat (like one of those decent sized cruisers, doesn’t need to be a yacht) you can listen to how the two tones that the engine make mingle with each other, often getting so close in frequency just so close to unison that you get those cool “beats” in the tones and then every so often they are in unison and it’s quite a release. So by that measure you could say that an engine is an instrument and therefore we would take two engines with us to the deserted island and I’d take one and Brian would take one and use it to build two motor boats get off the island and we’d promise to send someone back to get Amo later because he writes most of the lyrics.

Do you think lolcatz are funny? (www.icanhascheezburger.com, for example.)
I’ve never heard of this before. “lolcatz” are just pictures of cats with funny captions? In that case, absolutely. I actually have a poster up above my drum set in the practice space, you know the one, the kitty is hanging from a tree branch by one claw and the caption says, “Oh, Shit.” Sometimes that’s how I feel inside, you know, and I’m sure it’s true for a lot of people you know, how at times you feel you’re just barely hanging on to sanity and you know that you’re just about five seconds away from your whole life falling apart and everything going to shit and it’s a terrible feeling. I got that poster in Rome on the first day I met Chris Hacker who does all our art work. He’s a nice guy, you’d like him. Thoughts like that are what bring people back from the brink and that help that little kitty to find the strength to pull itself up back on the branch and get back in the ring, as it were. You’ve got to make sure you surround yourself with good people who care about you, Megan.

Tell me a story about something crazy or fun or weird that has happened on the road or at a show.
I have video footage of the first night of our last tour somewhere in SW Washington of Amo waking up after sleeping in a barn and having covered himself in hay to keep warm. He looks like he’s a newborn fetus coming out of the womb. I swear it is the funniest thing I have ever seen in my entire life. I should post it on a website, oh man, it’s funny.

Finally, why should people go to your page and listen to your music?
We need the money for the tour and all in all I’d say the music isn’t really so terrible that you couldn’t at least listen to it while your doing dishes or something you don’t like doing already. We actually like it.

Open Choir Fire play their tour kick-off show at Jules Maes Thursday, August 23.
- The Stranger, Seattle, WA


"Open Choir Fire's debut EP assembles a richly diverse collection of sounds and styles. By turns, it reverts to the screeching guitars and guttural screams of early Modest Mouse, Pixie-esque plodding progressions, and the fusion of syrupy pop rhythms and up-tempo beats. Amo DelBello's embittered vocals sound almost exactly like Aveo's William Wilson, so it's difficult to tell with which of these styles the band ultimately wants to identify. If Open Choir Fire simply subsists as an amorphous amalgamation of them all, the resulting dynamicism will undoubtedly win them fans."

- Katie Sauro, Seattle Sound Magazine


"Seattle's Open Choir Fire deal with contrasts on their new EP, In Each Appropriate Everlasting and Not. Angular guitars and shout-sung vocals lean toward a spooky minor chord vibe, but always bring it back to more optomistic major chord resolutions. The effect is at once off-puttingly exciting and comfortingly familiar. Lead track "Things You Have to Do" is the band's best foot forward with strafing guitar attacks over repetitively bouncy bass and drums with anthemic vocals closing out the onslaught. The uptempo numbers tend to be stronger, but there's not a weak song here."
- Abe Beeson, KEXP


"While Open Choir Fire leaves hints of the Pixies, Fugazi and Jawbox
on the brain, their focal point is one of distilled inspiration
without extraneous additives and preservatives, without imitation and
derivative writing. With an ability to be simultaneously jerky and
abrupt, screamy and excitable as well as helplessly pretty and
effortlessly sweet, the broad palette they draw from spins quite an
album of color and style from grunge to indie to emo and back, all
the while pulling their listeners along like a fish hook through the
navel. Yes, there is something raw and gutsy, brash and unapologetic
driving these songs but in only five tracks, this group stirs up some
serious fun." - CD Baby


"For those about to art rock your indie grungy emo folk, Bobble Tiki salutes you.
Open Choir Fire!
Seattle trio Open Choir Fire's mother tongue is alternative, but as the once-supple dialect of alternative has hardened over the years into a rigid paradigm, Open Choir Fire has smoothly eluded its grasp - by inventing a new language.
Hell, Bobble Tiki doesn't know what to call it. Guitarist/vocalist Amo DelBello, drummer Terry Kyte, and bassist Brian Massey construct a brilliant, rockin', quirky and sweet sound in their new album, In Each Appropriate Everlasting and Not, often in the same song. It's Talking Heads inventive. It's Kings of Leon soulful. It's Pixies rockin'.
It's Open Choir Fire.
Bobble Tiki caught up with Kyte before their show Saturday, Dec. 2, at Bob's Java Jive and their Sunday, Dec. 3, show at Le Voyeur in Olympia.

BOBBLE TIKI: How did three guys from the Southwest end up in a band based in Seattle?
TERRY KYTE: Amo the guitar singer and I both moved to Tacoma to attend the University of Puget Sound, where we met in 1997 and have been playing together since with various other folk. After graduating and moving to Seattle, I paid to have an old high school friend, Brian, shipped up here to play bass for us. He's a rocket surgeon during the day, and he's had the same haircut for 20 years.
TIKI: Bobble Tiki hears a bit of that early '90s Seattle sound in your indie wonderfulness. Did this area's history influence your music?
KYTE: We've gotten the grunge thing before. I don't exactly know what that refers to in our music, and I think all of us are quite hesitant to talk about musical influences in that sense. We'd like to think we have an original sound, but I guess we were all growing up around that time so perhaps Bobble Tiki is not crazy.
TIKI: Oh, Bobble Tiki is crazy, but not as crazy as the name Open Choir Fire. Story please.
KYTE: Story behind the name is we needed a band name, and so when you're really tired and or drunk, have someone give you a few letters, and then you spew out stream of consciousness type stuff that the letters trigger in your head, and somehow someone came up with open fire choir. We thought that name was dumb and stupid and racist, so we switched the words to have it make no sense and have no meaning as all good band names should.
TIKI: You are playing with experimental hip-hop band MC Vagina Saturday at Bob's Java Jive. Are they friend or foe?
KYTE: Tough question. MC Vagina is probably both friend and foe. They've mad rhymes though. They are pretty amazing to see.
TIKI: What's your favorite cover you perform?
KYTE: The only cover we have played is Talking Heads' "Warning Sign," but we gave it up recently.
TIKI: After a show nothing tastes better than?
KYTE: After a show nothing tastes better than the blood in my mouth? Is that what you mean?
TIKI: Well, not really.
Do you think your music saves lives?
KYTE: Our music hasn't saved any lives that I'm aware of. It has ruined three lives and five relationships to date though.
[Bob's Java Jive, with MC Vagina and guests, Saturday, Dec. 2, 9 p.m., $3, 2102 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, 253.475.9843]
[Le Voyeur, with Weird Weeds from Austin, Kickball and guests, Sunday, Dec. 3, 10 p.m., 404 E. Fourth Ave., Olympia, 360.352.1855]

As always, Bobble Tiki doesn't care what you do this week because he doesn't even know you. And unless you are also tired of Capra-corn's hideous little flick and agree that Bedford Falls would have been a much more interesting place had George Bailey never existed, then Bobble Tiki is certain he doesn't even want to meet you. Besides, it's time to blow this joint and try to find Bobble Tiki's baby Jesus nativity set. Much like Bailey, Bobble Tiki is experiencing a nightmare sequence of pure dementia, sustained far longer than is usually considered comfortable."

- Bobble Tiki


"Based on a five-song EP, OCF has the potential to be one of the more vigorous rock bands around Seattle.

Open Choir Fire landed a top-notch producer - Johnny Sangster (Mudhoney, Murder City Devils), at Egg Studios - to track its new EP, “In Each Appropriate, Everlasting and Not.” While the title leans towards pretentious, the album avoids the cute: Its five songs are forward moving, driving toward a goal…even if the goal is not always spelled out in black and white. The sound at various times faintly echoes early Modest Mouse, Juno’s moody urgency, a few dashes of Queens of the Stone Age – singer Amo Delbello sounds a bit like QOTSA’s Josh Homme.

Open Choir Fire (“the name doesn’t mean much”, says Delbello, a Southwesterner who went to Tacoma’s UPS with drummer Terry Kyte; the two were later joined by bass player Brian Massey) plays from its EP 9 p.m. Saturday at the Mars Bar."
- Tom Scanlon


Despite easy comparisons to early “alt” bands like the Pixies, this Seattle-based trio is, in reality, not so derivative. Though it all sounds a little familiar, what really emanates from Open Choir Fire’s new EP is an instinct for eclectic textures and mood creation.

For instance, “Oh Grace” begins like a lone prayer cradled in heavy guitar riffs, but when the backup vocals emerge in an angelic round-like style, it actually sounds like a choral piece. Even when singer/guitarist Amo DelBello breaks into the kind of gravelly growl you might hear from a death metal band, the lyrics stay graceful and the melody remains in an Elysian realm. “Candle” is a bit duskier, bound by a heavy bassline—something like “Sesame Street” gone ghost town. Almost every line of the song ends with DelBello asking, “How do you know?” sung in slithering minor key and punctuated by a disconcerting bark.

These details are what distinguish Open Choir Fire from the mountain of self-serious indie rockers who think affected vocals and cryptic songwriting is the ultimate goal. It’s a sample of solid craftsmanship, a preview of what they could do with a full-length venture.
- Ericka Fredrickson


While Seattle’s Open Choir Fire garners Pixies comparisons on the regular, I’m reminded more of the generation that followed. Jawbox, in particular, as Choir Fire frontman Amo DelBello has a healthy dose of J. Robbins in his vocal chords and songwriting style. The band’s start-stop guitar rock is catchy as hell and a little bit punk, but its tempo and chord changes come at the listener with mathematical precision. - Casey Jarman


Seattle rock trio Open Choir Fire are the sore thumb on tonight's lineup. On their new record, Dirt Bathed and Quilted (released this week), the Tacoma transplants experiment with everything from sharp, post-rock rhythms ("You Should Take the Bus") to more fluid indie-rock melodies ("Get in Line"). But billmates Bad Dream Good Breakfast and Andy Werth both boast strings and piano and a vaudevillian vibe. Weird, right? Maybe OCF did that on purpose. Maybe it's like a wedding—when you choose bridesmaids' dresses, you want them to look nice and all, but they can't be at all like your dress because you're the bride—it's your night. Well, tonight, with their new record in hand, is Open Choir Fire's night, and tonight they will shine. - Megan Seling


Discography

2003 - Untitled - 4 song demo
2004 - "Mississippi Painful" - 18 song acoustic folk and country.
2005 - "Water" - 5 song demo/EP
2006 - "Jason's Basement" - 3 song web release
2006 - "Ball of Wax: Volume 3" - local Seattle compilation featuring "Nice and Neat" from upcoming EP
2006 - "In Each Appropriate, Everlasting and Not" - First professionally recorded and distributed release.
2007 - "Ball of Wax: Volume 9" - local Seattle compilation featuring new song "Over Her"
2009 - "Beep Repaired Family Tree" - local Seattle compilation featuring old gem "Pirate"
2009 - "Dirt Bathed and Quilted" - First full length album
2009 - "No Recession" by psuedo country band "Mississippi Painful". Limited edition full length distrubuted for free with OCF albums
2009 - "Ball of Wax: Volume 19" - local Seattle compilation featuring new song "Clara"

The song "Catholic Guilt" from "Water" has received airplay on KEXP. Several songs from 2006 "In Each..." and 2009 "Dirt Bathed..." have been played on Seattle's KEXP, KNDD, KUPS, and other college radio stations. "Things You Have to Do", "Candle", "Get In Line", and "You Should Take The Bus" are the most popular tracks from OCF's latest two releases.

Photos

Bio

OPEN CHOIR FIRE is a respected 6 year veteran of the Seattle indie rock scene. Following 3 years of playing local showcases and distributing free home recordings, they released their first studio album in early 2006. The 5 song EP, entitled “In Each Appropriate, Everlasting and Not,” received overwhelmingly high praise from local press, as well as some lighthearted ribbing for the lengthy title. Critics simultaneously credited the band with having an inventive and diverse sound, while still managing to have qualities reminiscent of early 90’s grunge rock. Over the years their music has been labeled "neo-grunge", referred to as "rockin', quirky, and sweet" and been described as "a richly diverse collection of sounds and styles." References to the Pixies and the Talking Heads are not uncommon, although in general, references are numerous and often contradictory (e.g. Fugazi, Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse). Strikingly, OCF has been able to achieve a cohesive sound and still manage to satisfy listeners with a wide variety of tastes.

“Dirt Bathed and Quilted,” OCF’s first full length release, carries the same eclectic style typical of earlier recordings. However, the album represents a moderate departure for the band. In addition to some creative instrumentation and production, more of the songs have a catchy/melodic overtone than “In Each…” Nevertheless, fans of a harder edged sound will not be disappointed by tracks like “Killing the Messenger,” “A Vow of Poverty…”, and “I Stay Real Quiet”. The new full length album, recorded over Labor Day weekend in 2008, was released at a pair of CD release shows in Tacoma and Seattle July of 2009.

Since the 2009 release OCF has enjoyed airplay and a live appearance on Seattle's world renowned indie rock station 90.3 KEXP. Currently, the band continues to play shows regularly in the Pacific Northwest. They are working feverishly on a new full length album to be released hopefully in late summer of 2010.