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snowglobe

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The best kept secret in music

Press


"snowglobe our land brains"

In July of 2002, Bardot Records had the collective balls to suggest that Snowglobe, a Memphis quartet no one outside of Tennessee had ever heard of, recently recorded the "pop album of the year." The suggestion ran as a banner ad atop the Pitchfork front page, and was disguised in question format (i.e. "Snowglobe: Pop album of the year?"). If you're at all like this reviewer, you probably reacted to this blatant hype-evangelism with a curt, cynical hipster retort-- something along the lines of "Pop Album of the Year? Try 'Poop Album of the Year.'" Then you and your friends all laughed together in a warm spirit of bitter, self-righteous erudition. Hipsters, however, are notorious for reacting before thinking, especially to suggestions that something is actually good. So if you were one of those doubting this wintery 'Globe, then prepare to be shamed.

On second thought, shame is too strong a word. That is, unless by doubting Snowglobe you also got caught masturbating (unlikely). Prepare instead to be lightly corrected; your bitter cynicism is about to be exposed as false. By who? By Snowglobe, of course. And by me, who is writing about this wonderful quartet. Our Land Brains may not be the pop album of the year, and Snowglobe is definitely not the bandname of the year, but this disc sure is a dandy.

Whenever a band starts an album with three near-perfect pop songs, it's usually a good thing (that is, unless it only gets worse from there on out, but we'll tackle that issue later). Our Land Brains opens with "Waves Rolling," a 60s throwback reminiscent of the Byrds and the Elephant 6 posse. Don't think Beatles, though; their influence is present, but Snowglobe draw from a wider pool of resources, most of which are American. The second number, "Beautiful," opens with a simple, playful five-chord piano progression. Other pianos dot in and out of the composition, some pounding lower bass notes, others scampering down scales at the upper registers. Percussion is composed of sleigh bells, tambourine, xylophone and kettle drums. Then comes the voice: ladies and gentlemen, please say hello to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. I mean that in the least derogatory way possible; somehow, vocalist Brad Postlethwaite and his comrades in harmony manage to bottle up a candy-sweet Beach Boys melody, replete with letter-perfect vocal reproduction and reconstitute it here for your listening pleasure.

Postlethwaite shares songwriting and lead-vocal duties with Tim Regan, who gets his first chance to display his wares on "Dreamworks," the album's third actual song. Regan's voice tends more towards a Pete Townsend timbre, and his songwriting takes on a dramatic, serious mood. Prominent instrumentation on the track include a strong, uptempo minor-key bassline, a mournful piano vamp and horns, and a wah-wah'd guitar that's afforded its own 35 second solo. The lyrics are nicely poetic: "Slip away from all you've known/ Swim out in the distance/ Catch a ride on the furthest star/ Colors bleed into your eyes, as you shoot through the distant skies of heaven." The melody, ascending into the upper registers for the chorus, punctuates the emotion in the lyrics.

After "Dreamworks" is through, however, the disc begins a descent back into the land of the pop mortals. Most of the rest of the album is well above-average, like "Adrenaline Mother," which falls somewhere between the Moody Blues and "Norwegian Wood," and "Muse," a sing-along-with-Belle-and-Sebastian-style melody. But some tracks plain fall flat, like "Big City Lights," a seven-minute tune with a few too many nonsensical twists and turns, and "Playground," where Postlethwaite's nasal delivery is epitomized, and his sense of melody is effectively disguised as a sense of the boring and clichéd.

"Pop Album of the Year?" It's possible. Would have been even more possible had it been shorter (there are 16 tracks on this sucka). Even if it's not, though, I wouldn't go so far as to call Bardot Records a brood of vipers. Their lies will have been white ones-- helpful ones, even, lies that led the deceived to some fricking sweet-ass music with a few superb songs and massive loads of promise. Bardot Records, you bastard liars, we thank you.

-Brad Haywood, August 5th, 2002 - pitchfork media


"snowglobe live at schubas chicago"

Snowglobe
Schubas
Chicago, IL

It was a smoky crowd of hipsters that Snowglobe played to at Schubas. The bearded trucker-hat and snowcap-wearing band looked as if they had rode into the city on an eighteen-wheeler from their Memphis hometown. Mixing a set of twelve and a half horn-filled songs off of 2002's Our Land Brains and the upcoming 2005 release Doing The Distance, Snowglobe impressed.

With their nonchalant stage presence and artistic pop sensibilities similar to that of Modest Mouse, a relaxed Snowglobe made it seem all too easy on stage. With Brad Postlethwaite and Tim Regan trading lead vocals and keyboards, Nahshon Benford kept the group upbeat with his trumpet and tuba playing. The band exuded a cool Elephant 6 collective-vibe ala Neutral Milk Hotel.

Snowglobe played subtle psycho-pop songs like "Waves Rolling," and "Dream Works," from Our Land Brains but the band sounded strongest when they pulled away from the keyboards and took on a duel guitar attack that built into a wave of southern-psycho power on the newer material.

The infectious "Regime," from Doing The Distance is a hit in the making that could land Snowglobe further success. The songs played from the upcoming album Doing The Distance sound promising, as does Snowglobe's future.


- static multimedia


"snowglobe with the dreadful yawns"

Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Memphis's Snowglobe plays an entrancing blend of cosmic American music that owes as much to pioneering psychedelic country/pop legends like the Byrds and Gram Parsons as it does to modern-day fellow travelers like the Flaming Lips.

Formed by guitarist-vocalists Tim Regan and Brad Postlethwaite, who have been pals since high school, the duo briefly relocated to Athens, Georgia, the East Coast headquarters of sorts for the Elephant 6 Collective, before returning to Memphis and finalizing their current lineup. The band's brand-new effort, Doing the Distance, which was released by Spain's acclaimed Houston Party Records (European home to the likes of the Postal Service and Iron and Wine), is a rich tapestry of warm, trippy sounds, enhanced with strings, piano, horns, and chimes. Don't miss their show at Capsule with local alt-county favorites the Dreadful Yawns. The two like-minded groups formed a friendship last fall when they played together in Memphis. - cleveland scene


"snowglobe doing the distance"

Memphis by-way-of Athens quintet Snowglobe has made great strides since its debut, Our Land Brains. Led by Tim Regan and Brad Postlethwaite, the group draws on the inspiration of the Elephant 6 collective, with pretty, psychedelic-tinged pop music rich in melodicism and sonic details for their follow-up, Doing the Distance.

The sheer wealth of instruments the band uses creates moments as jam packed as rush hour. But for the most part, principle songwriters Regan and Postlethwaite manage to keep the music unpretentious with a homey, lived-in quality and a gentle, unassuming lilt, which falls just short of the rustic tones of Southern pop. More Beulah than Neutral Milk Hotel, Snowglobe is at its best when it lets its pop instincts take over.

"Regime" highlights this approach with its bouncy, calliope swing. It occurs in a terrific three-pack of songs near the middle of the album. Bookending it are "Changes," with its organ-driven pop that harks back to the Brit Invasion sounds of the Turtles, and the bustling "Rock Song," with a horn-fueled attack that's part Plimsouls, and part crisp pop reminiscent of Grant Lee Philips. The result is a full-bodied, and varied album keyed to great indie pop sensibility. - creative loafing atlanta ga


Discography

our land brains (bardot, houston party records)
doing the distance (makeshift music, houston party records)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Saddled with the responsibility of penning their own bio for their sophomore album, “Doing the Distance”, the members of Snowglobe, only too familiar with the tendency to drag ass, came up with a brilliant plan. “Cancel your appointments, go in that room, shut the door, and don’t come out until it is written.” They’re still in there… but at least we have the bio.

Snowglobe have been playing music together since high school. They are 5 Memphis boys with a penchant for the kind of rock that puts a subtle jangle in your step and a pop song in your heart. They released their debut album, “Our Land Brains” in 2002.

“Doing the Distance” is Snowglobe’s 2nd album. 3 years later and a world of experiences further on, the members of Snowglobe share with you, dear reader, their take on the music in their own words…

The resonating feeling was that “Doing The Distance” was a gently grown-up Snowglobe. Just as the “Pop” we care about has grown up a little bit, and most likely so have you. We stress “little” because we don’t want pop (or you) to grow up too much now do we?

What do you get then? Steve Earle? Norah Jones?
The Flaming Lips? Perhaps, but we’re in no position to say. We are a bit behind on our “adult contemporary pop”. What does that mean anyway? Pop made by adults?
We digress… point being, “Doing The Distance” climbs the mountain made by Mercury Rev (the band that you should have been listening to instead of The Flaming Lips.) There are pop bands that make it count, and then there are the rest. Snowglobe makes it count.

Now on to the music:
The album’s second track “Loaded Gun” is not the kind of gem just tossed off or farted out, but rather it is calculated with care. Not that Snowglobe would toss off or fart out songs – we realize that your attention span wears thin with all the clutter out there. We strive to battle “Entertainment Attention Deficit Disorder” on all fronts!

Ah the fuzz guitar solo on “Ms. June”… if only “American badass” were a classification of guitar solo.

“Aimless Sailor” takes a minute before turning into a big-hooked reason for hitting repeat. You know that guy who is always force-feeding everyone new music and always pulls the “check-out-what-this- song-does-towards-the-end” line? “Aimless Sailor” was built for that guy.

An uncanny, but not orphaned rocker appears with “Rock Song,” not that you’ll be asleep or anything by this juncture, we’re just saying that it rocks.

“Medium” contains the album’s other incredible guitar solo, and let’s just say that it’s also the best
piano/electric ballad since what… maybe the original Nazz version of “Hello, It’s Me” or Harry Nilsson’s “Without You”?

We do not envy the female muse that caused “Regime” to be written. Sad days.

And the tracks we didn’t mention? Well they are the glue that holds the rest together. There is no filler. “Doing The Distance” is a 16-track UP YOURS to the face of jaded sterility and teetotalers who claim that all of the good stuff has already been made.

Lastly, this news: Brad Postlethwaite, who played a huge role in the foundation and the creative processes of Snowglobe, has chosen to take his energies elsewhere. He will be attending medical school and will no longer be with the band. Then there were 4…

Snowglobe is:
Tim Regan: vocals, piano, guitar, mellotron, synths, and drums

Brandon Robertson: vocals, bass, noises

Jeff Hulett: vocals, drums, and piano

Nahshon Benford: trumpet, euphonium, and flute

Luke White- guitar, vocals, noises