Spartan Fidelity
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Spartan Fidelity

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Alternative Rock

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Sep
16
Spartan Fidelity @ CODA

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Apr
07
Spartan Fidelity @ Grande Rex

Paris, Not Applicable, France

Paris, Not Applicable, France

Mar
05
Spartan Fidelity @ The Metro

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


When people ask me to list some of my favorite bands, one band that always appears on the list is Remy Zero. Many people wrote them off because they only knew them as the band that provided the theme song to the television show “Smallville”, and that’s really a shame. If these people had stopped for a second and expanded their minds, they would’ve seen that Remy Zero, while only releasing three albums, really were one of the best American bands to come along in years. When Remy Zero announced their split near the end of 2003, it felt like I was losing a good friend. But, much like the Phoenix, new projects have risen from the ashes of Remy Zero, like Sleepwell (drummer Gregory Slay and guitarist Jeffery Cain) and Isidore (Cain and bassist for The Church, Steve Kilbey). Now, the brains and the voice behind Remy Zero, Shelby and Cinjun Tate, have re-emerged as Spartan Fidelity. Their debut release Excava-11 is supposed to represent a return to their roots, with the entire album being recorded by just the two of them in a small studio out in the middle of the Tennessee woods. As experimental as parts of this album sound, the end result is still pleasing to the ears.

The sounds on Excava-11 seem to recall bits and pieces of Remy Zero’s 1996 self-titled debut album (known by the fans as the Twister album). It starts out creepy enough with opener “Blood Spills Around The Pond”, but then that familiar voice that is Cinjun Tate appears on “1st Sun” as if to say, “All is well friends. We will never desert you.” Songs like “Pinpoint” and “Now/Here” are simple in their construction, but they are absolutely beautiful in their simplicity. You don’t always need a big production. Sometimes a guitar, keyboard, and vocal harmonies are all it takes, and if there’s one thing Cinjun and Shelby Tate can do better than almost anyone out there, it’s harmonize. They are definitely the male counterparts to Azure Ray, especially when you hear a song like “Locust”.

This is one of those albums where everything flows perfectly together, and there’s even a recurring theme. On the opener, you hear this haunting guitar riff. Later, that riff comes back to provide the vocal line for the song “Where Is This Coming From”, which sounds very much like Radiohead. For those that don’t care for experimentation, the song that the general listener will find most approachable is “Such Green Velvet Pants”. This song is the Tates making like The Spiders From Mars. If you close your eyes and listen, you’d swear that Shelby was Mick Ronson, or perhaps the modern equivalent, Andy Dunlop of Travis. Speaking of Travis, their influence seems to make an appearance on album closer “2nd Sun”. The refreshing thing about these songs is that what you hear is what they want you to hear. There are no outside producers or engineers, and no one from the label advising them on how their music should sound. Excava-11 is Shelby and Cinjun’s baby, and only theirs.

Excava-11 clocks in at just over thirty-five minutes, which leads me to my only complaint about the album: it’s not long enough. However, everyone has to start somewhere, and this is only the beginning. Before the year is out, we will see two more Spartan Fidelity releases, each one getting closer to a full band sound. This is in no way a continuation of Remy Zero, but this album is as close as one will get to reliving the magic that quintet from Alabama created. If this is only the first of what’s to come, we’re all in for a real treat. -- Joel Buchanan

- Dallas Music Guide


Spartan Fidelity is the larger canvas for the brothers Cinjun and Shelby Tate, a glorious, sad, vertically reaching portrait signed in blood. A colossal album from the first, Excava-11 extracts the sub rosa elements of Remy Zero's "Twister," and the haunting tremolo of Villa Elaine's more abstract numbers ("Life in Rain", "Motorcycle") and comes together through the earth-worn sensibilities of the Tates. From the three-tiered opening into the heartbreaking "Pinpoint" to the brilliant Velvet Goldmine-esque "Such Green Velvet Pants" to the slightly ominous "Locust" -- each song bleeds into the next -- and every one of them gets you in the gut. It's an intricate album full of wonder. -- Chuck Mendhenhall
- Village Voice


The raw emotion expressed through Cinjun’s unadulterated voice is enough to reduce anyone to tears. What resulted from the culmination of vocal supremacy, instrumental building and pure emotive sensation was a concoction that was truly breath taking. -- Vic Bird - Drowned in Sound


I can only say that if you are looking for simple pop or pompous awkward chord changes or banging droning rock—don’t look here. If you want to fly on Icarus’s wings and come close to the heavens and the stars and plunge to the depths of the universe only to come back whole but well changed—this is what you NEED. –- sharri ginsburg


- Organ Magazine


The moment that they take the stage they own it. When the lights come up, Cinjun Tate stands alone, armed with just an acoustic and his angelic voice. By the second song, the capacity crowd at the Ogden all has the same look on their faces—the way one looks when trying to operate with a blown mind. -- Dave Herrera - Hybrid Magazine


Spartan Fidelity
Excava-11
(9 out of 10)

Sometime in the ‘90s there was a band that was destined to be the next big thing. They were produced by Nigel Godrich (of Radiohead fame) and their lead singer had a voice so powerful that even in his quietest moments you could feel him reaching deep into that place that few artists can penetrate. This band was labeled “the American Radiohead” (no shit) and they even accompanied Radiohead on the “OK Computer” tour. This band was mis-hyped and mis-marketed and eventually dropped by their label, Elektra (who retained the rights to their last record and refused to release it). The band was Remy Zero, the brainchild of five friends from Tennessee.

The band broke up quietly while legions of fans waited hungrily to hear a next record that was never to be.

Two members from Remy Zero—Cinjun Tate (lead singer) and Shelby Tate (guitarist)—having put up with the smog of LA for as long as they could stand, rented a car and drove back to Tennessee. They set to work on a project without the boundaries of a big label and with all the fidelity that a converted shack and some old computers could muster. The result was genius. Led by Cinjun’s unmistakable and haunting voice, the first in a three-part release is titled “Excava-11.” It’s Remy Zero with the added quirkiness of looping software. From the minute I received the record I couldn’t stop listening to it for three weeks. Not since “OK Computer” had I been hooked into an album so deeply and so quickly. The album listens like an EP, since several of the songs are short instrumental pieces. And my only complaint about the record is that at exactly 35 minutes, it’s just not long enough. —Bryan Costanich


- Tablet Magazine


For those unaware, the band Remy Zero broke up a short while ago. Their biggest claim to fame probably being the theme song, "Save Me" from Smallville. The driving forces behind the band, Cinjun and Shelby Tate, have struck out on their own (as "Spartan Fidelity") and recently released their first creation, Excava-11.

Now, before I being, let me just say that I loved Remy Zero and consider their album, Villa Elaine, one of my all-time favorite CD's. Spartan Fidelity is similar, naturally, but is definitely more artistic and creative it seems. Track 3, Pinpoint, Track 10, Locust, and Track 12, 2nd Sun (all favorites of mine) are definitely examples of this. Their musical arrangements are a little more inspired and free-form, rather than tight and produced. It's different, but definitely in a good way.

Overall, the disc is haunting, emotional, abstract, beautiful, and ultimately an enjoyable listen. Remy Zero may no longer be around, but I'm certainly glad Spartan Fidelity is taking it's place.

**** (4 stars) / out of 5 - Muzicality.com


This is the best stuff I've heard all year, any where! Such moody yet simple production and arrangements, Brilliant. I love these songs. Very cool production and arrangement. The harmonies are making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. If Elliot Smith, Radio Head and the Cocteau Twins formed a band. - Taxi A&R


Discography

Excava-11 - Released 2004, Excavation Records
Broken Drum - Released 2004, Excavation Records
Singles - Released 2005, Excavation Records (Today, Stupid Kid, Sad Goodbye)
Airplay several stations including KCRW, WXPN, WRAX, WGRD, KTSW, 99X

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Before Cinjun and Shelby were Spartan Fidelity, they were in Hollywood, and as members of Remy Zero, walking and sleeping on Sunset and Vine. They wrote songs about where they were, "The Villa Elaine" and how it felt, "Save Me". Mostly due to the smog, Remy Zero ended and in order to finally escape the desperation megapolis, Cinjun and Shelby rented a car and drove and drove - mostly Cinjun - and then recorded some sounds in a shack in Tennessee. They were called Spartan Fidelity then. Spartan Fidelity is just Cinjun and Shelby with old computers, and maybe a drummer once in a while. Their first CD, on Excavation Records, is Excava-11.

Chuck Mindenhall of the Village Voice writes, "Spartan Fidelity is the larger canvas for the brothers Cinjun and Shelby Tate, a glorious, sad, vertically reaching portrait signed in blood. A colossal album from the first, Excava-11 extracts the sub rosa elements of Remy Zero's "Twister," and the haunting tremolo of Villa Elaine's more abstract numbers ("Life in Rain", "Motorcycle") and comes together through the earth-worn sensibilities of the Tates. From the three-tiered opening into the heartbreaking "Pinpoint" to the brilliant Velvet Goldmine-esque "Such Green Velvet Pants" to the slightly ominous "Locust" -- each song bleeds into the next -- and every one of them gets you in the gut. It's an intricate album full of wonder."

While the end of Remy Zero was in Spartan Fidelity's destiny � it paved the road for Shelby and Cinjun's foundation to grow into fruition. Weaving a unique soundscape that launches each listener into it�s journey, Spartan Fidelity now create a brew of delights anew. They make no excuses. They are free from boundaries. The music speaks for itself. It�s had almost 20 years to ponder its vision and it's got a story to tell.

As for the journey ahead, Spartan Fidelity are soon to release more of these sounds and tour in a strange lean fashion. They will go to small cities and giant ones and a few countries beside the U.S. Spartan Fidelity tour dates will be announced very soon, as well as their mode of transportation and unique identifying markings.