The Lees of Memory
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The Lees of Memory

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Alternative Indie




"The Lees Of Memory – “We Are Siamese” Video (Stereogum Premiere)"

Jul 28th '14 by Chris DeVille

The Lees Of Memory are a superb new Tennessee shoegaze trio comprising ex-Superdrag members John Davis and Brandon Fisher plus Nick Slack, who drummed for another Davis-fronted band called Epic Ditch. They’ve just signed to SideOneDummy and will release debut album Sisyphus Says this fall. The lead single is “Sisyphus Says,” a song that shows an almost supernatural understanding of the sonic trickery that made Loveless such a game-changer. If you squint, you can hear traces of good old-fashioned American rock ’n’ roll under the ethereal swell. But yeah, mostly it’s just expertly executed shoegaze. For the video, director Elvis Wilson shot the band around producer Nick Raskulinecz’s Rock Falcon, Tennessee compound and applied heavy visual effects to match the music. Raskulinecz appears in the video on bass to honor his massive contributions to the record. Watch and enjoy below.

Sisyphus Says is out 9/16 on SideOneDummy. Pre-order Sisyphus Says here. Burger will release a cassette version of the album on the same day. SideOneDummy will also reissue of Superdrag’s Head Trip In Every Key on vinyl along with a demos disc called Jokers W/ Tracers on 8/12. - Stereogum

"The Lees of Memory (ex-Superdrag) releasing an album on SideOneDummy & Burger (watch a video)"

July 28, 2014 by Andrew Sacher

Like a handful of '90s alt rock one-Buzz-Bin-song-wonders, Superdrag were more than just "Sucked Out" and had a pretty good career that produced some worthy deeper cuts. They broke up in '03 but briefly reunited in the late 2000s, resulting in a 2009 reunion album. After that, singer John Davis formed the '80s-punk inspired Epic Ditch with alt-rock mega producer Nick Raskulinecz, and he's now fronting a new band, The Lees of Memory with Superdrag guitarist Brandon Fisher and Epic Ditch drummer Nick Slack.

The band's debut album, Sisyphus Says, comes out September 16 on digital/vinyl via melodic punk powerhouse SideOneDummy and on cassette via garage rock label/lifestyle Burger Records (side note: this means at least two '90s alt-rockers have recently joined Burger), but it sounds more like it should've come out on early '90s Creation. Though the snotty, crunchy power pop of their '90s days did have some shoegaze influence, they've fully immersed themselves in the sounds of My Bloody Valentine for this one. (Some of the material on that '09 comeback album hinted more strongly at this too.) Raskulinecz produced it. Get a taste from the Elvis Wilson-directed video for first single "We Are Siamese" (via Stereogum), below.

SideOne is also giving Superdrag's Head Trip In Every Key its first vinyl release and putting out a collection of Head Trip demos, Jokers w/ Tracers, on August 12. - BrooklynVegan

"The Lees of Memory, “Not a Second More” {The most triumphant return of Superdrag’s John Davis and Brandon Fischer.}"

Sjimon Gompers | August 11, 2014

Nineties group Superdrag continue their alternative canon with a new band, new releases, and new re-issues. Though Superdrag reunited for a moment in 2009, singer John Davis (also of Epic Ditch) has yet another group, The Lees of Memory, that include Superdrag guitarist Brandon Fischer, drummer Nick Slack, and producer Nick Raskulinecz (both also of Epic Ditch). Next month SideOneDummy and guardians of all things indie Burger Records, will release their debut album Sisyphus Says. But first, turning the clocks back to 1998, SideOneDummy is re-releasing Superdrag’s Head Trip In Every Key on vinyl for the first time, along with the demo companion release of rarities, Jokers w/ Tracers.

On The Lees of Memory’s “Not a Second More”, the tape rewinds back in time for you to relive, rewrite, and vandalize the stages and sounds of the early-to-mid 90s. Indulge yourself in the five minute freak out of guitar-glossed-guts and glory where the Knoxville, Tennessee group amplifies an embrace of the immediate. “Not a Second More” angles the boomerang to a time where the early 90s UK independents were eyeballing attempts to break into the American alternative markets, the frenzies of now legendary festivals, to the documented cruxes of commercialized nostalgia. The head trip on The Lees’ “Second More” idolizes the importance and significance in the era that saw the power in chords elevating favorite cult band pulpits like pillars of strength, making the mid-90s feel as close to the present day as if it occurred this past weekend. Following the premiere from The Lees of Memory, we got a chance to catch up with Superdrag vets John Davis and Brandon Fischer in a reflective round of discussion.

With the advent of Superdrag’s Head Trip in Every Key being re-issued on vinyl and The Lees of Memory’s Sisyphus Says to follow; looking back, what are some of your favorite memories from around 1998?

John: One popped into my mind instantly, so I’ll go with it—it would be Jerry Finn taking me to buy a new Les Paul. We were in town playing at the Hollywood Palladium (5-9-98, supporting Ben Folds Five). Thanks to Jerry, they really rolled out the red carpet for me and let me play five identical guitars and choose the best one. I also remember Tommy Stinson coming out to see the show and hang out afterwards; that still blows my mind. Standing around chit-chatting with one of our heroes, trying to act normal.

Brandon: I would say playing the Head Trip songs live. The record has a fair amount of instrumentation on it; it was fun trying to re-create that live as a four-piece. That meant having to travel with more gear (including some stuff that would get used on just a single song), but it was worth it, ha ha…

What is the story behind the The Lees of Memory, and is it a sort allusion to staking a claim as guardians of 90s time capsule re-discovered, and re-jetted?

John: Please, anything but that! Ha ha, having me guard the ’90s Time Capsule wouldn’t be a very good idea. I’d never be able to resist vandalizing it in some way. No, the Lees really started with Brandon; he had been writing and wanted to make some 4-track demos. This was in August of 2012. “Deliquesce” was the first one we did. I got on a roll with writing not long afterwards, and for a minute there we were sort of running on parallel lines separately. But the two batches of material were so sympathetic to one another that it just made perfect sense for us to join forces going forward.

Brandon: In terms of the name, I was trying to write lyrics, and it was an image that just sort of occurred to me—likening memories to the winemaker’s lees. Then we did the “Is this band name used?” search online, and John found the phrase in a book from the late 1700s; I think the author said “stirring the lees of memory”… so, nothing new under the sun, I guess…

What things have you felt have shifted from the brainstorming, recording and song composition process in The Lees of Memory, versus the days of Superdrag?

John: Well, we don’t live in the same city anymore, so any collaborating on the pre-production side ends up happening via e-mails back-and-forth, etc. We tracked and overdubbed everything guerrilla-style where we’d strategically plan a day or two or three to get as much work done as possible, far in advance; sort of a surgical strike rather than camping out somewhere indefinitely ’til the whole thing’s done. So much has changed, that just isn’t an option for us anymore.

Brandon: With Superdrag, we’d typically rehearse songs and play them live before recording them in the studio, so guitar-wise, I had a lot of time to tweak what I was playing. With these songs, the first time I played them with John and Nick was on the tracking floor. So I guess my guitar parts are a little more ‘first-instinct,’ maybe, as compared to Superdrag.

Describe the collaborative fusion that The Less employ that made up the songs you hear on Sisyphus Says.

John: “Open Your Arms” is a pretty good example; Brandon sent me a demo of his guitar and vocals cut to a click, I flew it into one track of the 4-track and overdubbed drums, bass, synths, second guitar and vocals, added a bridge I had written for it and sent it back. He was stoked on how it came out, so that became the blueprint for what we would eventually do in the studio with Nick (Raskulinecz) and Nick (Slack).

Brandon: To me, a lot of it is instinctive. Like, when we demoed “Deliquesce”, I had the guitar and vocal written, and as John was adding in the other instruments (and coming up with their parts), the vibe he was getting was perfect! And when we recorded that one in the studio, I had an overdub guitar part I wanted to add in… I showed Nick the part (on an unplugged guitar), and he immediately knew the exact amp sound to dial in.

What is it about the Sisyphusian mythological tale of futility that inspired you all?

John: I would say that it neatly sums up the human experience, wouldn’t you? Throw Ecclesiastes 2 into the mix and it’s basically a wrap. I find joy in my family, though, in spite of the cosmic insignificance of ‘toil under the sun’ or whatever, or even making records, for that matter. I mean, from a certain point of view, the world needs another band and another record about like it needs a hole in the head. [Laughs] …and of course we’re part of the problem.

Brandon: It’s also something that John and I have talked about over the years. Not necessarily in a negative way; I guess maybe in a wry humor sort of way. When he sent me a text suggesting we use Sisyphus somehow in the title, I was like, ‘yep.’ [Laughs]

Give us the deets on how this release partnership was brokered between SideOneDummy and Burger Records.

John: It just sort of happened! Our friend Jeffrey Smith really helped us out, he sent the music around to a bunch of people, including the Burger bros. They were down to do a cassette version, which I was SUPER-stoked on. 4-track cassette recording is at the heart of everything I do, always has been, always will be. Plus, Burger is sick, they do so many interesting things, they’ve worked with lots of great bands from around here (Nashville), plus, they put out Personal & The Pizzas! I mean, come on!!!

We jumped at the chance to work with those guys. At the same time, we already had a good relationship with SideOneDummy via these Superdrag reissues; they were just so friendly, so helpful and so easy to deal with, I thought, “why not send them the Soundcloud link and just see what they say?” I think they hollered back the same day! We were definitely on the phone the same week talking about the possibility of a Lees/S1D release. They put a lot of heart and passion into what they do, we feel very fortunate to be involved. They’ve already shown Head Trip… more love than Elektra ever did! Just keepin it 100.

What observations have you all made of the alternate, indie scenes of the 90s, and the similarities, differences, and resurgence of interest in the 1990s culture now in 2014, as well as in recent years?

John: Man, I don’t know, I guess it was inevitable? I mean, for a long time all the hot new bands sounded like ‘First-Wave-of-MTV’ to me, you know? I loved MTV so much when it came out.[laughs] I was seven years old. But yeah, for a while there, it was like, ‘oh, that’s Men Without Hats!’ ‘That’s DEVO! Duran Duran!’ Then a couple years ago somebody played me the hot new indie rock band (which I would rather not mention by name), and I thought, ‘that sounds exactly like Archers Of Loaf.’ So yeah, it was bound to happen eventually.

Brandon: Regarding differences, I think of how so much has changed in terms of getting music ‘out there.’ For an indie band, having an online presence is such a great way to reach an audience. I guess it’s still word-of-mouth, in a sense, but at a much quicker and larger scale.

Superdrag’s Head Trip in Every Key will be re-issued on vinyl August 12 and The Lees of Memory’s Sisyphus Says available September 16 from SideOneDummy and on cassette from Burger Records. - IMPOSE


Sisyphus Says (full-length), SideOneDummy Records (LP/digital); Burger Records (CS), 2014
"We Are Siamese" b/w "Open Your Arms" (7" single), Velocity of Sound Records, 2013



The Lees Of Memory sprang to life off the playback head of a 4-track cassette recorder in August 2012... and launched headlong into the process of writing what would eventually become their anticipated debut album entitled Sisyphus Says. Guitarist/Vocalist Brandon Fisher and multi-instrumentalist and singer John Davis have both a 25-plus-year friendship and a musical kinship cemented first in the damp basements and dive bars of their native Knoxville, TN with punk quartet The Used (posthumously re-named The Used To Be for legal reasons, with Davis on drums), and later behind the twin-engine guitars that propelled the group Superdrag to international acclaim and the Buzz Bin with their hit "Sucked Out" and a sizable body of work that still holds water today. In the interim, Davis released a pair of solid releases under his own name, made his mark as an in-demand sideman and session player, and did time in hardcore outfit Epic Ditch (whose records the Nashville Scene described as "...right up there with OFF's First Four EPs in terms of tight, concise, contemporary 'skate or die' statements.")

The Lees Of Memory didn't yet exist when Fisher and Davis got together in John's home studio (High Bias!!! A Cassette-Based Operation) to flesh out one of Brandon's latest songs; the result ("Deliquesce") stoked a fire of creativity that soon saw the pair moving on separate, parallel tracks, but composing two very sympathetic batches of material. The decision to join forces and continue moving forward as a team was an easy one. Once drummer Nick Slack (Slack, Pink Spiders, Epic Ditch) was recruited, the newly-minted trio was ready to roll into Nashville's Blackbird Studio with Grammy-winning producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Ghost, Alice In Chains, Deftones), another long-time friend of the band and "5th Beatle" on the majority of their Superdrag output and beyond. Working in quick, focused blasts and eventually setting up shop at Raskulinecz's Rock Falcon TN compound, the band knocked out their 11 best songs and emerged with what they've proclaimed to be the record of their lives.

Sometimes blanketed in a dense fog of swooning Jazzmasters and Jaguars, channeling Twin Peaks with ancient samplers powered by floppy disks, the songs on Sisyphus Says are pierced through with keening melodies and rich with harmonic colors. First single and video "We Are Siamese" is a sterling example. Elsewhere, thick slabs of guitar put down live on the tracking floor with Slack's drums are layered over with lush organs, synths and pianos, pedal steel and tanpura, Taurus pedals and 12-strings, a whole kitchen sink of sound anchored by Davis' fuzzy electric bass--and topped with a veneer of breathy, heart-on-the-sleeve vocals drenched in reverb. Sisyphus Says stands with the best of Davis and Fisher's past work... and points the way to a very bright future.

Sisyphus Says is coming 9-16-14 on SideOneDummy Records 2LP + Download and Burger Records cassette.

Band Members