The Slow Break
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The Slow Break

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Some wonderfully ragged and raw honky tonk from L'ville, Kentucky, for your Monday morning... It's hard to put a finger on their secret blend of 11 herbs and spices, but Katie O'Brien's slurred, gravelly vocals and Alison Lee-Whitney's emotive sax work are at least two key ingredients. Finger lickin' good, y'all! - 3hive


Like the results of a fingerpainting session gone wild, this messy mix of styles can't be described easily. Deceptively bright chaos throws forth alt-country, punk and rockabilly guitars and frenetic saxophone under grim lyrics. The best tracks contain Katie O'Brien's yelping rasp; she sounds like Kristin Hersh, Stiffed and Dolly Parton got thrown into a blender with a pack of cigarettes. All bands should put this much passion and fire into their albums. - meredith - 75 or Less reviews


By Joshua Hammann

`Inside the Dark Mountain,' the Slow Break

There are bands that will spend hours finessing a five-second transition from verse to chorus or vice versa. The Slow Break doesn't waste time on such subtleties. A blast of guitar or sax, or maybe a banshee wail from Katie O'Brien is all this band relies on to navigate through its messy, catchy, spastic and fun debut album "Inside the Dark Mountain."

The unarguable highlight of the record is "Interstate Woman," which the band previously released under the name "Wedding Ring" on the most recent "Louisville Is For Lovers" compilation. "I changed my mind. as women tend to," singer/drummer/guitarist Katie O'Brien said about the switch.

Regardless of its title, "Interstate Woman" is an infectious honky-tonk swing built on equal parts bright hooks and a rusty backbeat jangle.

The Slow Break is at its best when O'Brien is allowed to wretch and rasp like a runaway belt sander, as she does most admirably on both "Interstate Woman" and the slow burning "Sunburn." But just when you're ready to declare the vocals of Matt Fox — who also plays just about every instrument — inferior to O'Brien's, he checks in with the moving "Thanks, Jasmine" and "It'll Be Allright," on which he howls like a deranged preacher on a Cramps bender - Velocity Weekly


On paper, the Louisville versus Santa Cruz match up isn't exactly a close call. Sure, we have the Kentucky Derby and Taquan Dean, but Santa Cruz is perhaps the most beautiful place in all the land. Plus, there's that skateboard company.

But you pay out the bum for all that beauty and, well, the rock 'n' roll scene isn't exactly a Petri dish full of blossoming brotherhood.

That's why we get to have the Slow Break and Santa Cruz doesn't.

Background

Guitarist/singer/drummer Matt Fox is originally from Louisville. So when the competitive nature of Santa Cruz's rock scene — "Music is like a sport out there," he said — and the living expenses became overwhelming, the band relocated to his old hometown this summer.

"The bars are open 'til 4, and the whiskey flows like wine," said Katie O'Brien, the Slow Break's other guitarist/singer/drummer.



LISTEN!



Click on the links below to hear MP3 files from Slow Break.

· Beautiful Thing
· Cowboy Crucifixtion
· Sunburn
· Thanks Jasmine

To save an mp3 file to your computer, right click on one of the links above and select "Save Target As...". You will get a "Save As" box where you can choose where to download the file.

Fox and O'Brien were a romantic duo before a musical one. They didn't start playing together until February 2003. A little more than a year later, Alison Lee-Whitney brought her saxophone, bass and organ to the group.

"She was a big fan. It was really cute," O'Brien said. "She was so enthusiastic and she mentioned that she played sax. She was the little missing piece of the puzzle."

Sound

The Slow Break is delightfully sloppy. It is not the sloppiness that comes from mediocre musicianship, but more out of a manic energy that pulls the band along almost against its will. The breaks and breakdowns come and go with no warning and leave just as fast.

This band is truly compelling.

O'Brien's vocals are wince-inducing on "Sunburn," and that's a good thing. Her cat-scratch voice is like steel wool against her throat, but it's still surprisingly tuneful and textured.



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"Cowboy Crucifixion" comes out of nowhere with its surging guitars, illustrating that the Slow Break truly doesn't fall in line with any one strain of rock music.

Outlook

Check out the Slow Break live at the Rudyard Kipling on Saturday with Furlong and the Tallest.

The Slow Break already has one self-titled, self-released record to sell at shows. Plans are afoot to release the band's second full-length in December via the Cincinnati collective Vibrating Needle.

"We still haven't named it," Fox said of the forthcoming album. "That's the hardest part for us."

- Velocity Weekly


Very bohemian and raw, The Slow Break creates an original laconic record that mixes folk poetic with garage ambiance that works on so many different levels. I hear so many influences that you wouldn't dream of putting together, like John Cougar Mellencamp and Sonic Youth. But ultimately, these mixtures help elevate the album to nothing short of amazing. Really, to fully appreciate this record you would have to analyze each track for its individual style and content to see how wide a spectrum they traverse. This three-piece really bring a lot to the table as they all pull double duty playing additional keyboards, sax and percussion, and with having alternating lead male and female vocals each track maintains a powerful identity so that no two sound the same. "Sunburn" beautifully captures melodic rambling like Modest Mouse, while "Salenum" alternates between exquisite non-linearity similar to Morphine and The Pixies.

The production, while lacking in the traditional sense of elevating the band, succeeds in heightening the low-fi atmosphere. It is this "unclean" effect that gives you a true grit appeal to the music, carrying you further than simple song craft into an actual feel or vibe. Not much attention is paid to focusing on individual parts, it almost seems like each instrument was recorded at one level across the whole album. Despite this, though, it is a credit to the band and the material that it doesn't seem to matter, and that the songs all retain their uniqueness.

As good as this record is, I worry about its mass appeal. It is an album that you either simply get or don't get. I fear a lot of the mainstream would pass over this as inaccessible - yet they would be missing a true masterpiece. Well that's their loss.

-bishop - Hybrid Music


Discography

We have our debut Release on Ionik Records called Inside The Dark Mountain. It has recieved great reviews from all who have reviewed it! We are starting to get airplay on college radio stations across the country.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Katie and Matt moved to Louisville from Santa Cruz Ca with a Sax player who quit. Then they meet Jason and Shauna and now the circle is complete. We are ready to get out of town. People seem to like this stuff when ever we play. All we want to do is play whenever we can!