The Stack
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The Stack

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This band has not uploaded any videos



"They Are The Listeners"

When it comes to music, there are two Americas. Actually, there are far more than that, but for the sake of simplification, let’s say there are two. One listens to whatever Top-40 radio slings at them, simply accepting that ignorant, materialistic rap, country and pop are the best the world has to offer. The other actively seeks out music that actually fits the intricacies of their personality and expresses more emotions than just lust, greed and anger.
Regardless of which group you belong to, you must realize that the youth of America are listening, too, soaking up the messages we imply with every dollar we spend on a spectrum of entertainment. Rand Corp. released a study earlier this week saying that kids who listen to sexually explicit lyrics tend to have sex sooner than those who listen to other kinds of music.
The point that the study missed is that kids who listen to such music are not being given the tools to find better music. If your parents or friends can’t point you toward something better to listen to than 50 Cent or Toby Keith, then how can you be expected to make intelligent decisions regarding your own hormones and desire to explore your sexuality. In short, it isn’t that raunchy music leads to raunchy behavior, it’s that uninformed people make bad choices, whether it be between the sheets or their headphones.
What the study didn’t say is that some kids are making smart decisions on their own, taking the initiative and finding quality music to fill their lives with. By quality music, I mean intelligent tunes that actually make them think and feel: fiery rock, searching jazz, hauntingly atmospheric instrumental music or the words of insightful, biting singer-songwriters. Really, good music comes in all forms (Prince’s new album, “3121” even has a catchy Christian song on it), and it’s simply up to you to brave the sonic debris and find it.
While they’re no longer kids, the young men in The Stack strike me as groups doing that very thing. To talk to The Stack bassist Mike Beilstein is to see the tradition of record geekery alive and well, and to listen to their new album is to see the next generation forging their own musical identity based on tunes they chose to listen to, rather than the ones being apathetically force-fed to them. Listening The Stack’s first album, “Slipstream,” was like hearing those influences being proudly displayed. Their new album, “We Are The Listeners,” however, sees the group moving beyond their influences to craft an identity of their own. Sure, you’re still going to hear a bit of the Beatles or a smidgen of Pink Floyd here and there, but now they’re dashed into the musical dish like seasoning rather than being the base ingredients.
The album starts off with “Closing Your Eyes,” an infectious bit of amplified acoustic strumming over which The Stack climbs the other side of the mountain Floyd scaled in “Fearless.” Whereas the former seemed a declaration of independence and a claiming of the freedom to move through life at your own pace, Alex Pfender and Noah Dietterich’s harmony vocals convey lyrics about trust and surrender. Throughout the album, their voices blend together to create a sound bigger than either by himself, although Pfender’s lead vocals are warm and inviting when they go it alone, feeling like that intangible element that was lost when analog technology gave way to digital.
Of course, it’s not all soothing herbal tea for the ears. This isn’t a Jack Johnson album, after all. On “Take It,” the pastoral tone of the first song gives way to some seriously Southern-fried funk and rock and some of the album’s most scathing vocals. Pfender indicts the desire to “make it” with an oddly compassionate tone, admitting to his own collusion in the pursuit of fame and its perks, then rips into one of the dirtiest guitar solos on the entire album. Elsewhere, “Ride” is a celebration of liberation painted with black streaks of burning rubber and a lilting trumpet solo like an open-air cruise in the country. “Momentary Love” is a silly, playful bit of blues in the tradition of “Little Feat” or “Ry Cooder,” incorporating the New Orleans leanings of both in a soulful sax solo. But it’s on the epic “Pocket” with its innocent, embryonic wishes that The Stack truly soars. Taking the most important cue of all from the music of the late ’60s and early ’70s and filling every one of its seven minutes with a building, intensifying song structure, the band transmutes its own sweetness through the magic of experimentation.
The Stack... [is] playing a CD release party to celebrate their latest offerings in the coming week. The Stack takes the stage at the Oddfellows Hall at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11. The cost is $4 and copies of both “We Are The Listeners” and “Slipstream” will be available for $12 and $10 respectively. But be warned, studies show that listening to intelligent music can lead kids to smarter behavior, in which case the rest of us might just have to keep up. - Corvallis Gazette-Times Entertainer


Slipstream - 2004 (full album)
We are the Listeners - 2006 (full album)



Influenced by classic rock and the best of modern rock and pop, The Stack's sound can best be described as somewhere between The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Radiohead. Thanks to the members' strong musical backgrounds, The Stack is as melodic, rocking, and creative as anyone out there today. The Stack's songs combine pounding riffs, rolling swing rhythms, and searing lead guitar. Their acoustic tracks further illustrate their mastery of intricate melody and harmony.

The Stack was formed while the members all attended high school together in Corvallis, Oregon. They all played or sang in performing groups, and when songwriters Alex Pfender and Noah Dietterich met in their sophomore year, they began to write songs and play together. After many months of practicing they began to play shows around Oregon, gaining a following and experience. They have performed on the main stage at DaVinci Days, The Benton County Fair, The Portland Rose Festival, and the Oregon State Fair.

The Stack's musical influences are as diverse as the band's sound. Songwriters Alex Pfender and Noah Dietterich both had their beginnings in classical piano and voice, which gave them a vast theoretical knowledge and complete harmonic control of their work. While this plays strongly into the way they construct their songs, the band also takes cues from rock influences including Wilco, The Beatles, The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, The Kinks, Pink Floyd, Weezer, and Led Zeppelin.

Slipstream, The Stack's debut album, was recorded the summer of 2004, and released December 3rd. Without a label or any promotion, The Stack has sold over 800 copies of it, mainly in the Corvallis area. Slipstream shows that The Stack can play something for everyone: heavy rock (The Way You Want), their twist on blues (The Apple Song), fast danceable swing (Swing Madness), atmospheric acoustic ballads (Daylight), and even an epic jam (Into The Sun).

Released August 2006, The Stack's follow-up album We are the Listeners includes songs written over the course of the previous 3 years. It includes blasts of funk guitar in "Take It," waves of static in "Pocket," which has been acclaimed by critics as early Pink Floyd but better, gentle acoustic pop in "Years and Years," and a shaking frantic groove in "San Quentin." Already, the four tracks from We are the Listeners that have been submitted to have recieved Track of the Day awards, and two of them have broken the Top 20 in Indie Rock. The Stack plans to tour with this album in the summer of 2007.

Psychedelic noise coexists with sugar-sweet melodies to create The Stack's sound, both familiar and like nothing you've ever heard before.