Listen to this track by four-piece Tennesseans who have been dubbed Commerce – Matthew Little on vocals/guitar/keyboards, Ethan Henley on bass, Tim Rufenacht on guitars, and drummer Josh Shores. It’s one of the offerings, and my favourite, off of their recently released 6-track EP What Happens Now. The EP is a harbinger for a forthcoming 14-track record coming out in the fall of 2010 called Things I Say Versus Things I Mean.
This band formed in 2008, after a series of personnel shifts. They immediately commenced writing and recording together. And with this song, you get the sense that a number of disparate sources are being pulled in to create something unique.
When first exposed, my reference points were latter day post-punk inheritors such as Modest Mouse with a bit of Grandaddy, too. On this track, this is largely due to the moody lushness of the arrangement, and the call and response vocal, which peppers the song with echoey and vaguely menacing background interjections, all undertaken by singer/guitarist/keyboardist Little, and in contrast to his deadpan lead.
The band cite influences all over the stylistic map, perhaps exposing t the diversity of music scenes current in the American South as a whole, a region from which these guys hail, specifically Johnson City TN. Yet with Spoon out of Austin TX, REM out of Georgia, and the Flaming Lips out of Oklahoma City, among other examples, the American South has been proven to be more than just a heartland for the roots of modern rock music over the years. As evidenced by the music from this band, it remains to be a hotbed of intricate, emotionally engaged rock music that pushes towards the future rather than just in reference to the past.
For more information about the band and more music from them, check out the Commerce band MySpace page.