Young Jesus signs to Saddle Creek; Mynabirds Tiny Desk Concert; James McMurtry, Bethlehem Steel, Sean Pratt tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:52 pm November 15, 2017

Young Jesus is the latest to sign to Saddle Creek Records.

by Tim McMahan,

The ever-expanding Saddle Creek Records roster continues to grow with the signing of Chicago band Young Jesus. The label will release the band’s new album, S/T, Feb. 23.

From the press release: “Young Jesus, an indie rock quartet formed in Chicago and reformed in Los Angeles, looks to communicate the tensions between proximity and distance, chaos and order. On their upcoming record S/T, to be released by Saddle Creek, the band focuses on seemingly small moments in everyday life: phone calls with Mom, landscapes along the highway, crows in a tree. Yet with time these strange intimacies add up to a life. A life full of anxiety, confusion, sadness, joy, boredom, and ultimately wonder.

“Young Jesus mixes the emotional intensity of bands like Slint, Pile, and Built To Spill with the quiet contemplation of Yo La Tengo, Mogwai, and Laughing Stock-era Talk Talk. They give themselves to moments of aggression and volume, balanced alongside near-silence.

Young Jesus is something of a departure for Saddle Creek. S/T, which was originally released on Gigantic Noise this past fall, includes lengthy tracks that range from 6 minutes to more than 12 minutes long. I can’t remember a Creek band recording anything in that range.

While there are jangly slacker indie pop songs you’d expect, like lead-off track “Green,” it’s songs like the 6-plus minute “Desert” that recall long-play droner acts like The New Year/Bedhead and Red House Painters, while frontman John Rossiter’s drowsy vocals are at times reminiscent of Damian Jurado and Isaac Brock.

The 9-plus minute “Feeling” starts off as your typical acoustic indie song for the first two minutes, glides into tone layers, percussion and found sounds before exploding into raw guitar chords and guttural vocals that transition again later to cicadas, tones, etc.

The same format holds for the 12-plus minute album closer, “Storm.” This one starts as a rock song, but after two minutes shifts to quiet noises, tones, then a jangly noise collage returning to a jam at the six-minute mark and so on, ending with a bang and a whimper. Saddle Creek describes this as “experimental,” whereas I see it more as compositional gymnastics, an attempt at pulling melody from dissonance, like seeing sun break through the fog. Check out album below.

Saddle Creek this morning also announced the 4th in their Document series — Palehound, “YMCA Pool” b/w “Sea of Blood.” Pre-order the Jan. 28 release today at Creek’s online store.

In other Saddle Creek news, The Mynabirds were featured in a coveted NPR Tiny Desk Concert. Check it out below.

Two shows tonight…

Singer/songwriter James McMurtry, son of author Larry McMurtry, plays tonight at The Waiting Room. Max Gomez opens. $20, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, New York indie band Bethlehem Steel (Exploding in Sound Records) plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Sean Pratt. The Razors are the headliners. $5, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.