blind pilot : 3 rounds and a sound
it's funny the way great music can sometimes come from the most random of places. a few weeks ago my friend's father, on the return leg of a months-long bicycle trek from southern california to alaska and back, was spending the night in a campground in the middle of nowhere when the sounds of live music pervaded the night air. the next morning brought a conversation with the two musicians who had played in the campground the previous night, who told my friend's dad that they were in a band and were on a bicycle trek tour of the west coast, from their home in portland, up to seattle, and all the way down to los angeles. hearing this story, of a band on bicycles playing what sounded like an unannounced show in a campground full of people who probably aren't very interested in music, i was quickly dismissive of how good the music could have possibly been, regardless of how sweet a concept it sounded.
turns out i was slightly wrong about the organization and publicity of the tour. and turns out i couldn't have been more wrong about the quality of the music. upon being told the band's name--blind pilot--just a few days ago, i checked out the band's myspace page and sampled their music with no expectations at all. i was blown away on the first listen. unfortunately, as luck would have it, i'm out of town and missing their two shows in los angeles, but i quickly downloaded the album, 3 rounds and a sound, off emusic and am hooked. simply put, this is great stuff.
blind pilot consists of israel nebeker and ryan dobrowski. having not actually seen them live and knowing only what i can find online, i can surmise only that nebeker is the lead singer. but what a lead singer he is. many of the reviews i've seen compare nebeker's voice to james mercer of the shins, which i can definitely hear. but i'll see their james mercer and raise them will sheff of okkervil river--nebeker's voice is as melodic and wonderfully expressive as either man's. musically, acoustic guitars are strummed with purpose and combine with freshly brushed drums and horns that are, at times, dripping with sorrow, to create a mood that is somehow simultaneously laden with melancholy and consistently bright, recalling an acoustic jeff tweedy. with those two reference points, you should be running to buy the album right now, but first know that the other thing that makes 3 rounds and a sound such a joy is the lyrics. lyrical gems abound throughout the course of the album, but my favorite comes from the opening track, "oviedo", a wistful recounting of loves--lost, unwanted, and missed.
and maybe some things are better left unsaideverything came out of nowhere for me on this one, but it seems pretty clear that blind pilot are serious talents with a captivating combination of supremely expressive vocals, buoyed by the tranquility of acoustic guitars and hushed drums, singing thoughtful lyrics that are capable of discerning the complexities of a life full-lived. something tells me these guys won't be coming out of nowhere for long, so better get on the bandwagon while there's still room.
but if you wanted to test that out, yeah i guess i could've said
but there were nights in bars that i recall
your breath was courage laced with alcohol
blind pilot : "oviedo"
blind pilot : "3 rounds and a sound"
from the lp 3 rounds and a sound (expunged records/ioda, 2008) emusic
blind pilot : myspace
blind pilot : blog