Edited by GrungeGal50
Many articles have been written about the comeback of vinyl, and the rise of listening to LPs after the format’s near death.
While much of the world gave up on vinyl in the last 25 years, some music fans never stopped listening to records – even as CDs and MP3s became so prevalent. In recent years there has been a resurgence of listening to music in this medium. Doing so is now considered by many to be an act of audio purity – music that is wrapped in analog warmth while giving honor and testament to all those classic recordings many of us grew up spinning on turntables in our parents’ unfinished basements.
And in their goal to provide that quality to music fans, Windowpane released their self-titled album on a vinyl last month.
On June 29th, The Crocodile hosted Windowpane’s Vinyl Release Party, where fans could come buy the LP directly from the band and hear some fantastic original Seattle music. Many came out. All left happy.
Here’s how it went down.
Travis Bracht is the voice for Bruiser Brody and opened the show with a solo acoustic act. Stripped down, simple and relying on expressive songs, Travis entertained the gathering crowd with his signature range and soulful strength. It was a perfect way to begin the evening.
Second up, Mach Society took those glowing embers and set them on fire. Terry Houser is on Vocals, Brian Martinez is on Guitar and Vocals, Alex Inderbitzin takes up the back on Drums, and Lightning Bolt Bob McAskill is on Bass.
These guys have been in the Seattle music scene – together and separate – for two-plus decades. Their rock and rhythmic influences blend to create a sound that is neither heavy or sappy. It’s a driving sound – lyrically flexible thanks to Terry’s distinctive rock voice.
The songs are punctuated by Brian’s sailing guitar solos and Lightning Bob’s consistent bass on the low end. Their set mixed crowd favorites with some of the songs they’ve played together for nearly twenty years. Fantastic and up to the standards I’ve come to expect from these four veterans.
Third in line was Jaded Mary – another local favorite that has been around for some time. Tim Bertsch is on Guitars, David James on Vocals, Jamal Horner on Bass, and Leif Wagner is at the kit on Drums. The band takes in multiple influences and creates a sound all their own. Reminiscent of the funk or rap-inspired rock of the 90s, the Jaded Mary sound is so much more.
Tim’s style is quick and light on the strings. Dave’s vocals grab feelings from deep in his soul. Jamal keeps his bass heavy and highly syncopated with Leif’s drum work. It’s clear after a couple songs that these musicians are good together, and the crowd’s enthusiastic reaction proved it.
Windowpane is always quick to give thanks to their fans. And that night they brought those fans the signature power and positive energy with a brand new drummer – Noah Phipps. Glenn Cannon is on Vocals and Rythm Guitar, Tony Abreu is on Lead Guitar, and Christon Casper is on Bass.
Their rock sound is solid and approachable – pulling from the classic riffs and styles of the past while tapping the present to bring a fresh perspective. Glenn is keen on engaging the audience when they play; throughout the night he talked with the audience between songs about the struggles they’ve encountered as a band, the work they put into their songwriting, and how important the fans are to them. That feeling – clearly – was mutual as the crowd responded well to what he shared, and the music they played.
I caught up with Tony Abreu recently and asked about the show.
“That was also our first official Windowpane event in Seattle this year,” he said. “After what felt like an extremely long winter of trying to find the right guy to sit behind the kit for this band, it was great to get in a room with so many of our longtime friends and fans. It felt good.”
Finding a new band member takes more than grabbing someone with skill; there are many elements, and often bands work hard to find the right emotional connection too.
“We knew from the first night jamming with Noah that he was going to be The Guy,” Tony continued. “We focus a lot on the groove, “the bounce” so to speak, whether the part is simple or complex, it should always make ya want to move.”
“Noah not only learned a ton of material in a very short amount of time, but he can play the most complex parts of it with grace. (He) has that thing, that bounce in his playing. He also fits right in with us as human beings. We have fun together… It’s a positive chemistry.”
Clearly, the band felt confident with their choice. The guys had been playing with Sean Morrison on drums for a long time, and losing a good friend on the kit wasn’t easy. “There is something to be said about playing with someone for years, and that is something that simply takes the time to happen.”
But Tony was impressed with Noah from the start and was happy about his first outing with them at The Crocodile. “That night did not feel like we were playing with a guy who only had 5 weeks to learn an hour and a half worth of material, it already feels like we have put in the time… and it’s only going to get better.”
And sharing the stage with some longtime music friends helped make the night more special.
“We have had the pleasure of playing with Mach Society & Jaded Mary in the past,” Tony added. “Both bands always bring it. Great people too! The whole night felt fantastic!”
This vinyl release has been in the works for a long time, according to the band. “From the get-go,” Tony explained, “we wanted this album to be fully analog.”
The finished product was done right and done old school. “We tracked through a 1973 Neve soundboard straight to 2” tape. Of course, it becomes digital when you put it to CD. But mastering direct to vinyl keeps all of that organic, warm separation and space to the sound. We spared no expense on these.”
The album was mastered by the legendary Ted Jensen.
How legendary? Over his long career, Ted has mastered for James Taylor, Billy Joel, Green Day, Talking Heads, Norah Jones, Mastodon, Eagles, Pat Metheny, and Behemoth. Tony explained further. “He is one of the two most sought-after mastering engineers for our genre in the world. His resume will blow you away… if ya dig rock, you most definitely already own albums he has mastered.”
The band discovered that – to get the audio quality they wanted to offer – the recordings had to be put on a double LP. Taking that hard work and pressing it into just any vinyl product wasn’t appropriate for music the band felt so strongly about. “Anything over 15 minutes a side begins to lose bottom end and clarity,” Tony explained. “So (this is why) we made it a double vinyl. We went full color and quality for the jackets/foldouts. It’s a special thing for us, we really just wanted it all to be right.
We only had 500 printed and at this moment, I believe, there are less than 150 left.”
Their album is available on the website at Windowpane.net
June 29th was Windowpane’s night to shine. Their love for music, their love for fans, their love for LPs, and their love for the Seattle music scene made this night truly exciting. And it will be an event no one will forget. I’ve got my copy of the LP on order, and I’m pretty stoked about it!
Check out the links to all the band links!