“We’ve been pregnant with this record for nine months, but this baby couldn’t wait any longer.”
When I caught up with Ishmael last month to talk about the band’s brand new EP, I asked about recording the whole thing in the dead of night at New York’s Tarbox Studios. “There was something indescribable about being so creative, and loud, while most of New York slept,” the band told me, “and it freed up our inhibitions so we could try some weird stuff.” “Feet Stomp,” the first tease from that EP, hinted at some weird stuff. It also hinted at the catchiest—and shiniest—pop music that the prog/funk/rock/whatever outfit has written yet. Who says 9/8 time signatures and Tool covers aren’t sexy?
This week the band, which includes Jordan Lewis ’13 and Andy Werle ’12 plus non-Weskids Nick Otte and Aaron Silberstein, finally delivers the goods. The EP, creatively titled Ishmael the EP (and previewed on the WEUS airwaves a few weeks back), is available online for $3.96 at iTunes (and coming soon to Spotify and, eventually, physical formats). At just over twenty minutes, it consists of four of Ishmael’s most diverse tracks yet, including
- “Feet Stomp,” a stupidly catchy bit of wordless prog-pop that has been featured on this blog previously and comes complete with “ooooooh” harmonies and a 9/8 meter;
- “The Swimmer,” a weirdly straight-faced (and melodically bizarre) stab at soul that dips unexpectedly into synth-funk territory about halfway through;
- “Kansas 1943 (In The Future),” an ominous prog track with a whole bundle of eerie bass riffage that was recorded neither in Kansas nor in 1943 nor in the future; and
- “Rain,” which smoothly voyages from reflective instrumental passages to tortured cries of “RAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIN!” to fierce metal assault for a rousing climax.
In other news, the band will return to Wes later this semester for one final hurrah before graduation, but the details are still being worked out, so keep your ears open and your nose peeled.
As always, Ishmael is all over the World Wide Web, including BandCamp, IshmaelTheBand, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. You can download the EP here, read an interview with its creators here, relive their triumphant Psi U rave-up here, and hear “Feet Stomp” fo’ free here.