DREAMY ATHENS, GA., INDIE ROCKERS GRAND VAPIDS GEAR UP TO RELEASE ARRESTING DEBUT LP GUARANTEES (OUT JAN. 20), PRODUCED BY DREW VANDENBERG (OF MONTREAL, DEERHUNTER, KISHI BASHI)
RIYL: Kurt Vile, Yuck, Red House Painters, Low, War on Drugs, Dead Confederate, Sonic Youth, Swervedriver, Yo La Tengo
Grand Vapids. Photo by Jason Thrasher.
“Lush, rolling, slowcore-inspired sound.” – Live Music Athens
“Gorgeous blend of early/mid 1990s slow-indie … well constructed and very thoughtful.” – Flagpole
Oct. 13, 2014 — Grand Vapids’ lush, droning noise-shrouded sound is indie rock in the classic sense. Forming in early 2014, the band—singer-guitarists McKendrick Bearden & Austin Harris, bassist Chris Goggans and drummer Paul Stevens—spent most of the year recording their debut album, Guarantees, in Athens, Ga., with producer/engineer Drew Vandenberg (of Montreal, Deerhunter, Kishi Bashi). After they wrapped up the sessions, the record was mastered in New York by Joe Lambert (Wye Oak, Sharon Van Etten, Wild Nothing). Its sonic palette is wide, with laboriously crafted guitars, a driving rhythm section, densely layered synths and resigned Sun Kil Moon-style vocals. The songs are at once intimate and expansive, exploring a fevered state of fear and wonder.
“We didn’t wanted to rush anything on this record,” says Harris. “We took our time, really worked on the songs as a band, and played them a lot before going into the studio. When we started recording, it felt natural and we had a lot of room to expand the arrangements. Working with Drew was a great experience because he understood what we were trying to achieve, and helped us dial in a sound that really brought the songs together.”
While Grand Vapids’ music could easily satiate the space between Yo La Tengo and Sonic Youth, there’s a depth of feeling to these songs that moves beyond nostalgia and transports the listener to a state of mind where memory and wonder intersect. Guarantees is a dense affair that strikes a delicate balance—a gorgeously realized statement of a debut that draws from indie rock’s past while instantly declaring the band’s own singular musical identity.
“I feel like, for the first time, we’re hitting our stride,” Bearden says, “both collectively and individually. This record is the sound of a band coming together, and that’s a really good feeling.”