Invariably, all musicians are inspired by artists who came before them. Those who play any variation of rock will often cite bands like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and other 60s-70s acts that helped mold their respective sounds. Of the Painted Choir is no different. But, as evidenced by its eponymous debut EP, this Arizona-based rock quartet is able to do something that most new bands cannot. The band effectively taps into the 60s, pulls back elements, and blends these elements with modern electronic instruments and stylings.
Of the Painted Choir was founded by Frederick Huang, a musician who developed a love for song writing and producing in Tucson, Ariz., while working with Tucson-based artists and interning at Wavelab Studios. Huang recruited Darren Simoes, a former guitarist for The Bled, and then added Phillip Hanna (keyboard/synthesizer) and Wayne Jones (bass), formerly of popular Phoenix bands Kinch and Tugboat. The band is completely DIY, and it records, mixes and produces its own music.
My favorite song off the EP is the third track, “The Shame,” which blends late Beatles-inspired folk, southwestern country, and modern indie. Take a listen:
The song begins with a neat acoustic riff that can best be described as Western. The vocals, though, are soft and provide a nice complement to the granular riff. The first minute of the song sounds like Spaghetti Western folk – almost like how it would have sounded if Rome by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi was recorded by a modernized Indie version of a 60s folk troupe. A saxophone creeps into the piece adding an even more eclectic element to it, which, after the initial Sax portion, shifts to a jungle of gritty acoustics and smooth sax sounds. It is an eccentric piece – one that clearly fits into today’s Indie scene.
“A Spanish Mountain” immediately features a different sound. Replacing the rough acoustic guitar is an effervescent, echoed guitar that spills into rapid percussion and a vibrating vocal. This song takes a more modern approach but still employs the classic “wall of sound” to pour sound on the listener.