There’s not a ‘ghost’ of a chance you’ll want to miss this double-header. ghostar, a noisy guitar and drum duo from Madison WI, and Rochester’s own Twin Lakes are set to destroy the second-floor stage at Kathy’s Pub Saturday, Nov. 23, and both bands have recently released recording projects.
Twin Lakes is excited to host a touring band in Rochester. “Any show that includes both a local and out-of-town artist adds to the music scene,” says Twin Lakes drummer Alex Ortberg. Frontman Robert Baune adds, “Bringing in new bands to play will help establish us as a point of destination for local tours.”
The concert should be a proper bash, they say. “Something about Kathy's brings it to that extra, late-night level,” says Ortberg. “When it comes to Kathy’s, we don’t try to play ‘shows’ but more so try to throw parties,” Baune says.
“Swell” sounds from ghostar’s first EP
ghostar, made up of Steve Higgins and John McCracken, released their debut EP “Swelling” in October. The band’s post-rock sound, by its own description, includes elements of chaos, emo, math rock, and shoegaze.
The EP’s five tracks produce an impressive wall of sound. While many of their songs include radical dynamic changes, when the band is at its loudest, get ready for some noisy mayhem.
Songs like “Prayer Rabbit” pair melancholic ambient nonchalance with intricate guitar riffs that usher in shouted, logic-defying vocals, like “spit all the burned up time at you.” The track “Knight Rider” eases into a gentle sonic soundscape. The song slowly mutates into a rhythmic jam that disintegrates into distorted disorder while building in volume and intensity.
ghostar’s music creates a sense of urgency as it builds from simple to complex. The duo manages to present a sound that both soothes and infuriates. Their music is intensely compelling.
Where to find it: ghostar.bandcamp.com
Ain’t no valley low enough to keep Twin Lakes from getting to you, babe
“In the Valley” marks a slight detour from the folk-oriented music that Twin Lakes recorded on its first EP. “‘In the Valley’ is probably our last folk album before we…become a full-fledged rock band,” says Baune.
As Baune sees it, the record “is a concept album about the ups and downs of being in a relationship, and the dichotomy between loneliness and solitude.”
“Writing these songs has helped me process a lot of stuff I otherwise would have just bottled up,” he says.
While Twin Lakes recorded “In the Valley,” they were in the middle of a lineup change. “Unfortunately with ‘In The Valley,’ Alex Judah Smith wasn't able to give his bassy prowess to the record,” says Ortberg, who took on the roll of bassist for the recent recording. He’s quick to add that Smith has taken those bass parts and made them his own for our live shows. Smith did add backing vocals to the project.
Twin Lakes recorded the project at Ortberg’s Blue Lagoon Recording Room studio, which streamlined the process. “No one's schedules had to line up in order to get tracking done,” explains Ortberg.
Track six, “I Will Not Bury Myself,” is one of the standout songs on the record. It includes contributions by guests Charlie Burket on fiddle and Blake Bonde on bass and cello. Building on stark lyrics like “people only care about you when you’re winning, when you die,” the song adds new sonic layers with every strain, building to a symphonically grand peak that stands well above the album’s eponymous valley.
Throughout, the album shows a careful attention to detail and uses musical features to underpin lyrical content. For instance, on track four, “Walls Between Us,” the final strain adds multiple voices to sing the phrase “a thousand walls” which underscore the layers of intervening separation.
As a whole, “In the Valley” displays an epic fragility spiked with an electric backbone of self-reliance.
Where to find it: Physical copies available at Pure Rock Studios. Also available on Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.