Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
In our humble opinions, there were very few records better than Nurses' sophomore album "Apple's Acre" in the year of 2009. It was played often and it was played loudly around the Horseshack, always the go-to record when we were just sitting around, trying to get something done or not caring if we got anything done. We first met Aaron Chapman, John Bowers and James Mitchell over three years ago when they were in rough shape. We gave them a place to sleep that night and brought them doughnuts the following morning. And if we didn't, we meant to. They looked like they needed doughnuts and they definitely needed a place to sleep. We like to fill that void in lives when we can. The group was completely homeless and not even bothering to crash on friends' couches or floors when they were back in anything resembling a home city. They simply stayed in their white tour van, not ever really getting away from it other than when it is time to play a gig. They showered something less than infrequently and they were calling the streets of Chicago home at the time - knowing when it was time to move down the block or down a few blocks, switching neighborhoods or parks before a squad car comes knocking on the windows - but the winter was coming and they were afraid that surviving those cold temperatures in that van wasn't something they wanted to try. They were talking about California and somehow they ended up in Portland. Along the way, they scammed Internet access to check band e-mail and book tours at public libraries and they knew the Panera Bread bakeries that took pity on their hungry bellies by serving them some of the day-old goods that were going into the trash. Nurses were barely surviving, but it was the music in that first session and on that debut album that could have led anyone with half a sense to hear the great potential in the art they were making. Or, it may have just been that this art was only spilling from them, like a current, like a parade of ghosts - as if it wasn't made by anyone, as if these little things called songs carried with them their own free will. The morning that they drove to Rock Island for the first time, they were chased from one of our city's parks and they began crafting/encouraging out the song "Man At Arms." It was born that morning and recorded in its first ever form that day, wowing us with its complexity and the simple manner that something so rich in depth could just suddenly exist out of nowhere. "Apple's Acre" never rests easily, instead it gives off a potency, a hotwired zapping with every twisted and hummable song. They all come from lands unknown, incorporating odd electronic scribbles and blares, all muffled and dressed in slippery breezes, dancing with the quirky fables that Chapman puts voice to with an eerie vibrato. It's music that challenges us to not feel so comfortable. It makes us move in ways that we've always wanted, but didn't know we were capable of. "Technicolor" oozes on about getting back home and some kind of HOTT LOVE, over swerving, repeated pattern, moving in and out of a north wind and a southern jet stream. It's as if two climates were suddenly joined as one - no long banned from intermingling. These are contemplative songs about things we're just not all that sure of - time and space, love and loss, not to mention being stragglers just trying to get by and get through without getting left to the vultures.
Nurses Official Site
Dead Oceans Records