Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley and Brad Kopplin
There's a specific time of the day that Sound Team, Austin's sundance kids, are bound to, tattooed with even, but it's not at all specific - more arbitrary and haunting than anything. It presents itself as specific though. They seem to suggest, with their musical endeavors, to only occur when sound could carry for miles and walls and floors are amplified by the surrounding stillness. They don't necessarily exist when the rest of the world shuts off, but it was only through considerable observation of the band in its natural setting that one could learn that they don't move only by nighttime shadows or the shortage of them. Funny how the same room can bounce and electrocute as more and more bed lamps flick off for the slumbering. When you can feel as if you alone exist and are the only person making sound at a particular time, that's when you will feel like the king of the castle, eloping with the forbidden soliloquies of buzzing air and lonesome evening glitter. Oh, there's something there that's more powerful than an explosion, alright. Right now, if you're reading this in a house full of sleeping people, imagine the magnitude of just counting to ten, out loud - right now - in a normal, daytime voice.
It would sound like buffalos stampeding and the lights would fly on with worry and alarm. Sound Team deserves all of the credit for making me feel this way - that my voice could feel like cannon fire or that if I bounced a tennis ball off of my goldenrod-colored walls at this moment at 1:18 a.m., that it would carry the same startling boom as humpback whale being dropping from 1,000-feet in the air would sound, landing upon the roof of my car parked outside. It would wake the neighborhood. They've queered up any thoughts I had of them only operating when no one else was awake with their tours and when we crashed their pad in March. They rehearsed in the mornings for a week, arriving at 9 a.m. with breakfast items and then cutting into their raspy concoctions of maverick ingenuity - building from the bottom up these songs that feel as if they could have no other birthparents, they're decidedly blood and worked for and loved for. They went off to jobs. Gabe Pearlman dressed in a button-down white shirt to serve Italian food. Matt Oliver prepares Italian food. Jordan Johns is painting an office building.
Will Patterson (the new guy) is a student and Bill Baird does this early in the morning, working on the railroad ("Lube the chains and wheels, set the hydraulic brake system, rev engine until air pressure reaches 120, check/add engine oil and transmission fluid, check emergency brakes and brake pads, check pins under cars, sweep the train, dislodge rocks from switches, lube switches with goopy red grease, dig out railroad crossings, start selling tickets at 10am for 10:15am train, take tickets from smiling happy kids and sunglassed parents, give a short speech about do's and don't's of train travel (Do scream and yell, DON'T stand, litter, smoke, etc), drive train and follow certain speeds depending on whether I am rounding a bend, moving in our out of a switch, driving through a tunnel, or passing by groups of screaming unattended children. The track is several miles long and 25 minutes round-trip drive. On the job, my full attire: untucked train depot shirt, striped conductor cap, no socks, cut-off shorts, hidden smile. During the day, between drives, I read newspapers, philosophy and short stories, listen to NPR and classical music radio, solve crosswords, stare at people and wonder if their children will end up just like their parents; sometimes it's hard to see similarities; sometimes I want the children to turn out better than their folks."). The band's new 12-inch vinyl (available at "Insound":http://www.insound.com) features three songs - two of which are presented in a hypnotic single-track suite here -- that have the quality of complete personal sonic detachment. Big Orange is a sneaky mother, with secrets in her cement walls, and Sound Team loves her smoky teets. They give them ample nourishment for their lovely experiments - this time they've built a world inside a room. It will wake the neighbors and continue infinitely.