Tight but loose

Jangly + angular = Glowkid
By CHRIS CONTI  |  January 20, 2010

 MUSIC_012210glowkid_main
THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS Multitasking with Glowkid.

I had never come across the adjective "jangular" until I visited the Glowkid website. I assumed the term was lifted from one of those clever, borderline-smarmy Pitchfork reviews. Turns out to be the work of Glowkid guitarist/vocalist Nick Cooper (also a member of the experimental-jazz crew A Troop of Echoes), spot-on in summarizing the sound found on Glowkid's self-titled debut EP released a few weeks ago.

"We've always had a hard time describing our sound, not because it's so amazingly original or anything like that but because we're so close to it," drummer Robbie Preliasco said via email, "and then Nick came up with the 'jangular' term and nailed it.

"We've talked a lot about producing a 'tight but loose' sound."

Eighteen months and a few dozen shows later, Glowkid has already gotten the call to perform with a wide array of local notables including Mahi Mahi, Roz Raskin, and Ming Toro. On Saturday at AS220, the North Kingstown-based quartet will join a varied bill that includes acclaimed rap outfit Symmetry and eccentric instrumental acts Divets and Infinite Children, also celebrating a CD release.

The four-pack of 23-year-olds were wise to seek out renowned studio wiz Emerson Torrey, longtime guitarist alongside Mark Cutler with the Schemers, the Raindogs, and the Dino Club. The members of Glowkid cite Wilco, Radiohead, and Sonic Youth as vital influences, evidenced throughout the four tracks on the EP. Cooper leads the way on the opener, "Ground Running" (Ben Christie shares vocal and guitar duties), a midtempo jam that sounds like Thurston Moore singing along to "A Horse with No Name" in the first verse and casually builds around Preliasco and bassist Dan Sliwinski before Cooper and Christie get cooking. The hook and vocals on "Bricklayer" recall Thom Yorke, and the breezy riff on "I Will" counteracts Cooper's lyrics: "I will — shake your bones until they fall in line/And I will — pull the quills out from your spine." "Arc and Flare" is the catchiest (jangliest?) uptempo gem and should sound even more impressive in the live setting, as Preliasco declared these songs "rock a lot harder live than the studio versions."

The EP was recorded and mixed over three days, and Torrey had the band focusing on vocal tracks. "It was our first time in any sort of professional recording environment, and working with Emerson was a pretty great experience."

While Torrey worked the boards with Cooper and Christie ironing out lyrics and riffs, the overall recording was a democratic process. "We get the best results when the band writes as a unit," Cooper wrote. "It allows for those moments where one of us can break a song wide open."

Preliasco reports the band has plenty of unreleased cuts to fill out a live set, and will debut more new stuff as the band continues booking shows statewide with an eye on the upcoming WBRU Rock Hunt. "Last year we submitted the most heinously amateur CD-R because it was all we had, but now we're much tighter with a highly-presentable product, so we'll submit the EP and hope we're invited."

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