The Empty returned to the Banana Stand to record a live album on New Years Eve 2010. Devotees will remember that the band had recorded at the 'Stand in June 2009, but those recordings never saw release due to the departure of then-drummer Casey Frantum, which occurred, like, immediately after the set was recorded. The Empty's NYE 2010 line-up was new, or, rather, it was a new version of a familiar lineup -- this was the first show with Jake Schmitt (traditionally a bassist, as in The Greater Midwest) on guitar. Bobby Dezfulli played keys and delivered backup vocals, and the band was led, as ever, by Sean Dant. Despite the newness of this arrangement, the set, recordings, and this live release all turned out really great.
Dant, Dezfulli and Schmitt are all very familiar to all of us 'Standers -- The Greater Midwest (which is led by 'Stander Shawn Pike) is just one of many social connections. Sean Dant was one of the first people we 'Standers met upon re-locating here, both through The Empty and through Ash Street Saloon (or Pike's Clubhouse, as I'm increasingly thinking of it). We'd also known Bobby both socially and through The Greater Midwest, which he joined a few months prior to this recording. It feels good to release this album not just because it turned out rad, but also because it feels like we're rewarding the kindness that these folks showed us when we were just dudes from Indiana. (Thanks dudes!)
But enough saccharine bullshit -- this album is also hells of rad. Schmitt (who I'm pretty sure I didn't know played guitar until this evening) delivers beautiful and winsome guitar lines perfectly complementary to Dezfulli's sometimes-ambient, sometimes-leading keyboard work. Schmitt and Dezfulli provide a brilliant foundation for Dant's vocals, which build along with the instrumentals to each song's cathartic release. Bringing to mind Sea-Change-era Beck, The Walkmen and Radiohead, this is a terrific release that we're really proud of. So, scroll to the top of this page, and download the album right now!
The album also sounds terrific. We're really happy to have had this be our first release mixed by Adam Pike at his Toadhouse studio. When you listen to the tracks above, you'll realize how much it benefited from his and Bobby Dezfulli's attentions. Dezfulli both participated in the mixing process and mastered (and, even better, remastered) the album. The result of their attentions is a sound that's incredibly clean, rich, and powerful. And bassy. Really bassy. It sounds really fantastic, and we owe Adam and Bobby tons of thanks for their work.
In addition to the all of the other of reasons I like this release -- good band, good performance, good post-production, good dudes -- I also like it because it's a departure from what sometime feels like our traditional fare of guitar rock (not that there's anything wrong with that). I like this release because of the range that The Empty show musically in this performance, and because that range makes the library of music we're offering here ever more diverse. So, I'll say it again, scroll back to the top and download it! It's great and pay-what-you-want. Grab it!
The Empty - Live from the Banana Stand was recorded before a live audience on December 31st, 2010 at the Banana Stand in Portland, Oregon. The album was mixed by Adam Pike and mastered by Bobby Dezfulli. Brian David Smith handled design and layout for album art, which includes original photography from various 'Standers and the original show poster, also by Brian. The Banana Stand would like to thank The Empty (Sean, Bobby and Jake), all who participated in this album's creation and anyone that has helped us out along the way.