“Fables,” the new album by Ashland band Slow Corpse, blends laid-back soul with the sounds of light, dream-like, post-rock melodies infused with close-to-the-edge guitar licks and lyrics that weave imagery into mysterious musical tales.
Slow Corpse will debut “Fables” at 9 p.m. Friday, May 4, at Brickroom, 35 N. Main St., Ashland. Admission is $10.
Front man Mitchell Winters and lead guitarist Brenton Clarke formed the band about 2½ years ago.
“Our styles are different,” Winters says. “I grew up playing in orchestras and bands, but a lot of the music I listened to was folksy and soft, and that was how I sang. I tried to make pretty music. I was strongly influenced by Justin Vernon who sings with Volcano Choir, and by Ray LaMontagne, who does folk and soft rock.”
Clarke, on the other hand, comes from the other side of the musical spectrum.
“When I first started playing guitar, blues-rock was what I loved and what I learned,” he says. “Jimmy Page was and still is my favorite guitarist and the one who influenced me the most, but Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse), the Beatles and Chuck Berry also played big roles in how I developed as a musician.”
Clarke grew up in Seattle. Winters grew up in Medford. They encountered each other several times at various live music performances in Ashland and finally decided to do a private session.
“Brenton showed me a riff and I sang a little melody over it,” Winters says. “The blending of our two diverse styles was something neither one of us had ever heard before, and we decided right then to start making music together.”
“We have our own innovative style,” Clarke says. “Mitchell makes the soft, pretty music, but it’s mixed in with some hard-around-the-edges guitar stuff. It’s a cool combination.”
The band’s woozy lyrics, slowed down backbeat and nuances from the world of R&B, with a light psychedelia breeze blowing in the background, draw a steadily growing fan base to performances.
“It isn’t the typical singer-songwriter type of music,” Winters says. “We add electronic music and electronic drums to it. Brenton and I are the main composers of the music, but I write most of the lyrics.”
And the way Winters comes up with the words resembles spontaneous combustion.
“I don’t fill a notebook with lyrics and then choose the ones I like best,” he says. “It’s more like a live journal. The words and the music reflect the day or the raw emotions I am experiencing at that moment. I write down or record what I am feeling and then later tweak it to make it sound good.”
“Fables” took about two years to produce. Clark and Winters recorded the songs in various houses and rooms as they toured the Pacific Northwest.
“The whole album is stories,” Winters says. “Some are about real things that happened and others are made up but still speak of real emotions. The songs are about personal things that people can interpret or relate to in their own ways.”
The song “7:25 a.m.” is Winters’ favorite on the album.
“It’s kind of a softer tempo song,” he says. “And it’s kind of creepy in a sense.”
Clark plays lead guitar on the album, while Winters sings, plays rhythm guitar, bass, keyboard and drums. For live performances, however, Cole Zollinger plays bass and sings backup vocals, Dash Curtis mans the keyboard and Kelvin Underwood does drums.
“Our live stuff is more energetic than our recordings,” Winters says. “It’s something you want to get up and dance to. But we’re super stoked about the album. It’s filled with our own real-life experiences.”
“We have a strong fan base in Ashland and it’s mostly personal contacts,” Clarke adds. “It’s great to be able to give back to everyone who has been so good to us. We’re thrilled about being able to offer “Fables” at our upcoming concert.”