Denver makes direct connection with Land Lines
FORT COLLINS BAND BRINGS NEW MEANING TO STRINGS
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 02:02
This year, Fort Collins trio Land Lines is in the process of moving from the shadows to the spotlight of Denver’s music scene.
Last year it was the folky anthems of The Lumineers that moved from the outskirts of underground indie to the occasional event background music to international recognition. A special moment comes together when a local band teeters on the brink of breaking out into popularity.
The band began as Matson Jones, a band that was voted number one in The Denver Post’s Underground Music Poll in 2005, signed to the same record label that kick started the career of The White Stripes, and launched what looked like a promising career before breaking up and moving away.
But in 2010, cellists Anna Mascorella and Martina Grbac and drummer Ross Harada started playing music together again, sans upright bassist Matt Regan, and rechristened as Land Lines.
Land Lines has a sound that stands out against the majority of contemporary music. The music heavily features the band’s strings, and not in the hyper-produced style that’s popular with radio music. The cello of Land Lines wails and plucks in an orchestral way. It is combined with simple drumming and soulful, slightly folky female vocals for a sound that is both peacefully quiet and wrought with just-below-the-surface tension.
It is this raw quality that gives Land Lines, like other emerging local band You Me And Apollo, its visceral appeal, while also making the road to commercial success slightly more iffy than for radio-standard sounding groups. But Denver has a history with this sort of thing, as Flobots broke out with its string-heavy hip hop and DeVotchka has seen a sizable amount of success in the indie scene.
This past summer, Land Lines started to break out when it played before the screening of Bridesmaids at Film on the Rocks. Although the event revolves around whatever movie is playing that night, the opportunity for a local band to perform at a sold out Red Rocks Amphitheater is priceless.
Since then, Land Lines has steadily and quietly been working its way up the Denver music scene. After playing at Film on the Rocks, the band gave an interview and performed three songs on Colorado Public Radio’s OpenAir, and in December played a set on Radio 1190.
Early this year, Land Lines held a release party at the Mercury Café for its new self-titled Cash Cow Productions album. The opening song “Bomb Blast” was released first as a free download, drawing listeners in with its energetic strings and crooning vocals. Land Lines, with its beautiful cover, scratchy vocals, and blending of folk and chamber pop, feels most like an album made for vinyl.
The album has since been quietly racking up positive reviews from a strange spread of places, including The Denver Post spin-off music blog Reverb and the French music blog Noise r’u. It is only a matter of time before this heartfelt three-piece goes the route of DeVotchka or The Lumineers.