|Older Brother||Beauregard|| |
|Rose Mary Stretch||Live At Google|| |
|Allison||Red Velvet Snow Ball|| |
|Lake House||Red Velvet Snow Ball|| |
|Family Planning||Red Velvet Snow Ball|| |
|The Ballad Of Alessandro Moreschi||Red Velvet Snow Ball|| |
|In Search Of Simon Birch||Red Velvet Snow Ball|| |
|Tiny Fingers||Red Velvet Snow Ball|| |
|Dance Card||Red Velvet Snow Ball|| |
|Murder Room||Red Velvet Snow Ball|| |
The five gentlemen who bring the Fort to life met a decade ago at the famously freewheeling site of institutional discovery called Wesleyan University. Jake, Sam and Zach formed a band on the first day of class and were joined a few years later by Keenan and Will. The “P.C.U.” school’s hyper-social climate and bevy of battling bands set the tone for the real world beyond its progressive quad. After graduating, the group’s members relocated to New York to start fresh, playing music in other outfits and holding down jobs. A few years later the quintet reconvened as Fort Lean.
Fort Lean projects itself into the vague physical space suggested by its name. Here they have forged an identity and established roles that sidestep the hierarchy of traditional bands. Jake, on bass, is the visionary technician; Zach, on guitar, is the big-picture conceptualizer; Sam is that rare drummer with compositional knack; Keenan, the singer, is the guiding soul of the group; Will, on keys, is the finisher, the closer, the icing. But while these roles do exist, it’s never quite clear who is doing what.
“It’s a warped normalcy,” says Keenan. “There are elements in our music that you might think you’ve heard before but they translate to something different when the parts come together.” Layers of sound interweave, blending the familiar and unfamiliar. In their words, it’s like a bootleg vacation, the idea of an escape that is compromised or somehow undercut; a kid on holiday with his parents, free but for the hotel walls.
Fort Lean released two early EPs, earning glowing reviews in The New York Times and shows with HAIM, Future Islands, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Now comes Quiet Day, the debut LP on Ooh La La Records. The album is a collision of moods and tones, approachable and ambitious but delivered with a sideways subtlety. The collective songwriting is cohesive yet contains the disparate perspectives of its five writers. This is versatile stuff, appropriate for a crowd at a party or for the introspective headphoner.
“What we’re trying to explore sonically is something true to life, where there are moments of pleasure and peace that coexist with moments of surprise and chaos, ” says Zach.
“It’s aspirational,” says Keenan. “We’re trying to build a world.”
Welcome to Fort Lean.
Former Eulogies bass player Tim Hutton and Chris Reynolds originally began playing with Peter Walker under the aegis of his solo work. After touring the US extensively in 2006, the trio was reborn under the name Eulogies. Drew Phillips joined the band in 2008, while Garrett Deloian joined the band in January 2009. They are signed to Los Angeles indie label Dangerbird Records, through which they released their self-titled debut album on September 11, 2007. The album was co-produced by fellow Dangerbird labelmate Hrishikesh Hirway. Eulogies toured North America in support of that album in summer 2007 with Sea Wolf and in fall 2007 with Film School.
A second album, entitled Here Anonymous, was released on April 7, 2009, and was preceded by the EP Tempted to Do Nothing on November 4, 2008. North American tour dates with The Dears and Middle Distance Runner followed in spring 2009.
As for their music? You’ve heard it. Fort Lean write big, anthemic rock songs, and they play the hell out of them. Stakes are high. Fort Lean don’t want people to “kinda like” them. They want to be a girl’s first crush. They want college kids to make bad life decisions based on misinterpretations of their lyrics. They want to write the song you dance to with your second wife on the night of your wedding to your first wife. When your son moves to whatever the new Bushwick is in twenty years, and when he calls you, crying, to report he just got shook down by a bunch of punk kids, Fort Lean want you to smile to yourself and think of that line from “Sunsick”: “Get-tin’ mugged by chil-drennn!!”
You would think this is every band’s wish–to be The Biggest Band In The World. But it turns out that’s a lot of work! It turns 99.9% of bands just don’t have the chops or the songbook. Fort Lean somehow have both–which is why they stuck out like a sore thumb this past CMJ. They’re writing choruses you wish you had written, and playing tighter than your band ever could. They’re only going to get better too. Mark my words: the world will get at least five great albums from this band before the singer cracks and decides he wants to be a doctor after all.
I could write thousands of words about keyboardist Will Runge’s impeccable style (great face, great denim). I could rap on drummer Sam Ubl’s tasty hi-hat work, or bassist Jake Aron’s smart use of space. I could tell you about the first time I heard Keenan’s voice–an oaky, siren-like tenor that proves once and for all that nature does in fact trump nurture. Or how about this: Zach Fried routinely wears tight red pants, plays a Telecaster, and insists on using an enormous eighty-pound pedalboard even though he only has like two pedals–and somehow gets away with it all! There’s just so much to like about this band in the particular. But right now, the thing I like most about Fort Lean is quite simple. They pay their rent on time. They chip in when equipment gets broken. They let me use their Twin Reverb, and the Peavy Bandit (great for leads). I didn’t have to tell them twice about not leaving bikes in the hallway. It’s hard to find bands like this. I will miss them when they’re gone.
In July 2011, Brad Oberhofer signed with Glassnote Records, which released Oberhofer's debut album Time Capsules II on March 27, 2012, in the United States and worldwide on April 16.
Oberhofer's sound is largely described as Surf Pop Revival, joining the ranks of such bands as Best Coast, Bleached, Surfer Blood, Cayucas, Howler, and Dum Dum Girls.