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The Cropper!

A blog featuring #indie music, news, interviews, & the best darn songs west of Stockholm

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King Ropes

Bozeman, Montana-based King Ropes’ first three releases—their 2016 debut album Dirt, its followup Gravity and Friction and the EP Green Wolverine —introduced much-traveled frontman Dave Hollier’s richly emotional, sonically expansive musical vision. Hollier and his like-minded bandmates draw upon multiple lifetimes’ worth of musical inspirations to create vibrantly human, hauntingly original music.

The sense of musical history that’s long been a key element in Holler’s creative approach drives King Ropes’ new Go Back Where They Came From, on which the band offers personalized interpretations of a dozen songs originally recorded by other artists, incorporating material drawn from sources ranging from Ray Charles and Roger Miller to Willie Nelson and the Beastie Boys.

“Most of what I know about songwriting I’ve learned by covering other people’s songs,” Hollier reflects. “But I’ve never been interested in copying the original version of a song. The covers I love to hear are when someone takes a great song, and makes it into something new.

“On this album, we’ve tried to strip the songs down to the bare bones, and then build them back up again and take them pretty far from their original context,” he continues. “I’ve been thinking about cover songs for a long time, and I thought it would be fun to try a covers album with a bunch of songs from all over the map, and take those songs in a bunch of directions.”

That vibrant level of engagement is reflected in King Ropes’ perceptive, personally-charged interpretations of such notable tunes as Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” Steve Earle’s “Transcendental Blues,” the Woody Guthrie/Billy Bragg/Wilco collaboration “Eisler on the Go” and Al Green’s “Take Me to the River,” also popularized by Talking Heads, whose own “Drugs” also gets an equally memorable workout here. The album also features a pair of compelling dark horses in the form of songs by iconoclastic indie troubadours Mike Ferrio (Tandy) and Matt Mays.

“I hope this genre bending thing isn’t too heavy-handed, but I think that this record is a pretty upfront statement of us having a lot of different music that we love and are influenced by,” Hollier states. “It was a lot of fun taking a bunch of songs that might seem to have nothing to do with each other and getting them to hold together as a cohesive whole.”

The restless sense of exploration that drives Go Back Where They Came From has been a constant in Hollier’s musical life from the start. He first launched King Ropes—the name is borrowed from a Wyoming saddlery store—while a resident of pre-gentrification Brooklyn. The band was initially an outgrowth of the Brooklyn Rod and Gun Club, a low-key social club that Hollier launched with some friends. For six heady years, the Club hosted live music five nights a week, with Hollier hosting a weekly hootenanny night that evolved into a band, Home for Wayward Drummers, whose now-legendary three-hour sets incorporated hundreds of cover tunes, the better to inspire Hollier’s own songwriting efforts.

After several productive years in Brooklyn, Hollier temporarily landed in Los Angeles and rechristened his band King Ropes, in a nod to the music’s Western roots. He worked on recording some songs that he’d begun working on in Brooklyn. He began picking up live gigs around L.A., and worked on putting a regular band put together. He soon relocated, with his wife and new baby, to his original hometown of Bozeman, MT where he found several musicians who were receptive to his musical vision. Many of those players are still a part of the band’s ever-evolving performing lineup, whose effortless rapport and multi-instrumental abilities lend added gravitas and power to Hollier’s compositions.

“There’s a core group of about eight of us,” Hollier explains. “Those eight people have never been in the same room together, much less all played together at the same time. But at this point, each has gotten to know the others pretty well. Before moving back to Montana, I’d been living in L.A. and touring and recording with musicians who lived all over the country, so I just figured why not do that from Montana? But then I started playing with local people, and now at least half of the core players are based in Bozeman.”

King Ropes’ performing lineup compasses a diverse group of players from across the country, including Hollier’s son Sam, who lives in New Orleans and plays cello with a variety of outfits, and his daughter Lucy, who plays trombone and lives in Brooklyn.

“We’ve toured a lot in the last couple years,” says Hollier. “And though the lineup varies a bit from tour to tour, we’ve got a super solid core that’s evolved into a really nice combo of solid but loose.”

Hollier sees King Ropes’ adopted home state as a key element of his band’s identity. “It’s important to me that we’re from Montana, and that Montana has formed us in some key ways. Montana is an incredibly beautiful place, but it’s also harsh and unforgiving. The weather can be brutal and relentless and the distances are huge. It can be an isolating and inhospitable place to live, and the people can reflect that. There can be violence and poverty and substance abuse just like anywhere else, and the natural beauty of the place might make that harder to see. I think we’re getting better at reflecting both sides of that in the music we’re making.”

“I’m interested in the contrasts between urban and rural, eastern and western, sophisticated and raw, sweet and bludgeoning,” Hollier concludes. “People think it’s weird, a kid from Montana to move to New York in the ’80s. New York was pretty gnarly then, and Montana was really isolated, geographically and culturally, but those two extremes define who I am, and I think this music reflects that.”


TRACK LISTING
1.Tall Trees – Matt Mays
2.Take Me To The River – Al Green
3.Drugs – Talking Heads
4.Rocket Man – Elton John
5.Eisler On The Go – Billy Bragg / Wilco
6.Girls Like Us – Tandy
7.Transcendental Blues – Steve Earle
8.Bloody Mary Morning – Willie Nelson
9.King Of The Road – Roger Miller
10.Neighbourhood #4 (Seven Kettles) – Arcade Fire
11.Song For The Man – Beastie Boys
12.The Danger Zone – Ray Charles




Press Contact: Bill Benson

Radio Contact: Nelson Wells & Adam Morgan



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Kazyak Odyssey cover

Kazyak Pushes The Psych Rock Envelope With The Hypnotic 'Discover'

Minneapolis’ Kazyak have quietly been releasing a prolific canon of music over the past few years. 2017’s Happy Camping and 2018’s Reflection were both worthy of repeat listens. But they’ve really stepped up their game with their upcoming release, Odyssey.

“Discover” is the third single released from the LP and Glide Magazine just premiered it for all the world to hear (and see). Check out the premiere here!

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A blog featuring #indie music, news, interviews, & the best darn songs west of Stockholm

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See our clients, only part of the 2,238+ artists and true creatives we’ve had the privilege of working with so far (our first 20-years). -with love from founders Nelson Wells and Bill Benson

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