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items tagged with Jacob Ruefer

Time Well Spent: Satellite Heart, “Between Phases”; October 10 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2015-10-01 11:19:44

The differences between two versions of Satellite Heart’s “Bob De Niro” are compositionally minor, but the new recording transforms the song.

On the 2012 compilation Hello Quad Cities Volume 1, the track was a catchy chug, but it also felt lumbering and unwieldy, with the insistently crashing cymbals exemplifying an overall coarseness.

On the indie-rock band’s new EP, Between Phases, the track is, in all its component parts, pretty much the same – but it’s been compressed and polished, and the effect is like coal becoming a diamond. It’s just 10 seconds shorter, but the quicker tempo and other changes breathe such life into the track that it feels like it’s performed at double speed.

The dynamic range has been flattened significantly, but the sloppy explosiveness lost in the Between Phases track is replaced by additions and refinement: a new buzz-guitar bit, more-precise harmonies given greater emphasis, the on-beat stuttering vocal on the word “my” in “my mistake.”

The changes, said guitarist/singer Andy Smith, can be attributed to the earlier version being a quick take on a freshly written song, while the new one reflects comfort with the material and several years spent recording, mixing, and tweaking Between Phases. The Hello Quad Cities “Bob De Niro,” he said, “wasn’t the same level of detail, the same level of production.” The core tracks for the EP were put down in the summer of 2013, he added, but the band members’ work schedules meant that “it got mixed over a very long period of time.”

The time was well-spent. The new record still rocks plenty hard, but there’s an agile tightness that the quartet’s 2012 album Become the New only hinted at. Smith said the goal with each track was to capture the best version of each song, and that care is evident throughout Between Phases.

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Many-Trick Ponies: Satellite Heart, January 7 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-01-03 16:12:20

Satellite Heart. Photo by Shannon Colgan.

If you attend a Satellite Heart show – such as January 7’s at RIBCO – two of the songs you might hear are “Rock N’ Troll” (“Fighting dragons / Killing marauders / Doing things that we thought that we’d never do”) and “Pizza Party” (“Even Saddam Hussein like[s] pizza”). Both are irresistibly dumb; the first could be a Spinal Tap cover, and the second could have come from Flight of the Conchords.

Yet before you think that the Quad Cities-based quartet is a joke band, or a one- or two-trick pony, make sure to check out Satellite Heart’s full-length studio debut, Become the New, when it’s released in late January. It does include the aforementioned live-show staples, but it’s also a roughly vibrant rock record filled with hooks and charm aplenty.

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