This past December, the indie-pop and prog-rock sleuths of Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band ventured up into the gray maw of Anacortes to record in a church. The church, now a music studio called the Unknown, was at one point a sail-making shop. Without pews, the sanctuary auditorium is cavernous—large enough to create sails. The acoustics are expansive, as is the natural reverb. For the better part of a year, MSHVB had been removed on sabbatical, taking time off to let the group regroup from two years of touring and member shifts, and to write new material. The road had run them ragged.
The end result of the Unknown Anacortes sessions is an EP called Prehistory. It's a confession-filled collection of simple, coherent ideas, recorded mostly live. Guitar amps were placed in the church's confession booth. "The songs are about untangling and extricating yourself from unreal expectations and finding connections with worthwhile things," says singer, guitarist, songwriter Benjamin Verdoes. "Pressures had mounted. We were sapped. The business of music had evaporated the enjoyment of playing music. I almost had a nervous breakdown and needed time away. So I moved to San Francisco for the summer to reconfigure. I think now I know enough not to care about the imaginary world of success."
Read the whole story, and hear some of the new music, here. Then, when you're done with that, enter to win a pair of tickets to tomorrow's show at Neumos!
Just send your first and last name to firstname.lastname@example.org with Mt. St. Helens Vietnam band in the subject line.
Throw Me the Statue (another band that seemingly disappeared for awhile) and Cataldo open the show. It's 21+ and tickets are still available here.