The history's just as substantial and nuanced as the sound. Red Iron Orchestra (the band) has gestated for more than a year, but the players' friendships, not to mention the musical talents and resumes of said-players, stretch back a decade and beyond. Ludicrous as "writing about music" can be, this is where words could falter. The mood of the songs is all so grand — the guitars like a waterfall's vociferous torrent, before drifting away to a disarming calm, propelled along by interlocked rhythms (sonorous piano, shuffling drums, heartbeat bass). Red Iron Orchestra, with their six-plus minute concertos, still embrace the trappings of rock. Singer/guitarist Chris Lavaque and singer/guitarist Randall Kupfer both played in I, the Magician/Old Tiger Stadium. In fact, much of the band (guitarist/organist/pianist Tom Currie, guitarist James Obenour and drummer Brian Galindo) each played in that band. Distinguishing Red Iron Orchestra is a balance of the ethereal with a poignancy, as bassist Nicole Margosian-Galindo (Lovesick/Charlevoix) came in to round out the sextet. "The concept," says Margosian-Galindo, "was to regroup [I, The Magician] with one difference — me — and one change of instrumentation."
Kupfer acknowledges the melting-pot amorphousness of influences, but harkens to early-'90s British shoegaze bands like Catherine Wheel and Slowdive, as well as singer/songwriters Besnard Lakes and Damian Jurado. Red Iron Orchestra is finishing up the debut record at High Bias with Chris Koltay, aiming for a mid-summer limited edition release on Detroit label, Elkion Records. | RDW
Red Iron Orchestra w/ Friendly Foes & Your Skull My Closet • 6/19, 8 p.m. • The Pike Room at the Crofoot • 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac • 248.858.9333 the crofoot.com