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Ghosts of the Kodiak | Lifting Up the Ceilings

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Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock Rock: American Underground Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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Lifting Up the Ceilings

by Ghosts of the Kodiak

'To be human is to cope.' This aphorism is taken to heart in Ghosts of the Kodiak's 2013 EP, "Lifting Up the Ceilings". It is an exploration of the ways we cope with our dispositions, and the judgments we make about the ways that others cope. The mood is at times intense, at times melancholic, and at times lethargic. At any rate, the songs are best enjoyed loudly, with headphones on, perhaps with a modest spirit of rebellion.
Genre: Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
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1. Andante in D
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2. Lights
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3. Dirt On Your Face
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4. Don't Get Carried Away
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
We are human.

This means several things. We are finite. Each of us will one day die – hopefully on our own terms, but for all we know this is completely up to chance. No matter how much we have lived, we still have fears that we’ve buried deep inside ourselves.

But we are contemplative animals. We are conscious of ourselves as both subjects and objects, a dual-perspective of our being-in-the-world which we understand paradoxically: it defines us; it is who we are; yet nothing could be more foreign and incomprehensible. We can try to make sense of it, or we can try to express it as it is: disordered, chaotic and all too human. Our consolation is our capacity to express ourselves, as we are, in the state that we find ourselves in. One form this expression takes – perhaps the most primitive form – is music.

This is Ghosts of the Kodiak’s “Archimedean point,” and it manifests powerfully and thoughtfully in their music, which weds the dynamics of post-rock with the intimacy of American folk and the punchy, emotive vibes of indie-rock.

To augment their musical influences (bands like Colour Revolt, Brand New, Sigur Rós, Manchester Orchestra, mewithoutYou and Radiohead) the band draws inspiration from literature, philosophy and, of course, experience. While they accept that music (especially rock music) is to a certain extent raw and messy because of its emphasis on emotion and the first-person perspective, the band endeavors to blend precision and pensiveness in their songwriting, importing aesthetic standards from literature and philosophy to serve as lyrical maxims, and rejecting the strict verse-chorus structural paradigm that is characteristic of so much contemporary “radio” music in favor of a more holistic compositional approach.

For song-writer Caleb Smith the concept of “writers’ block” is a foreign one. For some artists, inspiration doesn’t come like a mystical genie but rather “like a sickness or a plague, which, for a period, overcomes and subordinates you so that you are, for that period, incapable of doing anything other than writing the songs it wants you to.” These “plagues” are naturally unpredictable, and always seem to come at the least convenient times. Thus, he worries more about when it will come than if it will come. Ghosts fans will surely never have to wait too long for a new release. The biggest worry is that it will come before we have had time to fully digest the last one.

Caleb Smith (vox/guitar), William Powell (lead guitar) and Nathan Parker (drums) have been playing music together since the first iteration of the band (which took its name, “Goodbye Bluefly,” from the title of a Lovedrug song) formed in 2006. Since then the band has gone through several reconfigurations, evolving and maturing both musically and personally along the way, before emerging as Ghosts of the Kodiak in 2010. The final piece of the puzzle was added in 2013 when former I Am Carpenter bassist Austin Landers joined the group. Brought up on the same musical stock (indie staples like Death Cab, Modest Mouse, Radiohead and Colour Revolt), Austin’s style and articulation made him a natural fit, and his contribution to the band was felt immediately.

The release of “Lifting Up the Ceilings” (E.P.) in December 2013 – only a few months after the long-awaited and many-times-delayed release of their L.P. “We Still Have Fears Inside Ourselves” – was almost completely unanticipated. The band had announced earlier in the year that they would be going on a 12-month hiatus while Caleb was in the U.K. for postgrad, and they had even started promoting their “last show.” Despite the fact that the E.P. had almost no promotion, those who were willing to search heard the music and its reception was consistently positive. As it turned out, a year seemed like too long for the band to maintain “hiatus” status, and they made appearances at several familiar Carolina venues when the were briefly reunited in late December/early January. Though they won’t be playing shows again (in the U.S. at least) until August, the band is by no means dead. The boys are using the down time to write and cultivate the band’s aesthetic. Expect GotK to come back strong later this year.

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