Mount Pressmore | Enjoy

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by Mount Pressmore

Independent, progressive, jazz-influenced rock from Austin, Texas.
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Here We Go
4:24 $0.99
2. The New Regional Branch Manager
4:31 $0.99
3. Dry Land
4:13 $0.99
4. Trampoline
3:41 $0.99
5. A Place in the Sun
4:21 $0.99
6. Vice-Presidential Material
4:21 $0.99
7. Interchange
4:42 $0.99
8. Dawn, Bingham
5:23 $0.99
9. Agnostic
4:16 $0.99
10. Dakota
5:39 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“Music was his religion,” Mount Pressmore vocalist and keyboardist Thomas Shaw says of his father Robert Shaw, a famed conductor with 14 Grammy awards to his name. “His obsessions were Bach’s ‘Mass in B minor,’ Mozart’s ‘Requiem,’ and Beethoven’s ‘Missa Solemnis.’ This was the music I heard most frequently as a child.” Raised amid technical exercises, music theory, and classical recitals, the young Shaw was none-the-less eventually drawn to more popular sounds.

“I heard Oscar Peterson and I was blown away,” he recalls of the development of his own obsessions. “Then I listened to B.B. King, James Brown, Led Zeppelin, and Fela Kuti.” Relocating to Austin after school, Shaw formed Mount Pressmore in late 2011 with drummer and fellow New York Collective School of Music classmate, Kris Studebaker. Bassist Alexei Sefchick and guitarist Danny Anderson, both graduates of Boston’s Berklee School of Music, complete the quartet.

Owing to the deep history, education, and influences of its players, Mount Pressmore’s music is a technical revelation. Its music straddles the jazz-rock line with a level of proficiency that brings to mind an indie-rock Steely Dan on the debut album Enjoy, scheduled for release on Mount Pressmore’s own Pressmore Records on December 3rd, 2013.

“I write out every note of music,” Shaw explains. “So, the process of this group is very practice-oriented. We spent over a year coming together as a band and practicing the material on Enjoy.” This work ethic led to Mount Pressmore only needing three days to track what is still a very complex album. “I believe there are fewer than five instrumental overdubs and no splicing,” Shaw says. “Each song, from start to finish, represents one discrete, live performance.” Shaw kept the production from sounding clinical by indulging his creative whims when it came to Enjoy’s backing vocals.

“I would have had an entire chorus if I could, but Erin worked out beautifully,” Shaw says of vocalist Erin Ivey who provides the female voice throughout the album, and is currently riding a wave of attention of her own in Austin (the Austin Chronicle recently dubbed her an “urban folk songstress” who “stands out in a town saturated with singer-songwriters.”) Of the lyrics that Shaw provides, he claims to again find inspiration in the classics.

“In Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night,’ the ragtag drunks ask the clown for a song, to which he replies, ‘Would you have a love song, or a song of good life?’ My lyrics are personal, but I try to make them fit into one of those two categories. Where a song may start with an idea of death, I try to transform it into some notion of good life.” Returning to the topic of indulgence, the intricacies of Mount Pressmore’s compositions on Enjoy wouldn’t really be complete without a trip to what the band’s producer calls “Nerdworld.”

Shaw goes right there, saying, “The album follows what might be considered a traditional formal song cycle. Ideally, you’d have twelve songs, each written in the key a perfect fifth above the preceding one, moving through all twelve keys. There’s an idea that by ascending the circle of fifths, you heighten the drama and tension of the music with every new key.”

“Enjoy has ten songs,” he continues. “The first two start out in D-flat, and then we move up: ‘Dry Land’ in A-flat, ‘Trampoline’ in E-flat, ‘A Place In The Sun’ in the relative minor of B-flat, G minor, followed by ‘Vice-Presidential Material’ in B-flat major. We skip F and C, but are back in at G major with ‘Interchange,’ and so on through ‘Dakota,’ the ending, which begins in B but ends with a suspended A chord, A major being the only sharp key we skipped in the album’s second half ascent. That was all dry and theoretical,” Shaw remarks modestly, probably not realizing that it was also incredibly cool. All of that know-how does come with consequences, however.

“It takes time for all of us to adopt and memorize this material, but I’m hopeful that we can release an album annually. If we could, I’d like to release a record every six months.” For now, Mount Pressmore can enjoy the completion of Enjoy, which will see release on December 3rd via the band’s own Pressmore Records label.



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