Rec Center is made up of vet local musicians who've been playing the scene in one outfit or another for upwards of a dozen years -- Tampa Bay's best known New Granada Records label leaders Susie and Keith Ulrey (Pohgoh, The Maccabees), Brian Roberts (Hanksaw, Murder Suicide Pact), Melissa Grady (Candy Bars), and Michael Waksman (The Washdown).
Longtime collaborators Susie and Michael are responsible for the songwriting on Rec Center's much-anticipated debut LP, Tin Year, the title referencing the traditional 10th year wedding anniversary gift (tin/aluminum) and a thread of other interrelated 10-year marks: 10 years of marriage for the Ulreys, 10 years since Susie found out she had MS, 10 years worth of composing the songs that were eventually scaled back to the 13 on this album and fleshed out into fully-realized tracks by the band as a whole.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Mark Nikolich at Atomic Audio, Tin Year is a lovely, thoughtful, finely-crafted collection easing between breezy folk-roots, warm indie pop and lightly-driving alt rock. Susie's vocals are pure piping sweetness -- sometimes bright and vibrant, other times delicate and serene -- that adds a shimmery luster to the mix along with the bell-like tones of her electric piano melodies. Michael and Keith's vocal harmonies and occasional turns on lead reveal surprisingly gentle higher-register tenors that complement Susie's most appealingly, and Seattle songstress/New Granada artist Jen Wood delivers dulcet guest vocals on a few tracks, including the melancholy static-kissed "Stages." Melissa incorporates classy strains of cello, Brian the subtle but steady lowend grooves to Keith's easy-going backbeats and light percussive touch, and Michael fills in with hooky electric guitar riffs and occasional solos, strummed acoustic guitars, and atmospheric keyboards. Tin Year is wistful yet buoyant, a calming balm to the soul, and an overall impressive first effort. (Critics' Rating: 4 and 1/2 out of 5 Stars)
Pick up a copy at Rec Center's CD release show this Friday, with warm-up support from Tampa indie shoegaze/alt roots rockers Sleepy Vikings, and fuzzed-out indietronic rock outfit Today the Moon Tomorrow the Sun, from Atlanta.
Tyler- I can't believe how talented of a writer you are. This article was beautifully…
Great interview! Give the interviewer a full time job! He's great!
The DJ was actually The Castle's very own DJ Tom Gold :)
Fabulous review Gabe! Too bad I missed it.