In a show of local camaraderie and cooperation, Savannah Stopover Music Festival and Graveface Records & Curiosities are teaming up for a free, all-ages, four-band pre-Stopover show, aptly titled "The Night Before Stopover," that is all about the Graveface family.
Ryan Graveface, proprietor of his eponymous store and record label, also has several music projects. Dreamend, however, is the one he considers to be his truest solo work, in that collaboration with outside musicians is severely limited. Graveface hasn't put out a Dreamend record in almost six years. That changes in April with the release of the untitled sixth album.
Dreamend is hitting the road for an 18-plus-date tour with Kid Dakota, who just released a new album, "Denervation," on Graveface Records. The two acts will share members for the tour, which starts in Savannah.
"It was a fluke," Graveface said. "Kid Dakota was going to be here, because he's my backing band for this tour, on March 7. Whispertown and High Up hit me up and said, 'Do you want to host us; we'll be in town on March 7?' I said, 'Well, why don't we do a little Graveface mini-thing?'
"High Up is technically not on the label, but the other three are. Orenda and Todd Fink from Closeness are in High up. It's a family show!"
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Graveface's public relations arm, Noisy Ghost PR, also handles Stopover's publicity. When Stopover CEO/founder Kayne Lanahan got wind of the show, she jumped on the chance to team up with Graveface.
"Once we realized it was the night before, we decided to combine efforts, share costs and have it be a free event," Lanahan said. "The lineup is all Ryan, and it's fantastic. I've been listening to High Up nonstop! We were already working on a Lagunitas Pint Night at Green Truck Pub with Josh Yates, so we said let's do both and make it a fun kick-off event."
Prior to the free all-ages show, happening in the Starland Dairy behind Graveface's store, Stopover is teaming up with Lagunitas and Green Truck Pub for a fundraiser to benefit Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Proceeds from every Lagunitas sold will go to the charity. There will also be a raffle and chance to win Lagunitas swag, as well as Stopover gift packages.
Across the Graveface family, one can find a variety of styles of music, although it often favors Graveface's preferred shoegaze rock. This particular showcase, however, is quite varied.
Graveface has turned to his Dreamend project with no intention of it being a hit on his own label, but rather as an outlet for a new experiment. His composition process for this album began with keyboard and guitar loops. He sent those demos off to multi-instrumentalist and producer T.W. Walsh (Pedro The Lion, Soft Drugs), who added exceptionally coherent, yet spatial, drumming. Once the foundation was built, Graveface wrote the song over it.
"The end result is very, I guess experimental â€¦" Graveface said. "It's a weird record. Listening back to it now, this is not going to do well. But my other records have all sold out. So there's some group of people that connect with it. I cannot foresee this record doing well at all. It's a hard listen. All of my stuff is really sad. This is sad, plus another element, which is illogical songwriting. So it's a hoot!"
The first single, "Falling," opens with staccato synth notes bouncing between left and right stereo inputs before dissolving seamlessly into a broken, minimal drum beat with arpeggio keyboard riffs. Drawing from shoegaze influence, Graveface's sugary sweet falsetto vocals are buried by a few layers of synth and bass riffs. The chorus rises in an indie-rock cathartic fashion with plenty of melody and interesting musical counterpoints.
In juxtaposition, Kid Dakota's latest album shares the spatial approach of Dreamend, but Darren Jackson's vocals are instead up front and present for the entire album. The experimental indie rock, with country and shoegaze influence, is painted on a canvas of pulsating beats, synth-driven riffs, deep bass tones and catchy pop-infused choruses.
High Up, which has members of Bright Eyes and the The Faint, began with sisters Christine and Orenda Fink (Azure Ray, Closeness). Their funky Muscle Shoals-based neo-soul is musically quite different from Kid Dakota and Dreamend.
Whispertown's acoustic-based, punk-inspired indie rock adds yet another musical variation to this show. Whispertown released "I'm a Man" on Graveface Records last year and are now on tour with High Up.
"It's just, oddly enough, four bands, including myself, so three bands other than me are going to be in town on the same day," Graveface said. "So why would I not do a show? I have no clue how Dreamend is going to go live. At least with Kid Dakota, they're super pros. If anyone is going to be able to make it sound listenable, it's them."
IF YOU GO
What: Graveface presents "The Night Before Stopover"
When: 7 p.m. March 7
Where: Graveface Records & Curiosities, 5 W. 40th st.
Cost: Free; all ages