After debuting a new music video, the Grand Rapids band officially releases its new album this week with a robust slate of summer shows ahead. The back story and video at Local Spins.
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When The Blue Pines rock Traverse City and Grand Rapids venues this month, they’ll do so as a foursome sporting a brand new album that’s “a bit harder-hitting” than the Grand Rapids group’s 2018 debut.
Paring down from a fivesome to a quartet since that debut, frontman and guitarist Tyler Newkirk said the “alternative band with roots in rock and reaching for the sky” has honed its sonic approach for the new record “Give and Take,” which officially gets released Friday (June 10).
After the departure of its drummer, the band featuring bassist Jake Krull and keyboardist/singer Roz’Lyn Clayton shifted one-time guitarist band Brian Johnson to drums.
“Moving Brian from guitar to drums meant I had to cover all of the lead and rhythm territory as the sole guitar player, but it also allowed for more sonic space on the record,” said Newkirk.
“We also collaborated more as a band on this record than in the past. I brought the lyrics and chords to the table again, but in a less-complete state than I did for our first record, letting the band as a whole shape the songs into versions you hear on the record.”
Newkirk – whom Clayton once described as “a really great song composer” – created tracks for this project that “explore subjects of love, loss, outrage and hope to hang one for the future.”
Traverse City fans will get a chance to be among the first to embrace the new songs during this weekend’s official release of “Give and Take,” with The Blue Pines playing the patio at Thirsty Fish Sports Grille, 221 E. State St., at 6:30 p.m. Friday, and Union Street Station, 117 S. Union St., at 10 p.m. Saturday.
The band returns to northern Michigan later this summer, too, playing Traverse City’s Encore 201 on Aug. 6, Union Street Station on Aug. 26 and Thirsty Fish Sports Grille on Aug. 27.
FOCUSING ON SOUND QUALITY, INSPIRED BY ‘EVERY MUSICAL TANGENT’
For The Blue Pines, following up the band’s 2018 album, “Separate Sets of Eyes,” meant stepping up their “pretty-to-punchy sound” in more ways than one.
“Sound quality was very important for us, so it made sense to go with River City Studios in Grand Rapids. Koty Schoenberg engineered the record and worked with the band on the final mix,” Newkirk said. “Then Larry McKay worked with us to get the final masters dialed in.”
The result is a blend of alternative rock that lies somewhere between The Raconteurs “and a more over-driven Wilco.”
Newkirk offered that the band is influenced by “everything we’ve ever heard and every musical tangent we’ve ever taken at band practice.
“We take notes from the dynamic worlds The Pixies were able to play between, but we also find a lot of inspiration from Wilco and The White Stripes – and the syllabic delivery of (rock/punk frontman) Ted Leo stands toward the forefront of my memory.”
In addition to the new studio album, the band recently released a music video for the track, “Saint Blue,” which Clayton said was filmed by the band “candidly exploring the frozen shore of Lake Michigan in February.” View the video by Clayton here.
VIDEO: The Blue Pines, “Saint Blue”
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