After taking more than a decade to complete their sophomore full length, Erie Choir is back with the 4-song Starlight Veins EP a mere 2 and a half years later.
Erie Choir began at the dawn of the new millennium as the solo acoustic folk singing sort-of-thing of Sorry About Dresden’s Eric Roehrig. Realizing the loneliness and terror of such endeavors (and the inability to drown out yammering bar goers), Roehrig quickly recruited pals to help him pursue his quixotic rock n’ roll ambitions. After a pair of self-released EP’s, Sit-n-Spin Records released Slighter Awake in 2006, which Pop Matters called “crisp, clean, indie rock with a folk-pop flavor”. The band (Roehrig, fellow Sorry About Dresden alumnus James Hepler, Bob Wall, and Jack Watson) began recording the follow up in 2011, but Old Rigs wasn’t completed and released until November 2017. The Big Takeover declared it “worth the wait”, describing Roehrig as “an American Graham Parker.“
For the Starlight Veins EP, Erie Choir returned to Duck Kee Studio No. 8 1⁄2* to work with Jerry Kee (Polvo, Kingsbury Manx) where they previously recorded much of Slighter Awake. The 4-song EP begins with a burst of distorted feedback, making clear the band is less in the folk or Americana mood of previous releases. The idea for EP opener “Other Guys” originated as an inside joke**--when covering “Older Guys” by the Flying Burrito Brothers at venues that prohibited covers, Wall would jokingly refer to it as “Other Guys.” Anti-boomer anthem? A self-deprecating airing of grievances? Your call. “I Will”, featuring Brandon Whitesell on piano, was inspired by Penelope Spheeris’ 1987 classic The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. “Night Junction” chronicles the tribulations and triumphs Roehrig and Hepler’s former band faced in Indiana while on tour in the early aughts. Finally, if you call a song “Cemetery Rows”, you can pretend otherwise, but the theme is pretty transparent.
*The studio was called Duck Kee Studio No. 8 when Slighter Awake was recorded. The additional “1⁄2” has now been added following a fire that necessitated the studio being rebuilt.
**This occurred during Watson, Wall, and Roehrig’s time as supporting members in Missy Thang’s indie pop outfit Soft Company.
PTLK67 / Release Date: April 24, 2020
Listen to Starlight Veins here
Press for Old Rigs & Slighter Awake: