Me & Mountains Release Feral on Vinyl
By Kyle Melton
In 2009, Me & Mountains burst onto the Dayton scene with a highly polished indie pop/rock sound that quickly caught the attention of audiences around town. Their self-titled debut EP evidenced a band with an uncanny penchant for infectious composition and no-frills arrangements, channeling the likes of indie heavyweights like The Killers and Weezer. In the interim, Me & Mountains — Pete Bowser [drums], Tim Collette [guitar], Burris Dixon [bass/vocals], Marshall Norman [guitar] and Roger Smith [keyboards] — performed around town and established themselves as one of the most promising bands on the locals scene. Earlier this year, the band emerged with a new album, Feral, providing the band a much needed boost.
“That debut record was such a long time coming and it felt like it would be a long time before we made another,” says Dixon. “We spent most of our time playing live and gathering up merch. We waited over a year before we even started recording Feral and by that time we had already been playing a lot of songs from that record live.”
“We spent the majority of that time sporadically recording bits and pieces,” continues Smith. “I think we achieved a sweet sound the way we did it.”
Having spent a couple of years playing around town in support of their debut EP and establishing their reputation, the band built up a stockpile of material for a new album and set about capturing the material in their home studio.
“We had a cache of probably 20 songs for the record and some got recorded and lost due to them not translating well on record,” admits Dixon. “The original idea was 10 tracks, but after we tossed out a few songs, I feel like it really started to mesh better.”
“Rodger read up on home recording and how to capture the sound in our little cave,” explains Bowser. “We invested in microphones and some other gear, and really took our time with it. It was definitely a learning process, but it turned out really well.”
With the album finished, Me & Mountains decided to release the album on vinyl, which while currently in favor with audiences, can be a cost-prohibitive manner of releasing new material. The band took a cue from fellow Daytonians and set about launching a web-based Kickstarter campaign to finance the vinyl release.
“It was a really fun and interesting way to connect with fans,” says Norman. “We even made some new ones in various parts of the country and even Europe and Canada, which is pretty neat.
“We talked about it for a year before we did it and it seemed like the only option was Kickstarter since the price of vinyl is extremely high,” admits Dixon. “After the [Motel] Beds did Kickstarter and succeeded, we thought ‘why not?’ We doubled our goal of $1000 and it really put a wind in our sails at that point because we felt a little disheartened after a year or so of releasing nothing. We were shocked and honored by the fans’ dedication to seeing it on vinyl.”
“Kickstarter was amazing,” says Bowser. “We didn’t know if there would be enough interest to make it happen, but the record was nearly funded after a couple weeks. We are really lucky to have fans and friends like that here in Dayton.”
Throughout Feral, Me & Mountains display their ability to refine hook-laden indie pop to its barest elements, letting the melodies shine through without excessive ornamentation. A razor-sharp disc that took months to compile, the band are extremely pleased with the results.
“I love the lead songs on both sides of the record, ‘Hooks’ and ‘Down For Whatever’,” says Bowser. “They are perfect openers because they have good energy and super catchy lines. The vocals are a highlight for me too. Burris and I have become much better at singing together, so there are lots of nice harmonies on this one.”
Although Feral only recently saw digital release and the vinyl is still pending, the band already has plans for more releases by the year’s end.
“We are planning a 4-5 song release on Gas Daddy Go Records in a few months,” explains Dixon. “We are extremely excited, as this is going to be a lot better, in my opinion, than both Feral and the EP. The songs are tighter, more dynamic. We’ve also got a lot of shows planned for summer. We will be playing Cincinnati, Dayton and hopefully Indiana and Kentucky this year.”
With a recently revamped website (meandmountains.com) fans can keep up with the band’s every step, which seems to have no indication of letting up.
“Our vinyl will be shipped on April 2nd, so everyone should have it by Record Store Day at the latest,” concludes Dixon. “We are playing Omega Music’s Record Store Day thing, and selling the new record that day. We will also be auctioning off a turntable along with our record on vinyl. We will be selling raffle tickets all day and announcing a winner the same day.”
Me and Mountains will perform on Saturday, March 31 at South Park Tavern, 1301 Wayne Ave. Also on the bill are Sleep Fleet and Dustin Smith. Doors at 9p.m. Admission is $5 for all ages. For more information, visit meandmountains.com.
Reach DCP Music Editor Kyle Melton at MusicEditor@DaytonCityPaper.com and read his blog at thebuddhaden/net.