Spotlight: The American Analog Set
1am, Blender Bar at the Ritz
As Mark Smith's brushes scratch the snare, Sean Ripple's vibes ring out, and Lee Gillespie's subtle low-end hums, American Analog Set slowly pulls the twilight out of the day. The Austin-based quintet, with keyboardist Craig McCaffery in Chicago and honey-sweet vocalist and guitarist Andrew Kenny in NYC, is an addictive aura of drowsy soundscapes.
Labelless for the first time in years, Tiger Style having ended the party two years ago, the decade-old band has an album in the can and fingers crossed for a fall release.
"Since we recorded everything ourselves, there was no sense in talking to anybody until it was done," explains Kenny.
Typically recording in Kenny's Austin home studio over the years, AmAnSet took it to a proper, Jackson, Miss., studio owned by Chris Michaels of Trance Syndicate old-schoolers Furry Things, for the first time with this album. But the Set isn't about to go it alone.
"It would just reek of desperation," Kenny grins. "I don't want to learn how to sell records. It's taken me this long to learn how to make a record. The other half of the equation is not a project that I need to be tackling at this stage in my life."
After leaving college the original reason for the Austin-to-New York move Kenny's dedicated most of his time to the daunting task of making an album that matches the glory of '99's The Golden Band or their most recent, '03's Promise of Love. Hopes are high, from both the band and its fans, that this sixth full-length will propel AmAnSet into another decade.
"I'll be in my late 30s," Kenny concedes, "and I don't know how long I should be doing this. There's just really no telling. It's too far in the future to tell. Right now, I can't see past getting this record out."