ACL Fest Saturday Interviews

ACL Fest Saturday Interviews
Photo by Mary Sledd

Sound Team

12:30pm, AMD stage

"I tried my best to keep it together for years," a solemn Matt Oliver confides. "But I guess a lot of things happen that can erode the structural integrity of something that's fragile to begin with."

After six years, local indie rockers Sound Team are throwing in the towel. The band was unceremoniously dropped from Capitol Records just five months after releasing their 2006 major label debut, Movie Monster. Shackled by crippling debt and down two band members – guitarist Sam Sanford dove into the art world, and keyboardist Michael Baird returned to school – the act's trajectory headed south.

Two weeks prior to singer/guitarist Oliver's announcement, he had planned to go back into the group's Big Orange studio with fellow songwriter and bassist Bill Baird, drummer Jordan Johns, keyboardist Gabe Pearlman, and newbie Will Patterson on percussion and keys. Oliver promised a more soulful sound, and while previous efforts nodded toward late-Seventies experimental pop, he talked instead about Booker T. & the MGs, Otis Redding, and Steve Cropper.

Despite the bad news, the Team's last show – another ACL first – will find Sound Team debuting new songs. The tape-echo drone remains but in the foreground. The vocal harmonies are blissful, and the songwriting, as heard on recent 12-inch single "Empty Rooms" b/w "Bedroom Walls," is crystalline.

"We're really vintage-recording enthusiasts," Oliver contends. "Bill likes to say you could hit a tin can, and it would sound good if you were inspired. But you better have a good microphone."

This isn't the absolute end: Oliver plans to record his songs, while Baird and Patterson both have solo projects in the works. Nevertheless, it's always painful to watch a comet explode. "Sometimes there's just nothing you can do," he shrugs. "That's been the hardest thing for me to learn."

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