Amer­i­cas reimag­ined

MU­SI­CIAN LUKE CARR PUSHES SOME BOUND­ARIES AROUND

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - Jen­nifer Levin I The New Mex­i­can

Lu­cas Carr’s Storm­ing the Beaches With Lo­gos in Hand storms the Rai­l­yard Per­for­mance Cen­ter

Storm­ing the Beaches With Lo­gos in Hand is an eight-mem­ber band with five drum­mers. It is also the name of the first al­bum recorded by the band, and it is the story be­ing told on the al­bum in the form of a sci-fi rock opera. Ac­cord­ing to song­writer and band­leader Luke Carr, the con­cept is a “re-hy­poth­e­sized fu­ture” in which Na­tive Amer­i­cans re­tained con­trol of what we know as the United States — called the Na­tive Union, or the North­ern Grace — and Euro­peans set­tled New Europe in what we know as Mex­ico. In this fu­ture, Santa Fe is a coastal re­gion. Eco­log­i­cal and mil­i­tary con­cerns prompt a boy and his fa­ther to flee New Europe for the North­ern Grace, and the al­bum’s sub­ti­tle, Southwick Howls, is the moniker Carr has as­signed to their jour­ney, the first episode of a much longer story. “It gets weirder. There are witches and an­cient crea­tures,” Carr told Pasatiempo in ad­vance of the re­lease party for the al­bum on Fri­day, April 24, at the Rai­l­yard Per­for­mance Cen­ter. It will be a rau­cous, mul­ti­me­dia event, with pro­jected images of Scout — a video pro­duced by Carr that de­buted last June at Santa Fe’s Cur­rents 2014 new me­dia fes­ti­val — and plenty of danc­ing. No shoes are al­lowed.

The phrase “storm­ing the beaches with lo­gos in hand” orig­i­nally came to Carr in a dream. He used it in a poem, which he sub­se­quently for­got about, run­ning across it a cou­ple of years later and form­ing a story around it. “I wasn’t sure what it meant. I feel like a lot of my art is let­ting things hap­pen and then decoding it all later,” he said. “The first mean­ing of the ‘lo­gos’ in the ti­tle for me was the cor­po­rate ideal, and brand­ing, but in the sense of dom­i­na­tion.” The as­so­ci­a­tions with a more clas­si­cal mean­ing of “lo­gos” — rea­son, judg­ment, or the word of God — are strong as well. The cover art for the vinyl LP (CDs are also avail­able for pur­chase) shows a fig­ure in a gas mask and mil­i­tary fa­tigues, walk­ing from the sea into a desert land­scape and car­ry­ing a staff with the band’s logo as its top. It calls to mind a brand­ing iron, a light­ning rod, or a mace. The mu­sic is heavy on per­cus­sion, pro­duc­ing a rous­ing, lay­ered sound that ebbs and flows, while Carr’s voice is joined by the ul­u­la­tions of Caitlin Broth­ers. Though the al­bum’s nar­ra­tive works in­de­pen­dently of the science-fic­tion story, taken to­gether they seem in­spired by the books of Mau­rice Sen­dak as trans­lated for film by Terry Gil­liam.

The mu­sic it­self doesn’t re­sem­ble any one band or style. Many of the riffs were writ­ten over years. “It was an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of tons of parts that I thought one day would be part of some­thing,” Carr said. He grew up on the East Coast and moved to Santa Fe about seven years ago. He grav­i­tates to a driv­ing, post-punk sound and cites his strong­est mu­si­cal in­flu­ences as At the Drive-In, an El Paso band that was the pre­cur­sor to the Mars Volta, and Fugazi, the post-hard­core band from Wash­ing­ton, D.C., that formed in the late 1980s. An­other fa­vorite band is Deer­hoof.“They’re un­be­liev­able,” Carr said. “They’d been my fa­vorite band for years, and who knows how the stars aligned, but I got to work with one of the mem­bers on my last CD, Pi­grow.” Deer­hoof gui­tarist John Di­eterich, who lives in Al­bu­querque, helped Carr pro­duce his well­re­ceived solo al­bum in 2013. Soon af­ter that, Carr played South by South­west in Austin.

“I was per­form­ing all the in­stru­ments my­self, play­ing gui­tar and a drum kit, singing, and loop­ing things at the same time. And it was just a re­ally lame show. It felt so generic in that set­ting — here’s an­other guy with a gui­tar do­ing this thing. I swore I was never go­ing to per­form solo again. I’ve al­ways had much big­ger sounds and ideas in my head. So I de­cided to throw my­self into this idea I had to cre­ate a re­ally big band with tons of drums.”

The cur­rent lineup of Storm­ing the Beaches fea­tures Carr on gui­tar, per­cus­sion, and vo­cals; Broth­ers on per­cus­sion and vo­cals; Will Dyar on drum kit; Peter Dug­gan on elec­tric bass; An­drew Tu­ma­son on per­cus­sion and vo­cals; and Max Kluger-Bell, Leti­cia Gon­za­les, and Adam Mar­shall Cook on per­cus­sion. Sev­eral other ac­com­plished lo­cal mu­si­cians play on the al­bum as well, in­clud­ing Char Roth­schild on trum­pet, Fred Simp­son on djembe and log drum, and Chris Jonas on sax­o­phone. “The whole idea when I started this was that it was a cel­e­bra­tion, although that kind of con­tra­dicts the story, which is kind of de­press­ing. Maybe the cel­e­bra­tion is in the chaos of the sit­u­a­tion.”

In ad­di­tion to its cur­rent in­car­na­tion as an al­bum, the record­ing of which was par­tially funded by an on­line Kick­starter cam­paign, Carr en­vi­sions a ver­sion of Storm­ing the Beaches With

Lo­gos in Hand as a graphic novel, though he’s not sure when that would hap­pen. Talk­ing about the story is a perplexing ac­tiv­ity for him be­cause it con­tains so many com­po­nents — which he sees evolv­ing over time. Some parts are more fleshed out than oth­ers. For in­stance, how did Na­tive Amer­i­cans come to con­trol the North­ern Grace? Was a war fought and won dur­ing Man­i­fest Des­tiny? Or did early Euro­pean ex­plo­ration sim­ply hap­pen dif­fer­ently?

“When I was writ­ing the pro­logue, I iden­ti­fied a few mo­ments in his­tory that could have been the turn­ing points, and then I de­cided that it wasn’t nec­es­sary. I wanted to give the story more time,” he said. “The mu­sic alone was so much work.” Carr, thirty, turns pen­sive when con­sid­er­ing the mag­ni­tude of the project he has cre­ated for him­self.

“I keep think­ing I’m a young mu­si­cian, and that one day I’m go­ing to make this thing. And then I hear about bands on the East Coast that are young, and who saw my band play when I was in high school — and they were so in­flu­enced that now they’re tour­ing Europe.” Storm­ing the Beaches plans to tour this sum­mer, be­gin­ning in July with a trip to the Un­der­ground Mu­sic Show­case in Den­ver and then on to the East Coast. “There’s al­ways go­ing to be a next step,” he said. “I’m ex­cited, be­cause I’m start­ing to think about the next episode. You know how you can em­bed gen­res in iTunes? Well, I don’t know what was hap­pen­ing when we did that, but some­how we’re called ‘post-pri­mal.’ I don’t re­ally know what that means, but I think it’s kind of start­ing in the mud — and it’s go­ing to get wilder.”

The whole idea when I started this was that it was a cel­e­bra­tion, although that kind of con­tra­dicts the story, which is kind of de­press­ing. Maybe the cel­e­bra­tion

is in the chaos of the sit­u­a­tion. — Luke Carr

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