Flood of op­ti­mism for a rainy kind of day

> Rainy Day Man­ual cel­e­brates the ‘good stuff’ with new EP

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - Music - By Mark Jor­dan

Spe­cial to The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

Hud­dled to­gether on a Mid­town back­yard pa­tio on what seems like the first sunny day in weeks, the mem­bers of lo­cal rock band Rainy Day Man­ual ex­plain the ori­gins of their name.

“There’s a cer­tain at­ti­tude present in Mem­phis; pes­simism is preva­lent in a lot of ar­eas,” says gui­tarist/vo­cal­ist Chris Faulkner, 26. “What our mu­sic does is try to en­cour­age those who are at­tached to that pes­simism and lift them. It’s a very lift­ing but in a more play­ful sort of way, not so gothic se­ri­ous. More like: Things can suck, but ev­ery­thing’s go­ing to be OK. And if you look hard enough, there’s some re­ally good stuff out there.”

Without looking too hard, one of those good things presents it­self this week­end with the release of Rainy Day Man­ual’s de­but EP, Vox A Copia. The band plays a show com­mem­o­rat­ing the release Satur­day at Neil’s Mu­sic Room. CDs of Vox A Copia will be for sale at the show, and five tracks are also avail­able now as pay-what-you-want down­loads through the band’s Web site, rainy­day­man­ual.com.

Rainy Day Man­ual started as a song­writ­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Faulkner and singer/gui­tarist/key­boardist Seth Hen­dricks in 2005.

The pair played as Four Square for a year be­fore they changed their name to Rainy Day Man­ual and be­gan re­cruit­ing other play­ers. They went through two dif­fer­ent rhythm sec­tions be­fore a mu­tual friend in­tro­duced them to bassist Keith Pounds and drum­mer Pre­ston Ross in 2007.

“We had a friend who rec­og­nized the kind of chem­istry we were looking for,” says Faulkner. “That was one of the things we were miss­ing with the first groups; per­sonal chem­istry as well as mu­si­cal chem­istry. The first prac­tice we knew we had work to do be­cause it flew to­gether so well.”

More than just chem­istry, the new rhythm sec­tion added a new sonic di­men­sion to the group. The songs of Faulkner and Hen­dricks tend to­ward the moody, navel-gaz­ing rock of bands like Ra­dio­head. But with the ad­di­tions of Ross and Pounds, both fans of more rhyth­mi­cally com­plex bands like 311 and the Red Hot Chili Pep­pers, the mu­sic be­came more en­gag­ing and fun.

“With ev­ery rhythm sec­tion we had to adapt out parts. We like to share the idea of the mu­sic with ev­ery­body, so ev­ery time we would change groups we would al­low them to have their in­put,” says Hen­dricks, 25. “What (Ross and Pounds) have brought is a groove to the mu­sic that had been miss­ing. We wanted to make mu­sic that had re­ally catchy melodies and good words and good chord struc­tures. But what they did was bring a groove to it that you could bob your head to. All of a sud­den, peo­ple started danc­ing.”

And in­creas­ingly, the main song­writ­ers have drawn their rhythm sec­tion into the writ­ing process as well.

“Orig­i­nally, they would just bring a song, and we would just play it, and it was usu­ally a song they’d al­ready played with some­one else,” says Pounds, 28. “Now when we write, some­body brings an idea, and we all four sit down and say: This part would be cool here. What if we switch this here or move this here? And then I’ll add a bass line, or Pre­ston will come up with a cool drum­beat. And then it’s like, OK, let’s base it around that.”

The band mem­bers spent La­bor Day week­end holed up in Fayet­teville, Ark., work­ing on new songs for what they see as the next in a se­ries of EPs lead­ing up to their first full-length al­bum next year.

“I like the new songs a lot,” says Ross, 26. “We play a lot of melodic, space-fill­ing stuff, and this is just boom, in-your-face, just at­tack right from the get-go. That’s kind of a good thing to have.”

Blues City Café:

Rainy Day Man­ual is Seth Hen­dricks (left), Chris Faulkner, Pre­ston Ross and Keith Pounds. They cel­e­brate the release of de­but EP “Vox a Copia” Satur­day at Neil’s.

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