a squirrel + crow company

SRR001

STEVEN DAYVID MCKELLAR

ETHIO

email syncteam@terrorbird.com for instrumentals, stems, clearance, and licensing inquiries.

Written, recorded, and performed by Steven Dayvid McKellar 

Mixed by Micah Tawlks at Peptalk Studio 

Mastered by Philip Shaw Bova 

Mastered for vinyl by Dave Gardner at Infrasonic Mastering 

Album artwork by Steven Dayvid McKellar 

Executive Production, A&R, and Design by Toddrick Spalding 

 

℗ 2020 Steven Dayvid Mckellar all rights reserved under exclusive license to

Sonic Ritual Recordings, LLC 

© 2020 St. Vrain Songs (ASCAP) administered by Moraine Music Group, LLC

By the time musician and painter Steven Dayvid McKellar had transferred to paper the host of ideas, images and phrases that would become "ETHIO," he'd filled a wall of his writing room with yellow Post-It notes. As if plotting out some vast conspiracy, he'd profiled a set of characters, placed them in uniquely American settings, commenced drawing connections. 

 

McKellar's solo debut after establishing himself as founder of the acclaimed rock band Civil Twilight, "ETHIO" is a kind of musical manifestation of his conclusions. A streamlined set of songs driven by warm, precisely arranged synthetic and acoustic tones, its eight songs celebrate not only melody and rhythm, but the space and silence among the measures. 

In the winter of 2019, McKellar and his wife had just touched down at JFK after a half year in Paris. From an ocean away, it had been easy to 
respond to American politics with chuckles of disbelief. It was concerning, but in the abstract. Then, as if piercing some portal, the artist, who is South African, says he "stood in the passport line at JFK and observed with new eyes the America I was returning to.” It wasn’tpretty. 

Back at the McKellars' adopted home of Nashville, Steven scribbled on the Post-It wall of his studio. When McKellar surveyed what he'd crafted, he says, "I saw a neighborhood -- eight individuals, young and old, from all walks of life, seemingly unrelated yet tied together by a mutual frustration, alienation, disappointment, dashed expectations and broken promises. And I was right there among them." 

Lyrics angled for attention. He wrote of mysterious goos "oozing through the soil," of "angry spirits that curse that land," of "Hot Wheels on the freeway," of a capitalist character, driven by greed, stripping America for its parts eager to "rape it, he’ll scrape it, he’ll take it with nothing to spare." It was a harsh landscape, but also incredibly hopeful, filled with characters who, "with all their churning, acid emotion, were proof of something. Proof of life." 

McKellar earned his first attention as the founder, singer and principal songwriter of Civil Twilight, whose acclaimed trio of albums starting in 
2010 propelled tours performing with Florence + The Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Silversun Pickups, Jimmy Eat World and more. In 2016, Civil Twilight (which also features McKellar's brother Andrew) announced it was going on hiatus. 

Nearly four years later: "ETHIO." Written, recorded and performed by McKellar, it's an album as striking for its musicality as for its lyricism. Songs pulse and hum, driven by a sonic palette that's as precisely arranged as his writing. 

We're bombarded with big questions daily: What does it mean to be a moral person in an increasingly immoral system? What, exactly, is 
patriotism? Who are "The People," and how can the powerful so easily to divide them? With "ETHIO," Steven Dayvid McKellar tangles with these ideas and more. The result is a singular work, one that, both musically and lyrically, captures the essential confusion of our times.  

SRR002

ULTIMATE FAKEBOOK

THE PRESERVING MACHINE

email syncteam@terrorbird.com for instrumentals, stems, clearance, and licensing inquiries.

Performed by Bill McShane, Nick Colby, and Eric Melin 
Mixed by Jamie Woolford 
Recorded by Ed Rose, Bill McShane, and Steve Squire 
Drums and Bass Recorded at Fire 'N' Ice Studios, Baldwin City KS  
Mastered by Dan Coutant at Sunroom Audio 
Mastered for vinyl by Dave Gardner at Infrasonic Mastering 
Produced by Bill McShane 
Co-Produced by Eric Melin and Jamie Woolford 
Executive Production, A&R, and Design by Toddrick Spalding 
Artwork by Moon_Patrol   
Guitar solo on "After Hours At Melin's" performed by Jamie Woolford 
Additional Background Vocals on "Manhattan KS" and "Sequel" by Jamie Woolford 
All songs written by William McShane (ASCAP) 
REAL DRUMS FOREVER. 

©️ 2020 ultimate fakebook all rights reserved 
under exclusive license to sonic ritual recordings, llc 

Note to readers: Ultimate Fakebook's first album of new material in 16 years, "The Preserving Machine," contains a number of references. 
Before continuing, please take time to familiarize yourself with at least some of the following terms and phrases: VHS tapes. iMacs. Neil Hamburger. Manhattan KS! "Mr. Show." Air guitar. "I Get Wet." “Across the Universe." Superdrag. The decline of the American empire. “Dinosaurs and dresses, princesses and weapons." Children. MTV and "motherfucking MP3s.” Manhattan KS! 1982. “Spring Breakers.” Hope. Paella. Despair. "The Rain Song." Melvins. KISS "Alive" and "Alive II." Virtual amps, virtual bands, MIDI and USB drives. Manhattan KS! "Smell the Glove." "Freaks and Geeks." Beatles or Stones? Manhattan KS! 

Like its gymnastically explosive guitar rock songs and lyrical spins, Ultimate Fakebook in its two-and-a-half decades and five albums have leapt through a series of white-hot moments that, when experienced as whole, come off as undeniably well-plotted. That they're back now with their fifth full-length, "The Preserving Machine," feels preordained. The album, which comes out via Sonic Ritual in April, eloquently conveys both the celebratory nature of making loud, smart, hook-heavy songs, as well as the daily challenges of living during a time when so much seems at stake. 

Ultimate Fakebook was born as a trio in Manhattan, Kansas through a mutual love for Guided by Voices, Cheap Trick and the Replacements 
during the fertile post-grunge, pre-emo mid-1990s. Founding members Bill McShane (guitar, vocals) and Nick Colby (bass), along with longtime 
drummer Eric Melin, created three acclaimed albums over a six-year period starting in 1997 (including 2000's "This Will Be Laughing Week" for 550/Epic Records). Along the way, the band sharpened its sound and ideals during tours with artists including At the Drive In, Fallout Boy, Motion City Soundtrack, Nada Surf and the Get Up Kids. They broke up in 2004 but never lost touch, reuniting every now and then for a sporadic benefit concert or live show. In 2019, pop-punk legends the Descendents invited UFB on a Midwest run of dates. 

To say those gigs went well is an understatement. As exhibited on "The Preserving Machine," all that mileage, all those semi-regular jerks and 
jolts, sound precisely planned. Produced by McShane with Melin and The Stereo's Jamie Woolford, the album was recorded by McShane with help from longtime producer and Kansas legend Ed Rose (Touche Amore, The Appleseed Cast) and Steve Squire. "I’m 45 and still alive -- what can I say?," wonders McShane during "My Music Industry," a song that's both an indictment of a dying business 
and a smart-assed ode to Bandcamp: "My industry's on fire," he sings. Another track, "Manhattan KS," sells the band's hometown one local 
reference at a time. On the wildly catchy "After Hours at Melin's," UFB documents a night at drummer (and 2013 World Air Guitar Champion) Eric Melin's place. McShane joyously sings about lessons learned during drunken binge-watches and listening sessions with their bandmate, who in 2007 competed in VH1's "World Series of Pop Culture." 

Just because a band splits doesn't mean the muse quits. Across these songs, McShane's as sharp as he is observant. With him, Colby and 
Melin unite punk rock, power pop, post-punk, and emo with a seamless ease, each of the 11 tracks lock into a structure through a combination 
of sweat and divinity. One listen will hook you. By the third listen, you'll be consumed.