Saturday, August 30, 2008

[Ex]Band of the Week: Some By Sea

Some By Sea
Sounds Like: Orchestral Rock
Drinking Buddies: The Decemberists, The Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie

Synopsis: Impassioned orchestral rock with a full, rounded sound.

Makes You Want To...: Play music; Be artistic; Sing!
Evolved Into:


This month is one of old and new.
Voilà! is featuring bands that have broken up.
This week, the featured artist is Some By Sea.

As was discussed last week, the breakup of a band is not uncommon. In fact, it's eerily frequent if you really watch bands on a wide scale. It's hard to make it in the contemporary music industry. We may not often notice bands falling off the map, but it happens quite often. Take Blink-182 for example; I didn't realize that the trio had split up, as their label played it off to be an indefinite hiatus. Go figure. Between infighting, tensions with the genre or the art of making music, exhaustion from touring, or just a lack of inspiration, there are hundreds of reasons for bands to break up.

It's tough, on both the band and fans, when a group decides to call it quits. But it's especially hard when the band has barely got its feet off the ground, and the sky is the limit, when they decide to throw in the towel. Let me tell you a story about one of my favourite bands.

Their name was Some By Sea, and this humble quintet hailing from Tacoma, Washington, was a band of cheerful folks who had a lot of soul and a unique sound. They played a unique brand of orchestral rock, and mixed with the intriguing, inventive train-of-thought lyrical composition of frontman Chris DuBray, they found a loyal set of followers amongst the Seattle area. This is where it becomes a bit hard for me to describe something so unique and so gloriously soothing to the ears. Waves of sound from orchestral and electric weave, blend, and meld together with tales of the frank, and tales of the symbolic, all to form an extraordinarily one of a kind combination of expertly layered, effortlessly textured, infinitely superb music.

I'll be frank myself: I didn't find Some By Sea; they found me. One random Myspace message in 2005 has lead me to follow this band like a hawk, relishing in every single song they released. In that time, I saw them gain plenty of more fans, and even release their debut full-length album. They got rave reviews across the internet, comparing their lyrical styling to that of Death Cab for Cutie, while others touted their orchestral style to be similar to The Arcade Fire. Every song was better than the last, and every hint of news more exciting as they hopped the hurtles that all independent bands face.

Sadly, the days of Some By Sea came to a close in 2006. Chris DuBray later commented on the break up of Some By Sea in an interview with his next band, Ghosts & Liars. "It was more of a series of frustrating circumstances that lead me to decide I couldn't take it much longer. When we returned from our first On Fire! (Igloo) tour in April of 2006, we'd all stopped communicating to each other in any way that wasn't passive aggressive... Nothing that occurred from that point on ever felt 100 percent honest and healthy." With a lament to their endearing fans, they played out their last local shows, and parted ways.

Music wasn't out of the question for these folks. David Bilbrey has a record label now, Rural Wolf Records, and is currently a member of both Phantom Fireworks and Destruction Island. Chris DuBray and Rachel Bowman both moved on to form Ghosts & Liars quickly after Some By Sea; sadly, Ghosts & Liars has also retired as a band, breaking up in March of this year. But they still have a Myspace page, which features some of their excellent work. Rachel Lee Bowman has a solo project though, and has an album and some nifty demos on her Myspace. She also writes nifty entires in her personal blog all the time.

Some By Sea, of course, has a Myspace. They also have two EPs, The Saddest Christmas (which is officially sold out, folks... Ebay?), and Get Off The Ground If Your Scared, which you can probably find on Kringle Records. If you asked me to make a list of my all time favourite albums, Some By Sea's debut LP, On Fire!: Igloo, would definitely make the cut, released by SideCho Records, and is still for sale all over the place (like right here). If you asked me on a song suggestion, may I humbly recommend "Look What I Made Without Your Heart Getting In The Way" as - again - an all time favourite.

These folks were my first live concert, on the wet streets of a lowly St. Patrick's Day, on their last tour. Their music has inspired me when nothing else could. And Some By Sea is a group I will never forget.

1 comment:

Craig said...

If there is some chance you have the EP "Get Off the Ground if You're Scared" for sale I would love to purchase it.