Smile Politely

An earth-shaking debut from Earthholder

Champaign-Urbana is no stranger to interesting, diverse, and inspired works of musical talent. In an area so entrenched in musical energy and inspiration it can be difficult to really point to a specific artist, band, or act who really grabs your attention, tell other people, “This shit right here man! This is some good stuff!” and get people to listen. Fortunately for local instrumental post-rockers Earthholder it becomes a little easier, because god dammit are they loud in the best way.

While Earthholder are still making a name for themselves as a new band around C-U, they’ve managed to put together an enthralling cluster of songs on their new EP don’t worry, we feel it too and they’re a great representation of their style. Though made up of only three members, Earthholder manage to bring a tidal wall of force to their style of music. An instrumental mix of guitar, bass, and drums, they strike a balance between ringing your ears like the neck of an enemy and embarking on a journey into a twilit meadow. It’s a fusion that focuses primarily on the ebb and flow of not only volume but the emotion behind their music, creating straining tension and then releasing it in a colossal wave of sound.

The overwhelming nature of the band is strikingly clear on we feel it too from the onset. The EP’s opening track, “Welcome Friends”, begins with hauntingly ethereal guitar tones and quickly adds a grinding bass track, ultimately culminating in one of the grooviest and most engaging riffs on the album. Further along, their fourth track, “All We Do is Win”, is a thunderous launch of steady, open chords and the expansive tone that characterizes the album. Yet that heavy nature is never truly absent from the record, and as it plays through the bands exploration of that space is particularly alluring. The final track, “Jazz”, leads with spacious and drawn out chords that echo like a distantly passing train. As the track continues to evolve, this exposed sense of wonder becomes a tension that suddenly breaks into a headlong gallop. Yet even that grappling assault wanes towards the sense of enriched and open tones at the song’s beginning only to break free again. This sense of swell and decline is a continuous and defining feature of the EP.

That ebb and flow is one of my favorite characteristics of the post rock/post metal genre that Earthholder explore in we feel it too. They focus primariy on songwriting which can be incredibly difficul when conveying an emotion or concept entirely through an instrument. 

While speaking with bassist Orie Turnbull about the album it became clear that they take quite a bit of care with the music they’re creating. “We knew we wanting to take a DIY approach at recording, not only for financial reasons, but for the ability to really be a part of each song’s history from being just a rough idea to the final product that gets released.  There’s a lot of personal satisfaction to me that comes from knowing that we recorded this EP mostly within our own means.” Say what you will about recording in garages and basements but the production of the music on this EP is well crafted considering the bass and drums were tracked in a living room and the guitars were recorded in a bedroom.

Earthholder will be playing a CD/EP release show for don’t worry, we feel it too Friday night (May 6th) at Mike N Molly’s with locals Take Care, Rings from Peoria, and The Saturday Giant out of Columbus, OH. This will be the penultimate Mike and Molly’s show and is sure to be one you don’t want to miss. 

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