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Brooklyn's Oxford Collapse kick it indie-style

click to enlarge Happily In Shambles? Perhaps: The Oxford Collapse Guys swear they're not your typical 'Brooklyn indie-rock' (Mark Pace at far left)
  • Happily In Shambles? Perhaps: The Oxford Collapse Guys swear they're not your typical 'Brooklyn indie-rock' (Mark Pace at far left)

Oxford Collapse
w/ Chin Up Chin Up, The Fire Apes
Mon. Oct. 30
10 p.m.
$8
Village Tavern
1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.
884-6311
www.village-tavern.com
www.oxfordcollapse.com

Brooklyn rock trio Oxford Collapse say they started as a joke — out of simple, spontaneous indie-rock fun and bottomless enthusiasm. Five years after their first gig, they sure seem serious about their noisy fun these days ... serious enough to sign with a real record label and tour the country in a van for more than a week at a time.

This month, they celebrate the release of their Sub Pop Records debut, Remember the Night Parties (which follows 2004's Some Wilderness and '05's A Good Ground). The label calls it "melodic art-pop packed full of chiming guitars and shout-along vocals." Add a bit of Superchunk/Sebadoh-style carryin' on and a touch of Thurston Moore amp feedback, and it's pretty much on the money.

"We try to get across this kind of shambolic nature of things and keep it all interesting," says singer/guitarist Mike Pace, 27, speaking by phone from the van as he, bassist Adam Rizer, and drummer Dan Fetherston drive into Seattle for a gig at the Crocodile Café during the West Coast swing of a month-long tour. "At the same time, we want there to be some sort of hook and chorus for people to sing along to. All the things that we like. Maybe it's even more accessible and sounds better than our previous stuff. With Sub Pop involved and a bigger budget, we took the opportunity to take a shot and see what we could come up with."

Over the last two years, the band toured extensively with The Constantines, The Joggers, and Part Chimp. They convened in Brooklyn earlier this year at Headgear Studios in Brooklyn with engineer/producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, The Hold Steady) to lay down the tracks for Remember the Night Parties.

"All of us really enjoy searching out those early '80s bands who planted the seeds of indie-rock — especially three-pieces like Minutemen, Dinosaur Jr., Hüsker Dü, and those Boston bands like Mission of Burma and Volcano Suns," says Pace. "R.E.M. were a major influence, too. It was the bands who combined the aggression of punk rock while doing interesting things melodically and structure-wise; stuff that was, at its heart, pop music without being too avant-garde."

So many underground rock bands get into it with the idea of simply emulating their favorite indie bands. Few figure out how to apply their individual ideas to their sound. To Pace and the guys, the challenge of creating their own signature sound is at the heart of the fun.

"I think because of the way we write songs so democratically with equal say about everything, we've become better at figuring out what we want to do," says the guitarist. "We're still developing our style. We went into this record trying to write it as a record with a beginning, middle, and end and make it cohesive. We tried out different sounds and tracks, but were pretty clear on the idea of what we wanted to do. I wouldn't necessarily say that there are overarching themes, but I can say it's the story of a young protagonist who's, you know, going against the odds to overcome ...something [laughs]. Maybe that's the next record!"


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