It's For Free Grace
Sean Smith & the Present Moment
James & Evander
9 p.m., $10
Caleb Nichols is often asked why he left Port O'Brien two years ago, right around the time the neo-folk outfit was getting quite a bit of attention. His answer is simple: He was tired and needed a break. But he wasn't done with music. When old friend and former Bloody Heads bandmate Jameson Swanagon moved to San Francisco, Nichols set up shop in Oakland with the intention of starting a band with him, and just three months after his exit from Port O'Brien, Grand Lake
was born. The quartet started turning heads last year with the release of EP Nevermint, and now it's celebrating the vinyl release of its first full-length, Blood Sea Dream
, with a show tonight at Cafe Du Nord.
The album contains all sorts of flavors, including Band of Horses twang, off-kilter alt-rock in the spirit of the Pixies, and Jeff Buckley's sweet emotion, making it one of the more diverse indie-rock recordings you'll hear this year. "People make albums and all the songs sound the same -- it's boring," Nichols says. "Our favorite records do different things within the record." He says his songwriting is influenced by people like the Pixies' Black Francis, Pavement's Stephen Malkmus, and Paul McCartney, but it isn't just the rock stuff that floats Grand Lake's boat: "We also draw a lot of inspiration from Erik Satie, Samuel Barber, John Fahey, Bill Frisell. These people's songs are just important to us as the rock songs."
Those interested in getting a preview of Blood Sea Dream before buying would be wise to check out Tuesday's show, which will find Grand Lake playing the album in its entirety. Besides, Nichols notes, playing live is "where the magic happens."