Test Pressings 

We received and previewed the vinyl test pressings from the pressing plant. Everything is sounding spectacular, but there are a few issues that will require some adjustment by our friends at the plant. This means our physical copies of Years will be delayed a little, but you can look forward to the digital release coming soon! Pre-orders for Years will also be available here within the next few weeks.


 

The Equal Ground Review! 

Hey everybody!

The nice folks over at the independent music blog The Equal Ground reviewed Years, and had some really kind things to say!  Check out the review here.

Cool!

Meet Mendelssohn: Sarah Marker 

A few weeks ago, we introduced you to our first member, primary songwriter and lead singer, Jon Filkins; this week, you get to meet Jon’s wife and partner-in-crime, Sarah Marker:
A native of Grand Island, NE, Sarah got her musical start in the glitz and glamor of show choir. She’s since mostly put away her “jazz hands,” and adds a unique element to Mendelssohn’s guitar-driven sound with her vocal harmonies, melodic keyboard lines, and trumpet accents. Her time with Mendelssohn goes all the way back to the very beginning, when she and Jon decided to write a song while hanging out in their college dorm, a moment she still cites as a defining musical experience. More dorm room writing sessions followed, a band was formed, gigs were played, and a couple of years later, the two of them finally recognized the awkward romantic tension and started dating. Mendelssohn even performed at their wedding in 2014.

An avid sock-knitter, fly-fisher, and tap dancer, Sarah has also sang in two orchestral performances of the music from the Final Fantasy video game series where she encountered the “most devoted fans I’ve ever seen.”

Sarah’s favorite track from Years is “So I Walk:”

“So I Walk is my favorite song for a lot of reasons (not just because I sing lead vocal!). It was the first song we wrote together after a long writing hiatus. It started with just a chorus Jon had written, and eventually we worked up to this 6 minute song. I really like the different harmonic play between all of the instruments. Everyone wrote their parts so sensitively, so nothing is ever buried. We all found these little pockets to place a riff in, like little sonic gifts carefully placed throughout the song. Every time I hear this song, I hear a new part. It's like unwrapping something new every time! Jon S has this sweet bass riff under the verse that none of us noticed until Larry Crane turned it up in the mix, and it gave the verse a whole new shape. My favorite harmonic moment happens in the last chorus, where everyone's playing, and Pete's solo just floats over the top and fits so well around the vocals. This song just ebbs and flows so well. It starts out pretty minimally, and builds to a chorus, then back down, then up again, then back down into this almost ethereal bridge that grows to a wall of sound, and the wave finally breaks with the last chorus. I think we captured the best possible performances from everyone in this recording. What a great way to end the record.” 

Listen to "So I Walk" in the music player below. And check out our IndieGoGo campaign to pre-order your copy of Years on vinyl or digital download.
 

Meet Mendelssohn: Pete Puczkowskyj 

This week we meet Peter Puczkowskyj, Mendelssohn's resident "cake-icer" as he was once eloquently described in the Elmhurst College newspaper in reference to that extra something he adds to the band. But really, Pete plays guitar. And wears nice vests:
Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Pete's musical origins began with a comment to his mother that he'd like to try playing the piano, which to a mother means piano lessons, of course! It took a few years of not practicing enough and complaining too much, but eventually he realized that music is pretty cool and convinced his parents to let him try guitar as well. Thus, Pete's cake icing skills were born. His guitar playing has even seen him share the stage with members of Maroon 5, although he didn't realize it at the time... he had just woken up from a nap.

Citing influences such as Joe Pass and Nels Cline, Pete brings a unique, jazz-inflected sound to our band. When playing with Mendelssohn, you might see him sliding smoothly around the guitar neck during a solo, using a cello bow to coax lush chords from an open-tuned 12-string, or using various effects and gadgets to mangle his tone into some serious sonic madness.

When he's not playing music, you might find Pete skiing, climbing rocks, floating a river, or catering to his slightly unhealthy obsession with air-cooled, vintage Volkswagens.

Pete's favorite track from Years is "It Drank Me Up:"

"From the very first mixtape recordings of this song to our final version, I love how raw and punky it sounds. After the guitar intro, Jake's volume-swell guitar line just smooths out the tone of the song, and the listener just has to buckle up and enjoy the ride. This song is also great because it has a vocal chorus that is damn catchy and fun to sing along to.

"I really enjoyed figuring out how to approach the guitar solo. It took a while to settle on a tone, and at first I wanted a reverse delay sound, but I just could not make it work. We ended up with this 'spacey jammy jazz' (say that ten times in a row) beginning. Then I just get to rock out in the pentatonic scale. I think in the end we got a pretty fun solo that I still like to quote or play verbatim."

Listen to "It Drank Me Up" in the music player below. And check out our IndieGoGo campaign to pre-order your copy of Years on vinyl or digital download.

Meet Mendelssohn: Jon Filkins 

Last week, we introduced you to one of Mendelssohn’s earliest members, Jake. This week you get to meet the first member: Jon Filkins. Jon is Mendelssohn’s primary songwriter and lyricist. When you listen to a Mendelssohn song and think “that was a really cool tune!” you have Jon to thank for it.

Growing up in Colorado and later Iowa, Jon started music early, banging on empty ice cream buckets; while he sings and plays guitar with Mendelssohn, Jon’s first musical love will always be percussion. After taking some piano lessons through grade school, he learned to play guitar to fulfill that peculiar Midwestern passion for writing songs about grain elevators and telephone wires.  He set up his first recording “studio” - two computer headset microphones taped to drumheads and plugged into a headphone splitter - and the rest, as they say, is history.  

When he’s not writing songs about mountains and trees, he likes to climb them and generally enjoys wandering around and getting lost in Montana.

Jon’s favorite track from Years is “Camp Song:”

“I wrote ‘Camp Song’ while Sarah and I were working as Boy Scout camp counselors in central Illinois during the summer of 2011.  It rained for weeks on end… Musically, a fingerpicked guitar line sets the foundation, with Jon (Strasheim)’s minimalist bassline and Sarah's electric piano chords guiding the tonality.  Meanwhile, Pete and Jake float alternating delicate and visceral guitar ornamentation and atmospheric feedback over top.  The end of the song climaxes to a thunderous wall of sound, prominently featuring Dan's drums, provoking a stormy, violent ambiance.”

Listen to “Camp Song” in the music player below. And check out our IndieGoGo campaign to pre-order your copy of Years on vinyl or digital download.

Music Video: Thursday 

This winter we filmed our first music video for our song "Thursday." We tracked this tune in the living room above our normal recording/practice space on a wintry afternoon. This video documents that process.
 

 
Like and comment at https://youtu.be/QRbFr02QraA

Meet Mendelssohn: Jake Whitecar 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be introducing you to the fine folks that make up our merry band of misfits and having them talk about their favorite track from our new album. First up is Jake Whitecar!



Jake has been with Mendelssohn almost from the very beginning, joining Jon and Sarah in 2008. He started off as our drummer, but after realizing that drums are hard, he moved on to other instruments and has been making weird noises in the corner of the stage ever since.

Jake grew up in the Detroit, MI area taking piano lessons from his mama like a good son. That is until he found his calling playing the drums after watching That Thing You Do way too many times as a second-grader.

When he’s playing with Mendelssohn, you might see Jake on the mandolin, banjo, or electric guitar, or playing with way too many buttons on various keyboards. He also just recently finished his Masters degree at the University of Montana in Music Composition and will be presenting a piece at the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US conference in March. But that doesn’t make him any less of a soulless ginger…

Jake’s favorite track from Years is “Watching All the Pastures:”

“When Pastures starts, you think it’s like this pretty little folk number with all this nice lyric imagery and Jon’s big acoustic sound with an open tuning. But when the band enters, all of a sudden it becomes so much bigger! By the time you hit the bridge, we have this great, almost glam rock guitar section. The mix that Larry Crane worked up on this track just blew us all away and really captures this classic vibe. We also got to work up this cool, noisy transition that segues into ‘Camp Song’ as the next track on the album.”

Listen to "Watching All the Pastures" in the music player below. And check out our IndieGoGo campaign to pre-order your copy of Years on vinyl or digital download.
 

Free Cycles!!! Yeah!!! 

We uploaded some photos from our very fun show at Free Cycles last Friday in the Photos section of the site.  Check 'em out!!!  Many, many thanks to all who came out, and also mega über thanks to our friends Wartime Blues and the SKURFS for rounding out the evening!  We had a blast.  We want to play more awesome shows like this one!  Help us out with this effort visiting us our IndieGoGo campaign HERE and preordering our new record, Years.

Videos! 

Hey all!  We're currently working on some videos for some of the tunes off our upcoming release. Here's the first one, "Little Sioux," which is also our NPR Tiny Desk Contest submission.  Enjoy!
 

Click here to view the video on YouTube
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