The Case of the Primal Institution

The new case immediately feels bigger. Bigger band, obviously. Bigger scene, so more story to tell. But also a bigger responsibility. I’ll keep that abstract for now, as it’s something that needs multiple hours of conversation, along with new guest voices and perspectives, if we’re really going to approach this in earnest. But you read a sprawling epic like “Meet Me In The Bathroom” and you have people like Christian Joy — who designed Karen O’s stage looks — saying that “Karen was our fearless leader.” So you can see how one would feel a bit of pressure discussing such a figure.

In our first look at the case, we simply try to set a base. What’s the core origin story? In these early, early songs, what kind of groundwork is laid for fast approaching, landmark work?

This is Stereo Confidential 008, The Case of the Primal Institution. 

The Case of the K.M. Tapes

A listener calls in a case about a fake album leak.

We officially open shop on a Sunday morning, picking through possible cases, clearing the red from the blinking answering machine. Having just cleared a 2-month investigation, we were excited just to talk about something OTHER than Florida indie-rock. And the one that sticks out to us has both a mystery to solve, but also room for a greater discussion on topics like illegal downloading, MTV News, and if the German and Seattle accents are more similar than you’d expect. While the former is a pretty quick "case closed," the latter is probably a discussion that could go on for days.

This is Stereo Confidential 007, The case of the K.M. Tapes.

Copeland — Blushing

The final part of our Copeland miniseries. We investigate the 2019 album, "Blushing."

To close the case, we gathered, partially beaten down by 5 hours of emotional catharsis. Well, it’s 4 hours and 52 minutes if we’re being exact with the combined length of the 6 Copeland full length records. This experience was not without significant reward though. And to close the case, and to maximize a newfound appreciation of just what this Militia Group, to Columbia Records, to Tooth and Nail outfit was able to accomplish, we needed to pull in a local expert and a bunch more pages of detailed, lengthy notes. 

This is Stereo Confidential 006: The Case of the Surrounding Shadow.

Copeland — Ixora

Part 5 of our Copeland miniseries. We investigate the 2014 record, “Ixora.”

A band departs...under the burden of modern day music economics, away from the stressors of constant touring. But their fanbase never seems to quiet, rallying to a side project and that project’s Kickstarter, reigniting the flame. So 6 years after their "final record," our Florida indie-rock, and now I’d likely say indie-pop, band returns. When we arrive at that stage in our investigation, we discover that time does indeed alter perception. And what we find is a reunion record that plays much differently within a binge.

This is Stereo Confidential 005, The Case of the Steady Drum.

Copeland -- You Are My Sunshine

Part 4 of our Copeland miniseries. We investigate the 2008 record, “You Are My Sunshine.”

“You Are My Sunshine,” a song first recorded in 1939, closes each chorus with the line, “Please don’t take my sunshine away.” And while yes, it’s actually a feeling that pervades most of the song, there’s a sadness to that repeating sentiment. That request always lurking in the distance. Simply put, it’s a happy song that is secretly pretty sad.

There’s a similar dichotomy at play in Copeland’s 2008 album of the same name. While the soundscape initially brings you somewhere dreamlike, the underbelly is a bit more complicated. We entered the back half of Copeland’s discography here, looking for a bounce back effort, a highlight before a hiatus.
This is Stereo Confidential 004, The Case of The Colorless Night.

Copeland -- Eat, Sleep, Repeat

Part 3 of our Copeland miniseries. We investigate the 2006 record, “Eat, Sleep, Repeat.”

When we sit down to look at "Eat, Sleep, Repeat," the third step in our six Copeland episodes, a majority of the investigators, plus our trusty producer, sit in record-breaking freezing temperatures. A polar vortex, they call it. And along with shutting down major cities, it serves to make everyone a little stir crazy. Not to spoil, but maybe that contributes to the reception here. Or maybe this album truly is an in-between, a to-be-continued, a readjustment that sits with better times ahead, in an experiment such as this. This is Stereo Confidential 003, The Case of Cheekbone Hill.

Copeland -- In Motion

Part 2 of our Copeland miniseries. We investigate the 2005 record, “In Motion.”

10 years after the fact, a band talks about a record. And while not totally trashing it, the frontman is dubious about whatever the band’s aims were at the time. Saying Copeland was “too concerned with making the perfect commercial record,” Aaron Marsh describes the creative environment as one of pressure, as one of chart chasing. That’s where we found ourselves on the second stop of the investigation...throwing out terms like commercialization, Coldplay and even the dreaded...sellout. This is Stereo Confidential 002, The Case of the Confused Tether.