Going to local shows (or even listening to KXT), you might think that smart, highly polished indie-rock has been around North Texas forever –– Calhoun, The Orbans, Ice Eater, The Unlikely Candidates, and Un Chien seem to be everywhere. But in the mid-aughts, progressive and smooth rock ’n’ roll was something of a novelty. All we really had were Calhoun (natch), Black Tie Dynasty, John Price, and one band that could have risen to Calhoun-like proportions if life hadn’t intervened.
Or if the frontman hadn’t been such a slacker.
Pumping out a ragged yet pristine species of loud, swirling, and highly melodic rock a la Secret Machines (from Dallas, natch), Stumptone, still one of my all-time favorite local acts, was never really a hot ticket, but the band led by singer-songwriter Chris Plavidal would have stood out even in a crowd of Calhouns, Orbans, et al.
And then Stumptone sorta, kinda faded away. But three years ago, Plavidal and his original bandmates –– multi-instrumentalist/backing vocalist Peter Salisbury, drummer Mike Throneberry, and guitarist Frank Cervantez –– started recording the follow-up to their 2008 sophomore album, Gravity Suddenly Released, and 2000 eponymous debut album at The Echo Lab in Argyle. Co-produced by the band and David Willingham, Adventures in Magnetism is being mixed as we speak. Plavidal hopes to release the album, on vinyl, in the fall. He’s also planning a series of special releases, starting with a 20-year-old long-player by a former project, MK Ultra.
As part of making Stumptone viable again, Plavidal has started performing live regularly. His next gig is Monday at Lola’s Saloon (2736 W. 6th St., 817-877-0666), opening for New Fumes, Linear Downfall, and Cervantez’ Wire Nest. As with his previous two recent shows, his Lola’s concert will be just him and drummer Throneberry. Stumptone fans, he said, can expect to hear “lots of new music.”
A full-on Stumptone show is in the works, he added.
But why Stumptone and why now?
“It’s just simply time,” he said. “Right now, for me, it just doesn’t make sense not to be playing out as much as possible.”
Plavidal is honest about the long hiatus: “The length between releases and playing regularly is a result of being a ridiculously meticulous perfectionist and at the same time a completely bona fide, credentialed slacker. There’s something epic about moving at tectonic speed.”
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