One of my favorite songs of 2010, EPIC RUINS’ “Child and Cobra,” has been remixed out the wazoo by Spirit Animal, a project helmed by former Los Angelino and current Marylandian/New Yawker Steve Cooper, who’s remixed tracks by indie heavy-hitters Yeasayer and Jenny O, among others.

EpicWhereas the original is alternately bombastic and ethereal, the Spirit Animal version is spooky and slightly off-kilter, consisting mainly of Sam Anderson’s dusky vocals and the echoing click-and-clack of machine beats. Pretty spacey stuff. Spirit Animal and EPIC RUINS are connected via EPIC RUINS drummer and songwriter Jordan Richardson, who has been contributing to Spirit Animal projects since 2006. He’s been affiliated with them longer than he’s been holding down his main gig as drummer for mainstream indie-rocker Ben Harper and the Relentless7. Spirit Animal’s new album, The Cost of Living, features performing, writing, and production contributions from Richardson and also Relentless7 bassist Jesse Ingalls. To further reinforce the connections, Spirit Animal is playing a Big Apple show this week with Future People, a Maryland band that opened EPIC RUINS’ first show (September 2010, at Lola’s Saloon) and that also is a part of WizardVizion, a label/collective spearheaded by Richardson, Anderson, and EPIC RUINS bassist Steve Steward. “Needless to say, the world is growing increasingly smaller,” Richardson said. “The relationship and goals of WizardVizion and Spirit Animal and others from around the country are tightening everyday, and we are slowly and quietly trying to take the art world over –– or at least weird it out in a new way. 2011 is the year.” EPIC RUINS is more than just a band, Richardson has said. It’s an art project whose medium happens to be rock music. He, Anderson, Steward, and saxophonist Jeff Dazey are currently lining up a Dallas show and a “major event” in Fort Worth, Richardson said. They’re also developing an EPIC RUINS/WizardVizion app (shooting for a summer launch) and a film based on the band’s debut album (and my pick for best 817 album of 2010), Void Mariner and the Mystic Boogie of the Sacred Line. Perhaps most significantly, EPIC RUINS has begun the “research process,” Richardson said, for the next EPIC RUINS “concept.” “We’re trying to stray away from calling it ‘the next album,’ because we’re challenging ourselves to a more forward-thinking notion that moves what the band does beyond ‘making a record,’ ” Richardson said. “We call it ‘research process’ because we are treating it as if we are doctoral students working on a thesis: reading and listening to lots of different things that have to do with the narrative idea we’re developing. We want to work as hard as possible to make something as great as possible, so that takes some groundwork before we ever put pen to paper. We are trying to be the best band.” The Spirit Animal remix of “Child and Cobra” is available for free download at “Steve Cooper, or Spirit Animal, is one of the hungriest and most talented wheels spinning out there today, and we hope to keep creating and collaborating with him,” Richardson said. “As long as EPIC RUINS can keep putting it out, then we want Steve Cooper and Spirit Animal to keep fucking it up –– in the coolest possible way.”

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