Though Shadows of Jets just released their debut album, a brilliant slice of “divorce pop” (to apply the term coined by Son of Stan’s Jordan Richardson for melancholy, sumptuous yet subdued rock), they started recording it about two years ago. In a way, SOJ mastermind Taylor Tatsch built an entire studio just for the album.
Tatsch, a veteran sideman (Little Black Dress, Maren Morris, The Bright) and producer, spent 2002 through 2006 twiddling knobs at Bass Propulsion Laboratories, the Dallas institution founded and operated by brothers Todd and Toby Pipes (Deep Blue Something) that shut its doors last year. In 2011, after Tatsch had written most of the material that would become Shadows of Jets, he realized he missed having his own studio. He jumped at the opportunity to take over a space in Colleyville.
“I was always drawn to the music in Fort Worth and was really excited to get to move into the area when I had the chance,” he said. “I feel Fort Worth has the best music community in the Metroplex. It isn’t about a clique or a genre. Everyone goes out to see everyone else, and I never hear a bad word spoken about anyone. You can walk into any club to watch a show, and chances are the other Fort Worth musicians are there if they themselves aren’t playing.”
At his new space AudioStyles, Tatsch has already worked with Fort Worth’s Un Chien and Sean Russell, Dallas’ Ronnie Fauss and Here Holy Spain, and former-Arlingtonian-now-Nashvillean Maren Morris, among others. Of course he also did Shadows of Jets there. “I had built the studio with the attitude of, ‘Well, I’d rather spend the money it would take to record an album and just build a studio so that I have a job afterward,’ ” he said, “so as soon as I got up and running, my first sessions were for my own stuff.”
Tatsch had never ventured out on his own before. “I had been a sideman for a long time and felt it was time to do an album,” he said. A big influence was bassist Graham Smith, who also played in Morris’ band. Smith, Tatsch said, “had expressed a lot of interest in doing some original music” and ended up being “very integral to the sound of the SOJ record.”
With drummers Jared Shotwell (They Were Stars) and Brandon Lozano, Tatsch and Smith pumped out 10 top-to-bottom solid pop-rock songs, with beautiful melodies, wistful lyrics, and — because we’re in Texas — some ragged edges.
Tatsch worked on the album during his off hours but eventually realized he had to just put it out. Now he and Smith are planning shows with two new guys, who just happen to be two of the best in the biz: Orbans guitarist Kenny Hollingsworth and Burning Hotels drummer Mike Ratliff. Shadows of Jets’ debut show, which will also be their album release party, is Friday, Oct. 25, at Lola’s Saloon (2736 W. 6th St., 817-877-0666). “The main goal of SOJ, short term, would be to play great sets and be something that people would turn their heads and listen to, whether they are listening live or off the record,” Tatsch said. “Long term, I would have to admit that world domination is in our sights, but that requires a lot of firepower.”
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