Out of all the albums I have listened to over the years, I have noticed there is always one thing that makes a band really stand out. The rhythm section. Blind Pilot’s sound is so effortless that it’s easy to lose sight of the spectacular work of rhythm section. The backbone of Blind Pilot, led by founding members Ryan Dobrowski’s slamming bass drum and singer and songwriter Israel Nebeker’s lyrics make it easy to get lost the bands 2009 debut, 3 Rounds and Sound.
In a past interview, Nebeker spoke about writing the previous album, “When I wrote most of 3 Rounds and a Sound, I was listening to a whole lot of Neutral Milk Hotel and Joanna Newsom.” While you might think, “Huh, Blind Pilot, acid-folk?” Your right, there not, but sonically you can notice the influences Blind Pilot takes from Jeff Mangum and company. For instance, the opening track, “Oviedo” features a droning accordion, with orchestration that doesn’t take away from the bands, simple, singer-songwriter folk sound.
The bands debut, 3 Rounds and a Sound, isn’t actually about boxing, or whiskey, or anything else your mind is thinking.
“The expression is actually a traditional Chinese phrase, which I thought was apt because of the importance of the bicycle in China. People rely very heavily on them. The expression is something you say to a newly wed couple. They represent the necessities you need in life: a round bike wheel, a round clock face, a round spool of thread and the sound of a radio. You need to have all of these essential needs met in order to get married.” Nebeker said in a recent interview.
The Portland natives have added more members to the band since there formation. (From 2 to 9 members, wow) It wasn’t an easy road getting to where they are now. literally. Being from Portland the duo was highly influenced by the green-movement and the ever growing cycling community. That being said, the bands very first tour was actually embarked on not by planes, trains, or automobiles, but by bicycle. Yes, bicycles. Being scared yet eager to find out what was going to happen with both their souls and new music, the duo set out on a tour of the west coast. The bike tour decision was actually how the band came up with their name. The duo were flying blind, adventuring into the unknown.
From stolen bikes to near death experiences on the historic Highway 1, the band survived the first bike tour, but it wasn’t the last. Over the past couple years, the band has opened up for bands like The Decemberists, Longhorn Slim, Gomez, The Counting Crows, and Death Cab For Cutie. Also, the band has appeared at Lollapalooza, The Dave Matthews Caravan Tour, Austin City Limits, SXSW, and Sasquatch.
Be on the lookout for the bands 2011 release We Are the Tide, due out on September 13th.
I assume the band has graduated from bikes to vans for their upcoming fall tour. I highly doubt they will be cycling all the way to Dallas from Portland. Did I say Dallas? Yes I did. Blind Pilot will headline the Granada Theater on Thursday, October 6th. Also, the night will be even that much more special because we will be celebrating the Granada’s 7th Anniversary. For real this time.