Louisville, Kentucky’s State Champion has nailed its third full length Fantasy Error, due out this month on the local Sophomore Lounge stamp. Ryan Davis wears many hats. Balancing the label, booking shows, not to mention heading up the main talent on said label. The band has outdone itself by means of content, quality, and production. Fantasy Error is nothing if not a raucous voyage captained by the band’s lo-fi, indie, folk-punk. All neatly percussed and rode like a rogue wave by slack jawed fiddle fills and Davis’ rag tag, hobo poetry. It’s not Roger Miller-esque phonetic exercises in non-sense but phrases that seem to fit like a jig saw puzzle missing the last 13 pieces. Only every other listen finds you another half a piece -- blue collar, fast paced stories that entertain like a book read that can flat out rock and roll. A finished product equally beautiful missing a few pieces as completely assembled.
Recorded at Paul Oldham’s now leveled Rove studio formerly located at his farmhouse in Shelbyville, Kentucky in the early summer of 2014, Fantasy Error echoes the haunts past recorded in that domicile. Palace, early Bonny Billy, a Will Oldham solo record, whatever other creative moniker the brothers Oldham may have concocted through the years still jostling through the catacombs in the form of roof rafters.
State Champion champions a third long player that’s hands down one of the best records of 2015. Obtusely original and creative, a cohesive smattering of tastes and rock sensibility captured in the perfect setting at the perfect time. Haunting vocals and harmonies distilled with a cacophony of crickets and locusts creating a perfect storm of punk power chords, fiddlly folk, and poetry. I sit anticipatory of the release if only to watch the wave grow. If there’s not more attention to this band after this release then our conglomerate new model of DIY recording, releasing, promoting, managing, hell, living is distastefully off course. At this point there may be more good music than there are astute outlets able to get it to your hearing bones.
From “Highlight Reel Front Porch” where the, “highlights are the best and the worst”, to the blissfull power chords of “No Pleasure”, there’s not a miss on this record. “Sunbathing I and II” highlighting Davis’ heightened lyrical sensibilities and cow punk anthem “Wake Me Up”, where the snare drum hits you like a punch in the face after a quadruple espresso. Louisville is a proverbial music town where the creativity runs like a marathon. One foot in front of the other until it’s over; you can still smell the gun powder from the starting gun for State Champion, stay tuned.
(+words: scott zuppardo+)
(As featured at No Depression 5/15/15)