Thursday, November 12, 2009

Get Elevated with Nonreturner's "The Nonreturner"

Yards and Gods recently announced the release party for its second can't-miss compilation, set for December 12 at Mojo's. To remind you just how great the bands on the Y and G label are, I've posted Nonreturner's entire album The Nonreturner below (with Zach and Michael's permission, of course).

I spent a good deal of time this past weekend listening to the album while riding my little-Schwinn-that-could to Rocheport to score a bottle of wine on wheels and enjoy fall's last powwow with indian summer. Nonreturner was a blissful opiate disguising the ache in my wimpy cycling legs and lifting me to a state of pedaling zen.

Who are these atmospheric mavens of melancholia? Nonreturner is Zach Biri and Michael Hopkins (the aforementioned "Zach and Michael" above), Logan Epps, and John-Paul McFarland. (Original member Zach Scott left both band and country to pursue a career in environmental law.)

If you're at all interested in Buddhism, you might know that a nonreturner is a partially enlightened soul one step from an arahant ("one who achieves full enlightenment"); a nonreturner is never reborn into this world but instead enters a state of nirvana in one of the "pure abodes." That's probably more Buddhist background than you care to know, but it does provide some insight into both band name and sound: Nonreturner's otherworldly music elevates you to an enlightened plain.

The Nonreturner opens with the moody "Awash," a drifting, ominous track with Radiohead waves lingering in its atmosphere. It paves the way for the fuzzy electronic OM of "The Horse and Buggy Days" and the meditative drone of "Black Clouds." The introspection breaks apart with "Sock Hops" and "Ex-Parte Til You Puke," two tracks suggestive of a Built to Spill reincarnation. "Agoraphobia" is a pulsating, menacing heartbeat breathing life into the following two tracks, "Wake Up Underwater" and "Mysterious Occurrence at the Ice Cream Social," which distort and swirl like the messy thoughts of My Bloody Valentine.  The album ends in a state of blissful nirvana with "Oh My My" and its ambient hidden track, achieving overall transcendence with a mindful awareness of pure sound. Without fully fleshing itself into a specific form or genre—it's a little bit ambient, a little bit shoegaze, a little bit indie-pop—, The Nonreturner reaches a sort of oneness with all music.

The Nonreturner:

1. "Awash"

2. "The Horse and Buggy Days"

3. "Black Clouds"

4. "Sockhops"

5. "Ex-Parte Til You Puke"

6. "Agoraphobia"

7. "Wake Up Underwater"

8. "A Mysterious Occurrence at the Ice Cream Social"

9. "Oh My My" (with hidden track?)

Meet the partially enlightened Nonreturner at the Yards and Gods second-compilation release party December 12 at Mojo's.

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