Advance Review and Artist Spotlight - Scarves
Scarves are a Seattle-based indie band who is about to drop a full-length album titled Dinner Dates for the End of Days. Regarding the album, the band's Niko Stathakopoulos stated "Dinner Dates For The End Of Days is a pre-apocalyptic record about how despite the fact sinner and saint shall both be cleansed by nuclear hellfire, love is still a worthwhile pursuit". Niko - Guitar/Vocals, Cael - Drums, Nessa -Bass. Their new album releases digitally and on vinyl through Good Eye Records on September 28. Check out our review of the new album and our interview with Scarves below!
Dinner Dates for the End of Days Review:
1. "Shelter" - This track has an interesting mix between indie tracks reminiscent of Modest Mouse and alt sounds of bands like Deathcab for Cutie. The leads particularly remind us of MM. This song comes right out of the gate roaring and reading to with an upbeat and steady melody that brings the listener in. This is a fantastic track for an opener on the LP.
2. "Collapse" - Brought in by an indie drum beat and melody. Scarves are quickly showing they are not playing by carving out a fun indie/alt sound that is pretty unique to them. Particularly with their uses of pause, isolated melodic guitar chords, booming percussion, and biting vocals. We could easily hear this song on XMU or AltNation with regular rotation, it's that catchy and fun.
3. "Crushed Ice" - Scarves slow it down a bit here, but still keep vocal stylings, this isn't a ballad. Evokes comps to bands like Built to Spill. The hook comes crushing in on this one like a ton of bricks and it is fantastic and picks up the melody and throws it through a window.
4. "No Names" - Fantastic guitar and vocal pairings here evoke indie comps to Built to Spill and Modest Mouse and we love it. Are Scarves the next great band in the fabled tree of influence that started with Dinosaur Jr.? (i.e. Dinosaur Jr. -> Built to Spill -> Modest Mouse -> Scarves). We feel they very much belong in this group, as it is a very unique sound that gets you there and Scarves has it.
5. "Arrow" - Has a garage rock influence to this song with the mix of drums and guitar, but it still sticks within their realm of sound. We have to be honest, we love what Scarves is doing here. There are layers of garage rock riffs, a lead that is very indie, and a steady beat of percussion, all of which that is tied together by fantastic vocal work.
6. "Sweet Tooth" - Scarves slows it down here again, but it is still upbeat and delivers again with the hook, both on guitar and the vocals. We get some nice harsh vocals that are reminiscent of Isaac Brock. The leads on this song really push the song.
7. "Muscles" - A slower track, but maintains a consistent melody throughout that carries the song extremely well. The lead guitars, drums, and vocals compliment one another extremely well. This song especially comps to some of Built to Spill's slower stuff. What a fantastic track, especially the use of the leads and vocals playing off one another and the use of the space in the song.
8. "You're Ugly Too" - The melody has picked up here, almost garage rock again, especially in the drums. But it still keeps that indie feel to it. There are some great breakdowns in the song that almost remind of Deathcab, particularly vocally. We love how these breakdowns play against the drums. The bridge in this song is fantastic, especially with the use of backing music, sounds like there is a faint organ in the background and it fits so well.
9. "Icarus" - An acoustic track that is isolated with vocals. A nice change of pace track.
10. "Dinner Dates" - The guitar in this track is absolutely fantastic and feels like it's an homage to Doug Martsch. We love everything about how this song comes together, vocals, percussion and guitar it fits like a glove. We dug the shifting of pitch and tone in the guitar (that happened simultaneously) in the hook in this track, it's hard to find this these days in indie music. Song picks up halfway through for a more chord driven melody that pairs well with the drums and vocals that also jump up.
Closing Thoughts - What an absolutely fantastic LP by this group! There was not a song on it that we were disappointed by! If you remotely call yourself an alt or indie fan, you need to get this. If you're a fan of bands like Built to Spill or Modest Mouse, you are sure to love this album. Again, the album releases digitally and on vinyl through Good Eye Records on September 28!
Rating - 5/5
Artist Spotlight 1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
I feel super lucky to have gotten into music the way I did. I grew up in Redmond right next to the Old Firehouse, a quirky little spot that due to the late 90’s dance ordinance in Seattle became one of the pivotal venues in West Coast Hardcore. Bands like the Blood Brothers, Waxwing and even Modest Mouse got theirs starts screaming into its busted PA. The staff there have always been so amazing and supportive, when they found out I was “into music” they pretty much forced me to start a band and start playing shows, which was pretty surreal given the places lineage. I’ve been playing ever since, so a little over 10 years now. 2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
“My” process more often than not falls more into an “Us” process. Most Scarves songs start off as guitar doodles in my bedroom, just a series of notes that could be arguably considered a ‘riff’. I think of them more as ore. I then bring those ‘ores’ to our practice space and hammer them out with the band. In my mind our drummer, Ceal, is sort of a rhythmic blacksmith, he has this ability to just hear how a part should flow both in beat and tempo and then bang it out. It’s honestly wild to see how refines those ideas into these bizarre patterns I would have never thought of. Nessa, they are just a structure genius. I can bring them any weird series of parts and they will structure it into a perfect little package and then write the most gorgeous guitar and vocal harmonies to tie it all together. After that’s done I just listen to our iPhone demos while driving over and over again until the little mumbles I do over them turn into words. 3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
The big one has always been the Weakerthans. I adore John K. Samson’s writing to no end and gee whiz is the band tight. I know the lyrics are always the go to topic when talking about that band but every player in that group is top notch. Seriously just listen to the drums ideas in “A New Name for Everything” and then try and show me a more interesting and tasteful drummer than Jason Tait. Also, as a kid who grew up on the Eastside of King County I will forever and always be in the shadow of Modest Mouse. 4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
A couple of years ago I bought this whacked out vintage Fender Mustang from a woman on craigslist that I sometimes get emotional about when I am drunk. It was modded to no end and has this cool Seymor Duncan coil tap setup that gives it a huge range of tones. It’s the only guitar I played on Dinner Dates. 5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
Our shows are usually pretty raucous. I like to take a lot from my Greek heritage and sort of play the role of a bouzouki dancer, a lot of wild and angular movement. I would break plates if my hands were holding a guitar. Everyone in the band exudes energy and we really hope that spills out into the crowd. Don’t get me wrong, the players are still tight as hell -- we practice a ton so we can get that off the cuff vibe just right. We love any venue that mixes the drums real big. The Cael hits his bass drum as hard as a college freshman hits their vape pen and we like that to show.
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
Just that it was so fun to make! The record is really dark and deals with a lot of themes that are both personally and globally apocalyptic and I think it would be easy to assume we are dire people. We aren’t! Really, we are a pretty fun group and as much as I love positing the end of the world I would also love nothing more than to talk to you about what decks are probably going to be viable in the new Pokemon Trading Card format! We loved making this thing, the weekends we recorded it were some of the most fun days of my life. 7. Do you have any upcoming projects you would like fans to know about?
Nessa has a really amazing record coming out next year called “Nerium Oleander” and we are slowly working on more Scarves music. Mostly I am focusing on more video content for the band, Should have a couple out by the end of the year! I am also doing more performance art around Seattle, so if you see the name Rik Thorton on any marquees in the northwest just know you are in for the strangest exercise routine of your life.
FMI on Scarves visit their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Spotify
Scarves tour dates:
9/19: Barboza - Seattle, WA
10/5: Evening Muse - Charlotte, NC