Reviews

Mama, I'm Swollen

Author: Julie Diaz
04/24/2009 | Pensacola News Journal | www.pnj.com | Live Show Preview
After 15 years and six albums, indie-rock stalwarts Cursive got their first shot at national television exposure earlier this year, when the band played "The Late Show with David Letterman." But for frontman Tim Kasher, the milestone may be more important because of what it means to his family.

"It's a more tangible, immediate validation for your family, who maybe don't always get what you're doing," he said. "Your grandma can watch it."

Kasher and bandmates Ted Stevens (guitar/vocals) and Matt Maginn (bass) have received plenty of critical validation over the years. Their latest album, "Mama, I'm Swollen," has received another round of rave reviews. The tour to support the disc brings the band to Sluggo's on Tuesday. Kasher spoke to the News Journal in a phone interview.

Q: What sets the new album apart?

A: It's always important to us that (a new album) adds something new or unique to the catalog. As far as what that is for this one, I'm not fully sure. We just took a different approach. We're always trying to stretch the idea of what Cursive could be. This time we tried to do something more rhyhmically based, and it came out a little darker.

As far as the overall sullen vibe, that was something that didn't occur to us untill we got feedback. I think some of the differences come with being yet another three years older.

Significantly, the thing I did set out to do is to let the songs breathe more, as cheesy and cliche as that sounds. We have a tendency to chop everything up so much, so we let ourselves rock out more. I enjoyed it for this record, letting the songs play out a little more.

Q: The band's members are spread across the country. How does that affect the creative process?

A: It didn't have much of an effect, really. The way we write is either myself or Ted will write the composition at home and take it to practice, so we kept writing the same way. We get together about a week out of the month. I brought 8 songs to practice and we worked on them. I think we ended up learning about 22. We ended up recording only about 13.

Q: Is there something about this band that feels special to you?

A: It's special for me uniquely for my songwriting. Mabe there's something about working with Matt and Ted where there's a standard that has to be met. When I write something for Cursive, in my head, it has to meet a certain standard. It's a healthy pressure to have.

Q: Do you have a favorite song on the new album?

A: It's probably a toss up between "Let Me Up" and "Mama I'm Swollen." "Mama I'm Swollen" (because) it's the kind of jam song that we never do, so I enjoyed doing that, letting it play out. "Let Me Up" I like for the opposite reason, for having a song that's more traditionally the way we chop everything up and play with the dynamic more.

Q: From where did the concept for the "From the Hips" video come?

A: I think the first two verses come off as conversational, and I'm imagining a first date where we bring the baggage of everyone we date to the table. But it ultimately culminates in the theme of the song, that we're all animals and if we could all just have sex it would be easier.

Q: What should people expect at the show?

A: I think maybe in the past we let a show here or there go by the wayside, but we definietly don't believe that any more. We play every show like it's New York.
Mama, I'm Swollen

Mama, I'm Swollen

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