Reviews

Mama, I'm Swollen

Author: Amy Nichol Smith
11/24/2009 | McAllen Monitor | www.themonitor.com | Live Show Preview
Since the mid-'90s, emo-indie band Cursive has been defining the sound of Omaha, Neb., in the same way Nirvana helped define Seattle's.

Throughout the past decade and a half, Cursive has released seven albums most of which received high praise from music magazines like Spin, Rolling Stone and two perfect five-star ratings from Alternative Press for the albums The Ugly Organ and Happy Hollow.

Frontman Tim Kasher's lyrics and vocals deftly tell stories on these concept albums. And over the years, Cursive has managed to change its sound from album to album. For The Ugly Organ, Cursive included celloist Gretta Cohn, who gave the album airy melodies that tamed Cursive's sound.

For the first time, Rio Grande Valley Cursive fans will get to see the band live on Sunday at Cine El Rey in McAllen.

Self-proclaimed No. 1 Cursive fan Amanda Taylor had the opportunity to talk to Kasher in a phone interview for Festiva. Read it below to find out how the band got its name, why fans will never get The Ugly Organ 2 and which Cursive album Kasher loves the most.

What made you guys decide to come down to the Valley?
We've been hitting new towns for about the last half year. It just kind of fits in with this latest exploration of, you know, hitting up different places. It's been a lot of fun for us. We had a lot of different markets, as they call them, that we've never been to before. I'm looking forward to this one in particular.

Did you always aspire to be a musician, or did something happen in your life that led to this career?
Probably maybe a little bit more the latter. I think I aspired to do something creative in a writing sense. The guitar, you know, for tons of kids, it became a viable, immediate instrument I think for the 20th century. It's fairly inexpensive to get your hands on a guitar and start from there. I think when I was around 14 years old my need to start outputting in some form was pretty dire. And I think what I really wanted to do was make movies, but that's just not something 14-year-olds do.

How you guys came up with the name Cursive?
We were looking for a name that wouldn't suggest any specific genre. And we also recognize that, you know, names eventually just kind of it's just a moniker after a while. People don't even think about them, you know? So that was kind of something that was kind of important to us. We didn't want to be, like, Meat Wagon, or for that matter something concurrently too quirky or whatever. For more personal reasons, I'd become curious in naming ourselves Cursive since it's a writing discipline. You can go further into history. Like, the British would come in and force second-world countries to learn how to write in cursive and it's completely unnecessary, but it's this unusual discipline. So I guess we consider our music to be a discipline in that sense.

Happy Hollow was kind of a different sound for you guys. What was your inspiration for that album?
Well, uh, we got pretty burned out after doing The Ugly Organ. Also, that's kind of where the bulk of our accolades had come from, so that made it even more important to us to make sure we weren't in any way going to write a sequel to that record. You know, I think in the industry, in the business, I think people see this as shooting oneself in one's foot, you know? To not follow up on a success. That's just not in our nature, I think. Another thing that interested me was that I kind of felt like after The Ugly Organ, that that was quite possibly the biggest soap box I may ever have in my life.

Is The Ugly Organ your favorite album?
I think ranking one's albums really isn't in the card for me. I don't really listen to my own music, so I uh I mean, of course I do when you're laboring over it, but after you're done laboring over it, you kind of just put it to bed.

Are you going to play anything (at the show) newer that isn't on the album?
We haven't gotten there yet. I think that we're going to start working on some stuff next month. Who knows? Maybe it'll be the last tour before we start trying out some new stuff out.
Mama, I'm Swollen

Mama, I'm Swollen

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