Reviews

The Ugly Organ

Author: Tom Netherland
09/18/2003 | Richmond Times-Dispatch | www.timesdispatch.com | Live Show Preview
These days, rock bands seem to outnumber the leaves on a forest full of trees.

Name most any locale and chances are a rock band lurks thereabouts. It figures that New York City and Los Angeles and Boston and grunge-rock mecca Seattle are foremost among America's purveyors of rock groups.

Omaha, Neb., registers barely a blip. Yet at least one band of rockers, Cursive, calls the city best known for its insurance companies, home.

For the past year or so, however, the five-person band has been on the road working its way from one venue to another. Tomorrow night the band returns to Alley Katz.

"None of us are cool," said Tim Kasher, Cursive's founding member and lead singer. "Some of the best compliments we get are that we're the most unlikely rock band in the business."

No doubt, to the naked eye Cursive barely resembles a rock band. Members could easily pass for lawyers, businessmen or other nine-to-fivers.

But a newly released album on Omaha's Saddle Creek Records, "The Ugly Organ," which follows three other albums, confirms the quintet's status as a rock band.

Kasher struggled a bit when asked about the band's sound. People have tagged the band with the punk-rock label, which does not fit.

"That's really up to the listener," he said. "I think we're striving to not be part of a genre, but that doesn't separate us from everybody 'cause there are a lot of people who strive for that as well. There are a lot of bands that openly want to be a punk-rock band or a metal band and there's nothing wrong with that."

Oftentimes a musician's surroundings help define his or her style or sound. For example, the more that Seattle is known for its grunge-rock bands, the more likely it produces more grunge rock.

But Cursive comes from Omaha. Bands are not exactly barreling down the highway headed for Omaha, and fewer still seem to be coming from there. Kasher thinks the band's way with lyrics and overall sound is closer to the music that has been coming out of Athens, Ga., for the past couple of decades.

"Growing up in Omaha, it's not scene-driven at all," he said. "It's more pro-music in the most general sense in whatever style of music. We're not necessarily indicative of Omaha, although there have been some great rock bands that came out of Omaha."

Success grew gradually for Cursive. Six years after the release of its first album, "Such Blinding Stars for Starving Eyes" on Crank! Records, Kasher said he no longer has to work a day job.

Cursive has come far these past few years. Besides keeping a record deal and recording albums, the band's calendar remains mostly filled with concert dates. Included is an upcoming tour of Japan.

So what does it mean to say a band has made it?

"Personally, I think I can speak for the whole group and say that what we're doing now is fine," Kasher said. "We've made money. So far it exceeds anything we ever dreamed of doing. We never had real high expectations. Growing up in Omaha, anybody's who is going to succeed in music or art in general it's going to be a one in a million shot."
The Ugly Organ

The Ugly Organ

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