Remnose will share their haunting indie folk with an intimate Detroit crowd Sunday night.
The Motor City indie folk-rock quartet will perform an opening set for Josiah Johnson, co-founder and former member of The Head and the Heart, at Creaky House, a Woodbridge neighborhood do-it-yourself (DIY) music space.
“It’s a really cool old house with a beautiful backyard and an old fireplace. We played a release show there when we put out our EP, ‘What We See in Our Sleep,’ so it’s been one of our favorite DIY venues in Detroit,” said Marlon Morton, Remnose’s vocalist and rhythm guitarist. “It’s really nice for Sunday nights because you don’t have to ask everybody to go out to a bar.”
During their Sunday night set, Remnose will include introspective tracks from their latest album, “Waiting on the Wind,” which dropped in June, as well as past gems from previous releases.
“We’ll do a full band show because the majority of our sets are pretty laid back, and they suit that sort of setting like a backyard show. There will be a sound system there, too,” Morton said. “They bring over a pretty nice sound system, at least they have for shows we’ve played there in the past. It gives it a real venue sound in a backyard, so you get the best of both worlds.”
Remnose has played a growing roster of local, regional and national shows since forming in 2013. Led by Morton and his older brother Carson Morton (drums, banjo, backup vocals), the band includes Sam Sparling (lap steel guitar, synth, keys) and Alex Wildner (bass, cello, violin, piano) and features a breathtaking sound built around inspirational melodies and highly-personal lyrics.
Writing and Recording ‘Waiting on the Wind’
Morton spent nearly two years writing the 13 beautiful tracks on “Waiting on the Wind,” which chronicles a deep inner growth and spiritual journey he experienced after receiving a DUI.
Today, he looks back on the experience as a valuable life lesson and significant way to heal.
“It was a lot of looking inward and having a chance to reflect on myself as a 26-year-old. If you listen to the lyrics, most of the songs are about being motivated, and ‘Waiting on the Wind’ focuses on talking about our dreams and all the things you want to do with your life,” he said.
“You’re just waiting on the wind to push you along instead of taking the right steps and doing the right things you actually need to do to get from Point A to Point B and accomplish your goals. It’s a lot of internal dialogue with oneself.”
Morton used that internal dialogue to eloquently capture relatable themes of helplessness and hopefulness mixed with unwavering optimism and unconquerable pessimism. Together, those themes are intricately woven into an hour-long seafaring sonic journey starting with the album’s title track.
“Waiting on the Wind” starts on the opening sea bouncing the listener softly and slowly from wave to wave. Sparling’s hypnotic lap steel guitar imitates the sounds of seabirds flying nearby while Morton sadly sings, “If I could just charter this ship to your harbor/She’s taking on water waiting on the wind’s just pushing me farther.” The track seeks vocal inspiration from the lush folk-rock harmonies of Fleet Foxes and Band of Horses.
For “Waiting on the Wind,” Remnose returned to Stone House Recording in Grand Rapids to record the album’s 13 songs. Initially, Morton created demos with basic guitar, drum and bass tracks while Carson Morton, Sparling and Wildner added instrumental magic to their respective parts.
“It’s become more focused, and we have a larger bounty of songs now,” said Morton, who’s influenced by Neil Young and Kurt Vile. “I’ve been really happy with listening to the whole record and feeling like it’s a complete representation of where we’re at and what we’re hoping to accomplish.”
‘Greenland’ and ‘Cures, Diseases’
The album’s instrumentation is ripe with diversity as jangling pianos, massive swells of synths, and sweeps of cello and violin surround the listener in a delicate, emotional wall of sound. Two other standout tracks, “Greenland,” and “Cures, Diseases,” exquisitely reflect Remnose’s seamless instrumentation, intricate arrangements and thoughtful vocals.
“Greenland” opens with sparse, mesmerizing guitars and chronicles the personal anxiety Morton experiences internally and externally. As an empath, he easily absorbs his own emotional struggles and those of others while vicariously visiting Greenland.
“‘Greenland’ is a tribute to people who are really moving mountains, and the people who live there are going through the struggles of how to maintain their lives they’ve known for thousands of years. The ice is melting, and their food supplies are dwindling,” Morton said. “All the self-angst I have about my existence is nothing compared to what other people have to go through in other parts of the world.”
Meanwhile, “Cures, Diseases” features driving guitar and bass mixed with crashing cymbals and includes a Kurt Vile-type flavor. The track also includes a tough-love societal commentary about human relations and the environment.
“We’re hippies and nature buffs who love the outdoors and have been to places where there’s garbage all over the place,” Morton said. “It’s calling people out about not being responsible for the earth as a society and being disgusted with the way people treat each other and look at the planet.”
Next Up for Remnose
Outside of releasing “Waiting on the Wind,” Remnose has played a host of shows and festivals this summer. Next week, they’ll be embarking on a short tour to Nashville, Tenn., Athena, Ga., and Cincinnati and playing some western Michigan dates later this fall. They also have plans to share new material soon.
“We definitely want to release an EP early to mid-next year,” Morton said. “That’s the hope, and we’ve still got a lot of work to do. It’s another way to keep it fresh and keep that ball rolling.”
6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22
Creaky House, 1734 Calumet St. in Detroit
Free show, but donations welcome