‘The Color Yellow’ – New Indy Trio Drops Sparkling Debut Single from Forthcoming ‘Just Like the Sun’ EP

With their vibrant debut single, “The Color Yellow,” From Elsewhere is illuminating the Indianapolis indie rock scene.

The newly formed indie rock trio dropped the first track from their forthcoming EP, “Just Like the Sun,” last week, and it’s an eclectic mix of shoegaze and alternative rock – think remnants of Smashing Pumpkins, Slowdive, Snail Mail and Death Cab for Cutie rolled into one.

With its shimmering guitars, solid bass lines and pulsating drumbeats, “The Color Yellow” provides a gorgeous splatter of upbeat rhythms, but includes a dark lyrical layer hidden below.

“It’s about Vincent Van Gogh, and the whole idea of the troubled artist. He tried to eat yellow paint because he was ready to do anything to make himself happy,” said Nikhil Ramani, the From Elsewhere frontman and guitarist who originally hails from Chennai, India. “We see mental health awareness becoming a big thing now, but we still see so many suicides. The song is also about how we can bring that number down.”

As a senior studying psychology at the University of Indianapolis, Ramani wrote the band’s debut single after trying to understand the correlation between successful artists and their depression. “The Color Yellow” serves as a budding piece of musical research to further address and explore the issue.

“Is art just an escape, or is the gene the same?” asked Ramani, who learned how to play guitar at age eight and counts Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink Floyd and Death Cab among his major influences. “Yellow is such a happy color, but it has a bit of melancholy feel to it in this song.”

Despite the delicate subject matter, Ramani and his bandmates, Travis Lee (bass) and Luke Duckworth (drums), are eager to see where their new musical journey is headed. Together, the trio formed From Elsewhere in June after meeting up with Ramani.

“Back in the summer, I was just working at the front desk at school, and there were a lot of hours where I didn’t have much to do, so I would go on Craigslist, and I made this ad for an indie rock band,” Ramani said. “I had these songs, so I wanted to see if anyone was out there.”

After forming the band, Ramani, Lee and Duckworth recorded six songs, including “The Color Yellow,” at Russian Recording in Bloomington, Ind., for “Just Like the Sun,” which will drop in December. They also plan to release a follow-up single to “The Color Yellow” soon.

Since August, From Elsewhere has played several Indy shows to growing audiences with Ongoing Story, The Latin for Maple and Dopplepopolis. They’ll play next with Heart Attack Man and Juice Nov. 4 at the Hoosier Dome, 1627 Prospect St., in Indy.

“We really want to go on tour and play out-of-town shows,” Ramani said. “When we do go on tour, it will be cool to say, ‘Hey, we’re From Elsewhere.’”

The Decemberists, Death Cab for Cutie Deliver Memorable Travelers’ Rest Day 1

Colin Meloy plays with The Decemberists during the first night of Travelers’ Rest.

Travelers’ Rest may be the best festival for any indie music rock fan – period.

First off, it’s an artist-curated event with The Decemberists at the helm. Who knows how to select a festival lineup better than the artists themselves? No one, I say.

Next, it’s the perfect overall length and amount of music. With two days and start and end times of 3:30 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. each day, respectively, you get to see nine acts and not have to stay up all night. At times, the three- and four-day festivals are fun, but a bit long in the tooth on hot summer days.

As a bonus, you also get to see ALL the acts if you want. No overlapping artists and schedule conflicts. A music festival goer’s dream!

Thirdly, the festival location and size. Missoula, Mont., is idyllic with its big blue sky and majestic mountains in the distance, yet remote enough to not draw overwhelming crowds compared to festivals in large cities, such as Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles and Detroit. The Big Sky Brewing Company Amphitheater has the right-size feel for an outdoor venue that holds up to 5,000 people.

Finally, who wouldn’t want to spend two musically, fun-filled days with The Decemberists and their friends? For me, it’s a bounty of exquisite musicianship and artistry.

Continue reading “The Decemberists, Death Cab for Cutie Deliver Memorable Travelers’ Rest Day 1”

Travelers’ Rest — The Decemberists Host 2-Day Music Festival in Missoula, Mont.

Colin Meloy performs with The Decemberists during the “Your Girl/Your Ghost” tour at Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium in May. My friend Rachel provides cowbell support.

Nine years ago, I put in a copy of “The Hazards of Love” by The Decemberists in my Volkswagen Beetle’s five-disc CD changer and raised an eyebrow.

It wasn’t quite what I expected.

After listening to the entire album, I looked over at Brian and shook my head.

He replied to me, “This isn’t our style.”

At that time, we weren’t focused on rock operas and concept albums. We were the curmudgeons of pop, classic rock and power metal.

The Decemberists’ 2009 rock opera album pushed us out of our comfort zones musically, courtesy of my brother Steve. He included the album in a care package of music to hear before attending Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.

The album’s storyline centers on a woman named Margaret who falls in love with a forest dweller named William. Throughout the album, William’s mother and a villain named the Rake bring conflict to the story.

Back then, “Hazards” was one of the first concept albums I had ever heard. While I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I sure do today.

I greatly appreciate the album and The Decemberists because they’re part of a special group of artists and music that inspired my initial love of concertgoing, vinyl and CD collecting, musical festival-ing (I know, it’s not a real word) and blogging.

Continue reading “Travelers’ Rest — The Decemberists Host 2-Day Music Festival in Missoula, Mont.”

‘Sainthood’ – Tegan and Sara Indie Pop Gem Still Sparkles 7 Years Later

Tegan and Sara perform on Oct. 26 at the Royal Oak Music Theater in Royal Oak, Mich. during the “Love You to Death” tour.

Editor’s Note: Brian Stratton writes about one of his favorite Tegan and Sara albums from the Canadian sisters’ catalog.

We all have a certain song or album that we associate with a band. It might not be the artist’s biggest hit or a critically acclaimed release, but nonetheless it strongly resonates with you.

That is the joy of music, finding a way to personally connect with the art and discovering your own meaning behind it.

For me, I can’t think about Canadian sister duo Tegan and Sara without their 2009 album “Sainthood” crossing my mind.

Continue reading “‘Sainthood’ – Tegan and Sara Indie Pop Gem Still Sparkles 7 Years Later”