Curt Kiser’s voice and music exist comfortably in the liminal space that Cincinnati, OH occupies. Separated from Kentucky by the snaking bends of the Ohio River and owning a rich history of nascent musical trends that flowed out from here after being metabolized by the larger public(see: James Brown, Hank Williams “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, Bootsy Collins, L.A. Reid, Hi-Tek, the second non-PNW band to be signed to Sub Pop and the inventor of circuit bending).
The unhurried nature of the songs on Kiser’s musical project Carriers Blue EP owes much to this sense of Cincinnati being between many worlds. An incubator of sounds that never quite feel at home here. Though existing in this liminality, the “grande, neo-psychedelic” work by Kiser never reaches for a grand metaphor when he could state it plainly. While Carriers’ music often feels carried away in this slipstream – Carriers’ guitar melodies are almost visible strands of air, bass, and drums so lovingly present in the mix with their edges just barely sanded off; Kiser’s voice – one that he admits struggling to find comfort in – has a distinct, earthy post-Laurel Canyon lilt to it.
“Without You” – a chugging slow burner about love, life & sentimental feelings – is a perfectly encapsulated takeaway of the new EP.
For some the origin story of Carriers is canon. After the demise of Curt’s successful indie rock band Pomegranates, Curt meets Bryan Devendorf while working at an ultra-regional pizza chain at the zoo, meets John Curley working a similar service industry job. They play together and end up making the powerful double LP Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else together. Sharon Van Etten, Band of Horses and The War on Drugs sing it’s praise. Shows with Big Thief, Sam Evian, Choir Boy, Damien Jurado, Simon Joyner follow. And here we are, the Blue EP serving as an autumn introduction or re-introduction before a forthcoming release on NYC’s Brassland Records. Curt Kiser’s music career up to this point has been nothing but not patient.
Carriers is the latest signer to The National’s Brassland Records and features contributions from both The National and The Afghan Whigs. And songs from the album feature Bryan Devendorf of The National and John Curley from The Afghan Whigs.