Recommended If You Like: Wilco, White Denim, The War on Drugs
The two words that best describe Siberian Traps’ third album Indicator are organic and resilient: Written and recorded within nine months, Indicator is an impressively cohesive body of work that finds the four-piece from Fort Worth, Texas capturing a moment with precision and ease. Consciously ‘summery’ and focused around “our relationship to the land and our relationship to time,” Indicator‘s songs invite us to bask in Siberian Traps’ 45-minute daydream – and what a reverie it is. Everyday experiences, personal memories, and random musings become universal rhetoric and relatable observations as Siberian Traps weave an electric haze of indie rock goodness. The result of a band blossoming into their sound, Indicator feels warm, natural, and genuine – a magical combination that establishes Siberian Traps’ formidable artistry and is sure to put them on the map.
Once there were birds among the trees
who would show you the way to something sweet.
Whistling like a piper, you’d call
in a language only you and she could speak.
When you both had filled your bellies,
you with honey, she with broken bits of comb,
you could see the pattern, the balance,
give-and-take in the chromosome.
– “Indicator” by Siberian Traps
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Indicator, Siberian Traps’ third full-length album (independently out June 9, 2017) and the band’s first since the inclusion of multi-instrumentalist Ben Hance to their permanent lineup. A well-seasoned aural cocktail of Hance’s wily, bold guitar riffs and frontman Seth Reeves’ evocative crooning lend Indicator a particularly intoxicating, rounded quality: Siberian Traps’ sound is hard to pin down – a very good problem to have – but they seem to fit into some rough patch between the fire of fellow Texas-based guitar rockers White Denim, the mystical and easy listening melodies of Wilco, and the dream-rock of The War on Drugs.
From the opening licks of “The River Report” to the melodic sighs that close “Indicator,” Siberian Traps take listeners on an experiential journey. Songs range in timbre and tempo – catchy single “Lemon Balm” drips with the peppy beat of summer, whilst the confessional “Wait Is Gone” finds the individual admitting to his mistakes. No matter what you’re looking for, Indicator offers a point of connection. Per the band, Indicator – especially the vinyl issue, which is being released via Dreamy Life Records – “can ideally be played with either side as Side A, reflecting the cyclical nature of the album and the ebb and flow of the conscious and unconscious experiences it catalogs.”
Lemon balm, you grow in waves of sunshine
and dirt that’s rippled like the sea without a coastline
on borderland between the sprout and withered flowers
that fade so fast afloat on tides turned into hours.
I had my own row to hoe.
I kept my head down toward my toes.
And there you were, dressed in white,
I could have sworn you wore lemon bright.
Still I could’ve sworn that I would know.
Watch: “Lemon Balm” – Siberian Traps
Free-flowing and entrancing, Indicator is very much the distillation of a feeling, rather than the product of a single point in time. It carries the sunny disposition of summer, with all its ups and downs, roses and thorns. Its songs are each individually strong, but when combined into one they gain a new weight, reminding us once again of the greater value that an album can bring.
Keep an eye on this 2017 artist to watch – this truly feels like Siberian Traps’ moment. If they play their cards right, they should be touring around the country in no time. Listen to the full record through Atwood Magazine’s exclusive stream, and peek inside Indicator with Atwood Magazine as Siberian Traps provide their personal take on each of the album’s songs below!
Listen: Indicator – Siberian Traps
:: Inside Indicator ::
The River Report
A song that came out of a trip to Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas. My wife and I take our three year old daughter there pretty often to hike and swim in the Paluxy River. Last June it had rained so much that the river was flooded and it wasn’t safe to swim. We were initially disappointed, but it was beautiful to walk along the bank and watch that enormous volume of water rushing by.
I wanted to write a song that felt like the way summer feels in my head: bleaching yellow sun, sky, flora blooming and exploding and rioting everywhere, bees.
Wait is Gone
I can be quite stubborn and prideful. Like many people, I find it hard to admit when I’m wrong. This song kind of explores that process of coming to terms with the fact that you’ve been unkind to someone you love.
Balmorhea State Park in West Texas is one of my favorite spots on earth. Generally, I love the desert, and Balmorhea is this small oasis featuring a huge spring-fed swimming pool with crystal clear water (and fish!) There have been ongoing efforts by natural gas companies to frack in that area, which would be terrible for the water table in an already arid location. I read a bunch about the issue last summer and then this song sort of surged out of me. It simmers with anger about the whole situation and about how we, stupidly, go about exploiting the only planet we’ve got.
I think there’s probably something in this one about trying to balance being a husband and father of a small child and simultaneously feeling the need to keep creating and making music. The pressure sometimes makes me want to take off into the ether.
There’s a lot in this one about memory and time. I reference a couple of specific memories, one from my early childhood when my older brother broke his femur and one from my honeymoon.
This was the last song I wrote for Indicator. It came very quickly and was spurred by difficulties in some of my relationships. Also, like many people, I was pretty appalled and pissed off about the outcome of the 2016 election. I think all my frustrations, personal and public, made their way into what amounts to an ode to the paths we don’t take in life, whose ends we don’t get to see.
A little reprise of “The River Report” just because.
This has quite a lot about symbiosis in it. It was inspired by a segment I heard on NPR about the relationship between various communities in East Africa and the Greater Honeyguide Bird species.
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cover © Walt Burns