Concert preview: Cave Singers go it alone, find freedom

Joel Oliphint

When it came time to make its fifth record, the Cave Singers had a choice. The Seattle band had just finished a tour behindNaomi, its second LP for Jagjaguwar. Both of those were preceded by two albums for Matador Records.

"We love Jag, but they weren't crazy about our last album," said Cave Singers guitarist Derek Fudesco, who also co-founded Matador alum Pretty Girls Make Graves. "So when it came time to do a record, they said, 'Send us some songs and we'll talk about it.' We came back from that tour and thought, you know, why don't we see if we can crowdfund it and put it out ourselves instead of shopping to our own label?"

It was a gamble. Matador and Jagjaguwar are two of the more respected, well-distributed independent labels in the game, and there was no guarantee the Cave Singers would have enough fan support to fund an album. But the gamble worked. The band raised more than $23,000 in one month through an campaign.

The resulting album,Banshee, isn't drastically different from the trio's previous records - laid-back, folk-rock grooves anchored by the shambling, nasal vocals of aptly named songwriter Pete Quirk. But it was made with ultimate freedom, and it gave the Cave Singers a chance to experiment with producer Randall Dunn.

"Randall picked out a studio in Portland. It was set up so we could all play in the same room," Fudesco said via telephone. "After the first song it was like, 'We should try to do them all like this.' That was the first time we'd done that. There'd be vocal takes that were good but the music wouldn't be that good, but we'd end up going with it anyway, just trying to capture that live feeling."

For the Cave Singers, one of the most important benefits to releasingBanshee itself is that the band owns all the music. "Something that's really frustrating is our first two records are not available in physical form, and there's nothing we can do to get them, even if we wanted to release them ourselves," Fudesco said. "With the backlog of getting vinyl made, there's no incentive for [Matador] to re-press it because they have all these new records to make. The catalog stuff isn't very important, even though when we tour, people constantly ask about the early records. We don't even have CDs of them. We're just at the mercy of someone else doing it, if they ever feel like doing it."

The process of writing, recording and releasingBanshee, however, gave the Cave Singers complete autonomy. "Everything about it was new," Fudesco said. "That's been exciting."

Rumba Cafe

7 p.m. Sunday,

May 29

2507 Summit St.,

Old North

Also playing:

Blank Range