It would be easy to overlook a new post-punk indie rock band from Los Angeles, but in the opening seconds their powerful self-titled debut, Fell Runner seizes their moment with infectious interlocking guitar riffs, seductive vocals, surging rhythm, rolling bass, and an noisy inter-continental vibe that could put you on almost any beach in the world! Seamlessly blending influences from Tune-Yards, Dirty Projectors, Pixies, and Wilco with a studied and extensive understanding of West African traditional music, their sound is a kind of folk-punk-world mash-up that can only be categorized as forward-thinking, global, and awesome.
Formed in 2012 by four music students at the California Institute of the Arts, Fell Runner’s music is asymmetrically rhythmic while simultaneously melodic and danceable. While studying jazz and West African music, these four came together to both experiment with the music they were learning and to “blow off steam.” Guitarist and singer, Gregory Uhlmann explains, “We’d been both playing a lot of jazz and introspective kinds of music and felt like we needed an outlet for a more raw form of expression.”
Fell Runner is definitely a raw-sounding album, but it’s concepts and writing are anything but. The band has been cultivating this sound and these songs for over 3 years leading up to this recording, performing their set live in all sorts of different contexts and venues. Uhlmann continues, “This album is really just an outgrowth of our live show at its core…It is almost all live except for vocals (“Cobwebs” being our only “crazy” production song). Our goal with it was to capture what it feels like to be at our shows. Not too many bells and whistles…”
Really, this is an honest album. From lyrics, to sensibilities, sounds, and performance, this is who these guys are. It makes you want to be in the room, listening to them play, which is a real breath of fresh air amidst the current landscape of rock and pop.
“Our goal for making the music we make is really just to satisfy our curiosities and make the music we wish existed.” (Uhlmann)
A job well done, I’d say. This is the core of what we wish to support at Orenda Records. Music that is an extension of honest expression, curiosity, and a sense of boundless adventure!
—Daniel Rosenboom, Founder of Orenda Records, August 2015
FELL RUNNER // FELL RUNNER
Steven van Betten – Guitar and Vocals
Gregory Uhlmann – Guitar and Vocals
Patrick Kelly – Bass
Tim Carr – Drums
Lauren Baba – Guest Viola on “Cobwebs”