Posted by: periodistalibre | June 19, 2013

The Ex-Bombers Spin the Black Circle


Vinyl tempts the discerning aural palate and the nostalgic imagination. Like a fine wine or craft beer, playing a record is cause to pause and savor. That said, The Ex-Bombers would rather you didn’t hear their music at all than hear it digitally reproduced.

The self-described dirtbag spy jazz/beatnik punk duo [say it five times fast] lists influences you have no choice but to take their word for unless you see them live or hear their record.  Imagine “early Velvet Underground/Sonic Youth and the content and style of Soft Cell or Girls Against Boys.”

When the twosome, previously ⅔ of the trio that was Colombia, Missouri’s ’60s-style garage-pop outfit Pat Boone’s Farm, found themselves drummerless, bassist Keri Cousins switched to drums and Scott Walus swapped in his 12-string guitar for an eight-string bass. A 2010 move to Charleston, Ill., home of Eastern Illinois University, transplanted not just The Ex-Bombers, but also their proprietary, vinyl-only incubator, Cavetone Records. Relocation found them rubbing elbows with local acts like Malt Liquor and championing the medium that satisfies their musical taste.

Like musical foodies, some connoisseurs permit only the most premo tones to tango with their art and their eardrums. Those folks, Walus said, turn to vinyl.

“Digital versions of songs are fast food,” Walus said. “Music deserves a place away from the same device where people text, play pointless games, and look at naughty pictures.”


Unfortunately for aficionados, digital has the financial edge at about a 1:5 production cost ratio to analog, Walus said. Hence mass shift to digital recording and playback. He records and mixes Cavetone’s records, then sends the product out for mastering, equalization to the requisite RIAA standard, and lacquering. The heavy lifting  is done at the front end of analog recording, relying on the ears to perfect levels while the sound is being captured. With digital recording, music is manipulated later with eyes on a computer screen.

In true form, The Ex-Bombers advocate records locally, flouting the status quo with their newest vinyl-only LP “The Tightwire.”

“We held our ground and at least 10 people bought turntables and got into vinyl. This is infinitely better than 10 million views on YouTube,” Walus said.

As for The Ex-Bombers’ sound, the twosome jams on their drums, bass, and vocals sans effects rather than trying to make up for lost noise.

“We could never out-loud a four-piece band, but we could certainly out-quiet them,” Walus said.

Check out an audio morsel in the promo video below. The Ex-Bombers will play at Mickey’s Friday. The 10 p.m. show also features Madison’s own TT and the Night Owls and The Lonesome Organist of Chicago fame.


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