A little more than a year ago, Capital Region-based indie rock band Railbird officially moved to Brooklyn for more opportunities and better exposure.
But the move had another unintended, and subconscious, effect on the band’s music.
The group is set to release a three-song EP, “Lucky,” at its performance at Valentine’s on Friday night, their first new release since last year’s “No One” album — although one of the EP’s tracks, “Jump Ship,” featuring local musicians Sean Rowe and Sarah Barthel of Phantogram, came out in June. A second single, “MIRRORs,” was recently released online through MTV Hive.
Although there are clear stylistic similarities between the new tracks and the songs off “No One” — particularly on “Jump Ship,” which is a holdover from the “No One” sessions — the vibe is more upbeat and the playing a bit more aggressive on “Lucky.” Friends have suggested that the hustle and bustle of the city is responsible for the change.
Railbird EP release show
with Hand Habits, Sun Burdens
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Valentine’s, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany
How Much: $7
More Info: 432-6572, www.valentinesalbany.com
“A lot of times you’re influenced by your environment, either subconsciously or directly,” longtime guitarist Chris Kyle said recently from the band’s apartment. “A lot of ‘No One’ was written upstate, where it’s quiet, so it’s a little more introspective, maybe.”
“It’s pretty crazy hectic here, so there’s a little more of that in the EP,” vocalist, keyboardist and bandleader Sarah Pedinotti added. “There’s a lot more trucks, especially right where we live — we live right by a four-lane highway. Everybody’s influenced by everything, so it was not conscious at all.”
Connection to region
Even with the change in location, the band still feels a connection to the Capital Region, where Pedinotti cut her teeth singing in her parents’ jazz nightclub, One Caroline Street, in Saratoga Springs — hence Albany getting first dibs for the CD release show. The EP is coming out in a limited pressing of 300, with digital distribution from Brooklyn collective FYO Records.
Drummer Chris Carey, who performed on “No One,” will be joining the core lineup of Pedinotti, Kyle, bassist Derek Leslie and guitarist Xander Naylor at the Valentine’s show. But it’s just a one-off — new drummer Booker Stardrum is set to join permanently when the band kicks off a short Northeast tour for “Lucky” in early December.
“We’re just trying to figure out how best to talk about that, because the band is becoming more and more solidified,” Kyle said. “Currently with the lineup, the core is always me, Xander, Sarah and Derek.”
The songs on “Lucky” showcase the lineup’s growth over the past year of touring. Each of the three tracks on “Lucky” were recorded in different studios — the title track at A Bloody Good Record Recording Studio in Queens; “Jump Ship” in Stillwater last summer; and “MIRRORs” at Alligator Lady Studios in Brooklyn.
“They kind of all went through the same filter,” Kyle said. “All of them get recorded, then we take them home and listen to them for a while, sit with them and get ideas, talk about it. And then maybe sometimes there’ll be an overdub process, and then we go into the studio to mix it. Xander was there for the mixing of ‘MIRRORs’ and ‘Lucky,’ so I think Sarah and Xander did a good job shaping those two afterwards — those were recorded closer together; ‘Jump Ship’ is the older one. I think through that process, they were all considered, and we realized that the three of them go together for this EP.”
The band is constantly writing and recording demos, so there is definitely a backlog of material to draw from. Pedinotti is still the band’s main songwriter, but the whole band arranges songs.
“I’ve been around Sarah enough to know that, I think her process doesn’t really change — it’s a little bit more of an in-the-moment kind of thing,” Naylor said. “You don’t know where the songs come from or when they will come to you. She’s always playing, writing, fiddling around with things, and whenever she feels like something is done, it comes to us and we arrange it forever.”
“For me, writing is like walking into a dark room, or being blindfolded,” Pedinotti added. “The first thing you come in contact with, the rest of the thing is built around that. If I get a demo cut, get an idea with very vivid imagery, then I’ll take that as the seed and kind of grow it from there.”
Writing continues on songs for a new full-length, which could see release next year. The band also continues to play with Rowe when it can, having joined him on his most recent tour with JD McPherson.
After the band’s Kickstarter-funded national tour last year, during which the band met Naylor and also performed at the South by Soutwest festival in Austin, Texas, the band is probably keeping closer to home for future touring.
“It was a big effort, and we’re really happy we did it — South By Southwest is always an exciting thing to be part of,” Pedinotti said. “We’re focusing our limited resources now on continuing to be able to record music and put it out.”