Could @quietloudly be the next great jam band?
That’s the question I was pondering as I watched their set @silentbarn last week, swaying appreciatively to their guitar-as-hero shoe-gaze sound. Maybe it’s because I reckon they could play for hours even though they just have one full-length EP. After four years together, they have an extensive repertoire that includes new tunes (a new full-length album is planned for the Fall), old songs reinterpreted, ‘60s covers, etc.
It could also be that my wish for jam-band status is more about immersion than song length, as jam bands seem to have carte blanche to play for hours. (Phish has a whole festival built around them after all. Nothing but Phish for 3 days.)
But it’s not something they’re interested in, says guitarist and lead vocalist Max Goransson.
“I don’t think I could ever be in a jam band,” he says. “Song craft, even when it veers off into a dark abyss of epic craziness, is too important to me. I think jam bands usually get really boring really quickly. Plus, John (Weingarten, keyboards and vocals) is probably the only one who would be interesting enough to watch “wank off” for that kind of length of time.”
He admits, though, that it would be great to play more than six songs a show. “I long for the day that we can headline a show and play as long as we want,” he says. “It’s hard always having to settle on six songs for a setlist. I’d love to play a solid hour and a half set.”
Nevertheless, it is easy to imagine Quiet Loudly, whose lineup in addition to Goransson and Weingarten includes Sal Garro on drums and vocals, and Tony Aquilino on bass and vocals, playing a packed outdoor festival upstate whilst naked hippies dance in the mud. (Actually, the whole naked hippie thing happened. Except it was Chicago, not New York. And it was crust punks instead of hippies.) But you could imagine it.
It’s also easy to envision them parading a coven of musicians onstage ala Broken Social Scene, in a completely asexual display of polyamory band love.
Quiet Loudly are collaborators in the strongest and most positive sense of the word. Several of them play in at least one other band (Goransson and Garro play together in The Governors; Goransson is also in Clouder; Aquilino plays in Gunfight!) and they have played with each other on and off in other bands for years. (Weingarten was “shoplifted” from another band.) A rotating crew of instrumentalists also sits in on shows from time to time to add depth and capture the sound from their recorded work.
The band is almost halfway through work on their new album though they have ‘accidentally’ been recording along the way and as studio opportunities come up. They are debuting a new song in August.
Throw their wicked skills into a petri dish with their collaborative nature, and add to that a vastly diverse score of musical influences (Albums currently on their playlists include New Rubble Vol. 5, a crossbreeding of raw girl groups and dirty psychadelia, old school Talking Heads and DEVO, and current local bands Steel Phantoms, Quilty and Clouder, among others) and what you get is a perfect primordial soup for great music, jam or not.
So in the end, maybe it doesn’t really matter what you call it. Quiet Loudly makes kickass music. Right now, they seem content with that.
“We just want to make good albums that people can connect with,” says Goransson.
“We don’t need to be U2,” says Garro, regarding success. “We just love just writing and playing shows together.”
Quiet Loudly plays thurs 8/4 at Cake Shop w/Magnetic Island and Gospel Gossip and fri 8/19 at Mercury Lounge w/Team Genius.
Check out their album, Soulgazer and this limited edition digital download Live in Pittsburgh EP for Japan Relief.