review Archive



STS9, Inviting in the Winter

STS9 Plays Oak Mountain on October 28th

As is so often the case when winter arrives in Alabama, most of us natives are starting to wake up to a world that seems slower, quieter, and somehow strange. Here chronic heat is as much a natural law as gravity, but only from March to August (or in this year’s case the tail-end of October). And when that warmth disappears and the cold starts sweeping in, as it is now, home begins to feel decidedly alien.

Enter STS9, a musical group hailing from Georgia whose blend of instrumental rock and ambient electronic overtones makes you wonder if the band members might be related to Daft Punk’s astronaut-helmeted duo. With albums like Interplanetary Escape Vehicle and Ad Explorata, Sound Tribe Sector 9 has a track-record of producing music that’s best characterized as “otherworldly.”

They’ve toured widely, performed at large festivals and small venues alike, and have challenged musical boundaries at every turn. In short, these guys aren’t afraid to innovate. Their success owes largely to the way they string different styles of live music together with electronic layering to create a sound that, in many regards, supersedes standard musical classification. Rock,…

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Will Stewart’s Faultline EP

Will Stewart's Faultline EP
Photos by Daniel Cooper

Like the tides under the Gulf of Mexico moon, like a sea of bodies undulating under the strobing lights of some clandestine New York city disco, Will Stewart’s Faultline EP is in constant motion. It’s the sound of transition, persistent and occasionally chaotic, of inevitable change in the wake of charting bold new directions in life and music, past projects and pre-ordained centers of musical cool be damned.

Late last year, just as Stewart’s Nashville retro-soul outfit Willie and the Giant seemed poised for a breakthrough—having been named “New Band of the Week” by influential London newspaper The Guardian—the band broke up, unable to reconcile its creative differences. “Until recently, the idea of being in a band was always more appealing to me than being a solo artist—that feeling of camaraderie, of being brothers in arms,” Stewart says. “But these days, I feel more confident in my music and songwriting. I feel confident in being in complete creative control. It’s liberating.”

Striking out on his own also inspired Stewart to move from trendy Nashville back to his old hometown of Birmingham, Ala. “I don’t want to sound cynical,” he says, “but Nashville was just a sea of poseurs. The things I’d…

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