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23 February 2014

Ryan Graveface: Things That Meant Something To Me In 2013.

The best-known project associated with Savannah, Georgia multi-instrumentalist Ryan Graveface is almost certainly Black Moth Super Rainbow, a wryly enigmatic experimental electronic psych-pop outfit known for being cagey about its exact Western Pennsylvania geography, for concealing individual identities behind masks and aliases, and for successive albums on which the super spacey vintage vocoder effect has been used on all the vocals, all the time. As unlikely a formula for success as these elements may seem, BMSR, formed in 2002, has over the years become a popular, prolific indie weirdness institution. The band emerged into prominence through The House of Apples and Eyeballs, a 2006 collaboration with Austin’s The Octopus project, and a performance at SXSW the same year. The following year saw the release of the celebrated full-length Dandelion Gum and a tour in support of The Flaming Lips. The first thousand copies of Dandelion Gum sported a scratch-and-sniff cover, while supporters of the Kickstarter campaign for 2012’s Cobra Juicy were rewarded with grotesque masks with flash drives for teeth.

As the founder, owner, and sole employee of one of WTSH’s favorite labels, Graveface Records—the word “Graveface” somehow emerged out of a night’s dreaming that also involved fishing and miniature golf—Ryan is responsible for the release late last year of The Stargazer Lilies’ full-length debut We Are The Dreamers in a package exquisite on all levels: visual, musical, and sonic. The label, which issued its first record in 2002 and got fully underway with the 2005 release of BMSR’s Lost Picking Flowers in the Woods in both LP and CD formats, is presently home to Whirr, Xiu Xiu, Serengeti, Experimental Aircraft and a score of other worthy artists.

Graveface Records has a one-of-a-kind sister business in Savannah, a bricks-n-mortar retail establishment called Graveface Records & Curiosities, offering such diverse categories of merchandise as vinyl, cocktail supplies, effects pedals, taxidermy, and more.

One of our favorite Graveface Records artists is The Casket Girls, who have wowed us with the haunting (and haunted) electronic dreampop of  their 2012 debut full-length Sleepwalking, which evinces a sensibility that is morbid-tinged but still somehow ultimately upbeat. Ryan himself is the musical engine that drives The Casket Girls, composing and performing all of the backing tracks, which are characterized by a rich signature fuzzed keyboard sound, while sisters Elsa and Phaedra Greene, whom Ryan first came across singing strange songs together under a tree in a Savannah park space, provide melodies, lyrics, and beautifully blended pop vocals. We posted the delightfully demented video for Sleepwalking’s title track here; you can view the completely amazing clip for “Heartless” from the same album here. We’re very excited about The Casket Girls’ sophomore LP, True Love Kills the Fairy Tale, released by Graveface on February 11th, 2014, and we’ve posted singles from that record here and here.

Ryan’s primary musical outlet is a shoegaze/post-rock project called Dreamend, with an impressive discography of its own including a two-piece epic that tells the true story of a serial killer’s life (Ryan bought the murderer’s journals at auction years ago) on the full-length albums So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite (2010) and And the Tears Washed Me, Wave After Cowardly Wave (2012).

The Casket Girls, The Stargazer Lilies, Dreamend, and Dott have joined forces for the colossal Graveface Roadshow 2014, a tour that began in Atlanta on February 14th, 2014.

With even more projects up his sleeve than we’ve managed to mention, we can only imagine that Ryan Graveface is one of the busiest, most energetic people alive, not to mention pretty damn talented and probably the only guy you’ll run into who seems to have named himself after his company instead of the other way around. With humble awe we thank him for taking time out from all that to share with us this list of things that meant something to him in 2013.

Ryan Graveface:
Things That Meant Something To Me In 2013

Ryan says:
As the “pusher” of all things Graveface, I tend to listen to A LOT of Graveface stuff throughout the year. This year we had a jam-packed release schedule with LPs from The Appleseed Cast, Serengeti, Xiu Xiu, Stargazer Lilies, Dosh, Whirr, Hospital Ships and many more. It was crazy. So my list is certainly biased but I tried to throw in a few non-Graveface related tracks so it doesn't seem like a sales pitch. There's no order to anything. Some stuff isn't new but that doesn't matter to me. Additionally, I threw in some food/drink/fun that impacted me in a positive way. These meant something to me in 2013:



Buying the prom photo of Bradley Scott Pauley at the Mission in Sav. It's a salvation army like place and this was $1. I opened the back and inside was a prom invitation, hence me discovering his name. I did some digging and found he's now a lawyer in CA and I attempted to contact him multiple times with no luck. He won't write back. I may have freaked him out with my initial pitch. Haha.

The monster cereals coming back (Fruity Yummy Mummy etc.)


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