Today's a bit of a change of pace. We're leaving behind the breakneck tempo of most music on this site and instead shifting focus to something much more introspective and, at times, subdued. The Illinois trio of Staghorn's narrative-driven, instrumental post-rock continues today with their third EP, Wormwood III. There have been plenty of ups and downs for the band over the years. Personnel changes, moving, and unwavering dedication to their craft all play their part in the road to their newest effort.
"This record was the hardest piece of music I have ever set out to create. While touring our first record, we cycled through three drummers, moved three times, lost our home we built and had to start over completely in a new town with a new drummer. Composing the music and getting together with our now complete lineup was a task in itself, with the two of us founding members having to commute four and a half hours every weekend to get writing sessions in," the band said in a statement.
They went on to the discuss the recording process stating, "Once the writing was done, we decided that we wanted to convey a very real, live sounding record. We decided to record live to 2inch tape at Earth Analog Studios in Tolono, IL. This studio is well known for its owner Matt Talbot (HUM) and the studio's high-end analog equipment. We thought we had the record in the bag until we plugged in, mic'd up and all of a sudden, the reality of tracking this immensely difficult composure LIVE, really set in… We spent three 12-14 hour days performing this 23-minute song to the best of our abilities."
Their music taps into a style similar to post-rock, metal-adjacent acts like Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Mogwai. Intensely focused on instrumentation, Staghorn uses their arrangements and juxtaposes them with sections of a spoken word. Individual moments across the EP's 22-minute runtime showcase the band's knack for emotive rhythms and melodies and teasing time signatures. Consequently, these arrangements bolster Staghorn's message of sustainability and water conservation. It's certainly an important cause for the band. Staghorn addresses this in Wormwood III's dialogue. Though, if you're more interested in just the instrumental, the band has something for you too.
Staghorn also spoke on the narrative of the album saying, "This record, like our last, has a narration/story that settles within the confines of the music. Much like a movie score, with this instrumental track, we aim to disjoint the story and the message from the music for people to enjoy the nuances of the music itself. We never offered this option with the first record but we had many people remark how much they loved the music and would love to hear it instrumental."
They continued to elaborate on how Staghorn's music will evolve in the future explaining, "At first, I had discourse with this as I intended the music to be enjoyed as it's complete composition including the narrative… Then I realized that when they release a movie score… They don't have the dialogue with the music… It is instrumental! So, from now on, our records will be released with both a complete composition with story and effects as well as an instrumental version for folks to enjoy without the interjection of the story!"
Listen to an exclusive stream of the instrumental version of Wormwood III now. The version featuring the dialogue will also be available to listen to upon its release. Pick up vinyl copies of Wormwood III from Staghorn's Bandcamp page or get an exclusive color from Shuga Records. Find Staghorn on Facebook as well.
Staghorn has some upcoming shows, see them on tour if you can!
June 19 – Springfield, IL @ The Black sheep w/ LUME
June 20 – Rock Island, IL – Rock Island Supper Club w/ Cloud Rat and Closet Witch
June 21 – Lincoln, NE @ Duffy’s Tavern
June 23 – Chicago, IL @ Francisco FunHouse
July 5 – Urbana, IL @ Audiofeed Festival – Black Sheep Stage
September 13 – Hamburg, DE @ Astro Stube
September 15 – Ninove, BE @ Cafe Gonzo
September 16 – Ghent, BE @ Kinky Star
September 18 – Montreuil, FR @ La Comedia
September 20 – Bristol, UK @ The Louisiana w/ yndi halda
September 21 – Canterbury, UK @ UCA Union Bar w/ yndi halda
September 22 – London, UK – Omeara
September 23 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club w/ yndi halda
October 19 – Indianapolis, IN @ Indiana State Brewery Post – POST. Festival
October 23 – Birmingham, AL @ The Firehouse
October 24 – Atlanta, GA @ The Bakery
October 25 – Savannah, GA @ The Jinx
October 27 – Gainesville, FL @ THE FEST
November 3 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk
November 5 – Colorado Springs, CO @ Triple Nickel
November 7 – Calgary, AB @ The Palomino w/ yndi halda
November 10 – Vancouver, BC @ The Wise Hall
November 11 – Seattle, WA @ Vera Project w/ yndi halda
November 12 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir w/ yndi halda