Colour Revolt with The City Lives and Coney Island
7 p.m. Thursday
8911 N. Western
It's been a quick, but rocky, road for indie-rock upstart Colour Revolt. Over the course of its five-year career, most things have tended to come in reverse.
Playing Thursday at The Conservatory, the Mississippi-based group was picked up by Interscope Records for its debut EP, subsequently jumping to the smaller Fat Possum label for its first true full-length before finding its current home on Dualtone Records, which released its sophomore effort this fall.
The five-piece has been through major lineup changes " six musicians have come and gone " but with all the label conflicts and internal strife, front man Jesse Coppenbarger still remains as optimistic as ever.
"I feel like, in a lot of ways, we've been lucky with the opportunities we have had, but the opportunities now, well, they just feel endless," he said.
The initial breaks and still-starry horizon are the direct result of a sound that dares to be defined. Falling between the lines of alternative, rock and independent music has proven to do more good than bad.
"At times, it can be hard not fitting in so neatly, but it's also kind of freeing "¦ not being pigeonholed into one category, that is," Coppenbarger said. "Hell, we even have a hard time describing ourselves. Freeing yourself from any sort of label, in my mind, is a good thing. More doors come swinging open for us."
The band's pliable style has afforded Colour Revolt the opportunity to tour with acts as varied as Dinosaur Jr., Explosions in the Sky, Black Lips and Brand New. Its taste for chugging guitars, dark layering and fiercely sincere lyrics fit in best with the latter, and the group has found itself forming its own sub-scene along with Brand New and fellow Deep South natives Manchester Orchestra.
Earnestness is the greatest weapon of those acts, and crafting sometimes sweetly brutal " even vicious " narratives has become Colour Revolt's calling card. Fans adore that sincerity in an age where empty, shapeless lyrics have become the norm.
"For me, the best songwriters are the ones that can attach small personal moments in with bigger ideas ... having a small relationship with a greater meaning and plot. If you can get beyond yourself as a writer and make it something more than just writing about yourself, it becomes so much more significant," Coppenbarger said. "It's possible to turn those journalistic scribblings into something relatable. Nobody wants to listen to someone whine. They want substance. People lose directness with their audience "¦ that sense of having some sort of connection there. At some point, people are going to call the bullshit and stop caring about what you have to say."
The group's crowds have yet to quit caring about what Colour Revolt has to say, and the band has returned the favor for that loyalty by issuing a free download of its current album, "The Cradle," with an advance ticket purchase. That's something it wouldn't have been able to do on Interscope or Fat Possum.
"You know, we never felt the pressure of sounding a certain way with our records or anything like that on a label, but there were certainly things you couldn't do," he said. "We wouldn't have been able to do something like this before, not for all the locked doors in the way. We can do more now than we had ever been able to do. It's limitless."
For now, Colour Revolt will continue to tour, while looking to get back into the studio for a new disc sometime in 2011. Until then, the guys will just drift across the country, remembering to enjoy the little things, like Coppenbarger does when playing the album's lead track " a fitting narrative of life lived in a tour van " at shows.
"With '8 Years,' I get to try and shove as many words into the smallest amount of time as possible," he said, laughing. "It's a lot of fun. Plus, I get to say 'c**t' without most people realizing that it's even happening."