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Local act Emelo purposely measures out its indie pop in short, sweet dollops

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Emelo with Ben Kilgore and Daniel Walcher
9 p.m. Friday
VZD's Restaurant and Club
4200 N. Western
www.vzds.com
524-4203
$5

The guys of Oklahoma City indie-pop act Emelo might be megastars if they weren't so damned practical.

"We love making music and playing shows, but a national tour is not even a possibility at this point," said keyboard player Steve Goss.

"Only one of us isn't married," added singer and chief songwriter Ryan Walker, who also owns Shoe Gypsy. "Most of us have kids or kids on the way. We are just all very rooted here. That means not playing tons of shows or touring the country, but if we are enjoying it, well, that's my main goal: to just like what we are doing."

It's the collective sentiment from the humble, levelheaded group, but Emelo has achieved greater success than most bands can match.

Emelo's debut, "Tranquilizers, Brain Screwdrivers and a Book Full of Cheery Poems," streeted in 2007 to great reception, as did the 2009 follow-up, "Looking on the Bright Side." Both reside in some cosmic universe between Death Cab for Cutie, Snow Patrol and Wilco, and not only music fans, but television networks, took notice. Tracks from both albums have landed on shows as varied as "Scrubs" and "The Hills," and seeing where the songs land is always a fun experience.

"It's funny hearing the songs on TV," Goss said. "You remember writing that part, you remember all that process going into the song and recording it. Then seeing it as the soundtrack to some 'Real World' moment that you would have never imagined, you just think back to where it came from in the first place."

But for all the noise they make on the tube, there's rarely a peep heard from the group otherwise. It's a product of both design and hard luck, although it makes concerts all the more special.

"Since 'Looking on the Bright Side' was released, we've played all of two shows," Goss said.

"We don't play that often," Walker said. "This is our annual show. I've probably taken it to the extreme, but I just always wanted there to be a reason for us playing a gig."

Despite maintaining a low profile, the guys keep busy practicing and writing material, taking a little time away from their full-time jobs and families for the simple pleasure of making music, gracious for the opportunity to do as much as they can. 

"I'm just thankful. A lot of people don't have an outlet like this," Goss said, "It's a release at the end of the day."

"And I don't know that we'd be able to do this anywhere else, actually," Walker added. "The pace of Oklahoma life is what allows us to do this. It's easier to do more things ... to pursue art on top of your normal life and job."

Emelo aims to record a new album in the near future; much of the material is already written. Real-world limitations do little in hindering the band's enthusiasm for the future.

"I feel like there is a lot of anticipation and energy here for what's to come," Walker said, before joking. "Maybe we'll go tour Japan."

HITTING THE PAVEMENT
Emelo's music isn't the only thing that's appeared on television in the past year. Keyboard player Steve Goss won the opportunity to play with '90s alt-rock icons Pavement on NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" on Sept. 23.

Goss entered the "Play Guitar with Pavement" contest with a cover of the "Wowee Zowee" track "Grave Architecture," although he credits his son " who danced around in a gorilla costume as he played the song on the audition video " for clinching the chance at an experience he will never forget.

"They are one of the three bands from that era that still stick with me," Goss said. "I was just excited that they got together for a tour, but to get to meet and play with them, and not only that, but on TV and in New York, it still seems like a dream, or that I watched someone else do it, because it was just that crazy."  

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