If you caught the Jen Says Kwahs at the 2008 Pitch Music Showcase, you were probably bummed to hear that the Lawrence indie rock quartet was on its last legs. From the ashes of that superb group, singer/guitarist Marty Hillard has formed Cowboy Indian Bear with C.J. Calhoun (formerly of Kennedy Luck Club) and drummer Beau Bruns.
The trio will unveil its debut three-song EP in a couple weeks with shows at the Jackpot (Feb. 13) and the Brick (Feb. 14) as well as an in-store performance at Streetside Records (Feb. 14, 6 p.m.). You can get a jump on the action, however, by trekking towards the red-light district known as the Eighth Street Taproom (8th and New Hampshire in downtown Lawrence) tonight to catch CIB with Omaha's Thunder Power - a snazzy, female-fronted indie pop act that should knock the argyle socks off Camera Obscura junkies.
We have an advance copy of Cowboy Indian Bear's EP in our grubby little paws, and it's a charmer. With a cool percussive underbelly and tremolo-soaked guitars chiming, all three songs build layer-upon-layer of cool and calculated catchiness. Casual listeners might hear it as an artsy Death Cab or a less emo Minus the Bear, but it's pretty unique stuff that doesn't bear the usual stretch marks associated with making hip, offbeat, indie rock in the modern Pitchfork era. Plus, Marty and C.J. sing real purty together.
All the while maintaining their band name has nothing to do with the Village People, CIB reports that it is about halfway done recording a debut LP with engineer Josh Browning at Hey Bulldog! Studios in Williamstown, Kansas.
Look for a fall release on that one and an upcoming feature article wherein we entertain the boys at a local hookah bar.
-- Richard Gintowt