Pulling inspiration for the songs from inventors’ lives and their inventions, “Being Empty : Being Filled”, the newest full length from Kansas City’s alt post hardcore / poetry infused indie rock act LISTENER, is a sprawling, ambitious, and very impressive record that serves as a compelling work of a maturing band that offer plenty in return. Both in terms of songcraft and performance, it’s an impressive discovery that refuses to bore for even the shortest of moments.
We have teamed up with the band to give it our full attention, take it as an experience, and give it some proper space with a short interview that reveals some of the inisghtful details on the band’s amazing work. Scroll down to check it out.
Listener’s left-of-center style is difficult to pin down to a particular genre. Call it indie-rock, call it good, old-fashioned rock and roll, or call it what they call it: talk music. Whatever you end up choosing, they won’t mind. They know what they’re doing and they know people are listening.
Listener invites their the audience to experience frenzy and control with a cathartic live show of music and prose. Their performance is equal parts chaos and serenity, and when the noise dissolves into a dense, hushed stillness, a packed venue becomes a bedroom conversation – the kind scarcely afforded us in this life, and cherished all the more because of its rarity.
Each show is a dichotomy, and Listener’s performance peaks within the tension, broken only a handful of times as the band offers warm greetings to familiar faces and dry jokes like comedic relief in a film whose director has to remind you to breathe.
“Being Empty : Being Filled” by LISTENER is available now via the band’s official store and Bandcamp, Sounds of Subterrania, iTunes, Black Basset Records, KingsRoadMerch, Truthseeker Music, smithsfoodgroupdiy, Amazon, and more digital outlets.
LISTENER are hitting European roads in March with Albuquerque, New Mexico’s LEVI THE POET. The trek will be followed by a lengthy US tour with HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS, HOTEL BROOKS, SIENNA SKIES, HEAVY THINGS. See all the dates at the bottom of this article and at this location.
Hey guys! Thanks so much for taking some time with us! How are you? How does it feel to finally release your new record?
Hi! You’ve got Kris Rochelle here from the band Listener. You’re welcome so much! Thanks for thinking of us. I’m doing pretty good myself, just got home from my Tuesday night trivia game at Waldo Pizza. We lost, but I had some pizza…so I won? It feels amazing to have the new record out! It’s been a really long road to getting a new Listener record out there and we’re proud of this one lots.
To be honest with you, “Being Empty : Being Filled” sounds and feels much better than the whole AT THE DRIVE-IN reunion hype and it must feel amazing to be able to channel such power through your specific ambiguous forms and explorations of various moods and styles. You guys have literally evolved and you well deserve a standing ovation! Both as writers and musicians, does it make you feel accomplished?
Wow, what a nice thing to say to someone! Thanks again. I’m not sure if we’re even worthy of being in the same sentence as ATDI! Like I said, I’m super proud of this record. It’s probably my favorite thing I’ve ever worked on and I’m still stoked when I listen to it, I can’t believe we actually made it.
Given your hard to be labeled style and speaking of genres, if you could use only 2 or 3 words to describe it, how would you like your music to be called?
I would like our music to be called rock and roll. Talk and roll is a much cornier version that people seem to like.
What audience is being targeted with this record?
Oh man, I really don’t think we had anyone specific in mind. Dan and I probably thought much more about bringing something to the table that the other person would be stoked on than what our audience would think. So, I guess Dan and I are our own target audience?
Your official press release says each track from the record pulls from personal experience and historical context. Can you expound a bit more on its lyrical concept?
Each song on this album is about a different inventor. Obviously, from listening, you can tell they aren’t simply book reports or essays about the life of the inventor. Whenever you learn about an inventor or anything of a historical nature I think it’s pretty unavoidable to put it somewhat in the context of your life and how you understand the world around you. When Dan went to write about the inventors I think he imagined what it might have been like to be that person, or someone close to that person, and out came the lyrics on the record.
I’m wondering what the process of writing was like? In what ways did these new concepts and compositions reveal to yourself?
Well, Dan had a ton of lyrics written. We were going to make this record in 2015 and then a bunch of S hit the F and it didn’t happen until now. So, he had all these lyrics and I had maybe 1/3 of the music on the album written on various recording devices… mostly voice memos on my phone. Dan and I got together everyday in January and some of February of 2017 and just smashed our ideas together until they worked and then did demo recordings of the whole album.
Ok, so you’re hitting European roads in March. What are your associations with our alt music scenes and what are you excited about regarding the trek?
We have some good friends in bands in Europe and we’ve toured with a good deal of European acts. It’s always sort of mind-blowing when we tour Europe because they treat people so much better than people in the U.S. do, at least as far as hospitality and in-general treating bands like human beings. I’d say the thing I’m most excited about is seeing some old friends and playing our new record for the people who have consistently been coming to our shows even though the last time we put out new music was 2013!
Considering your previous shows, what’s been the highlight of the tour so far?
We played the best show we’ve ever played together as a band in Houston, Texas on the last tour. It was UNFORGETTABLE.
Lastly, tell us a bit about your alt music scene. How has it evolved and what local artists would you recommend us to check out and follow this year?
Our alt music scene is just like any other alt music scene, there’s a few amazing bands and a lot of bands trying to sound like those few amazing bands.
Bands to watch out for:
1. Levi the Poet – Just put out a new record and it’s awesome.
2. Everett – Basically everything you want and nothing you don’t.
3. Jon Terrey – I know it’s sort of a cop-out because he’s in Listener, but Jon is putting out a record this month and it’s super duper duper duper bad ass.
Awesome. Thanks so much for you time! Take care and good luck on the road! The last words are yours.
Thanks so much for taking the time to put these questions together. I hope this year finds you enjoying your life more than you ever have with renewed vigor and excitement for the days ahead. May you be blessed and rooted and become ever more generous with your possessions and your time. Take care out there. Excelsior!
LISTENER live dates:
1 March (NL) – Rotterdam (Rotown)
2 March (BE) – Antwerp (Den Englantier)
3 March (FR) – Angers (Jokers Pub)
4 March (FR) – Dunquerque (4 Ecluses)
5 March (UK) – Brighton (The Prince Albert)
6 March (UK) – Leeds (Brudenell Social Club)
7 March (UK) – Belfast (Voodoo)
8 March (IRL) – Dublin (Gypsy Rose)
9 March (UK) – Bristol (The Louisiana)
10 March (UK) – London (Oslo)
11 March (FR) – Orleans (Astrolabe)
12 March (FR) – Paris (Espace)
13 March (DE) – Dortmund (FZW)
15 March (DE) – Berlin (Kantine am Berghain)
16 March (DE) – Dresden (Beatpol)
17 March (CZ) – Prague (Underdogs)
18 March (HU) – Budapest (Duerer Kert)
19 March (AT) – Vienna (Rhiz)
20 March (AT) – Linz (Stadtwerkstatt)
21 March (DE) – Munich (Backstage)
22 March (CH) – Winterhur (Gaswerk)
23 March (DE) – Karlsruhe (Jubez)
24 March (DE) – Darmstadt (Oetinger Villa)
26 March (DE) – Hamburg (Hafenklang)
4/27 RICHMOND, VA – Capital Ale House
4/28 RALEIGH, NC – Imurj
4/29 ASHEVILLE, NC – The Grey Eagle
4/30 NASHVILLE, TN – Topgolf
5/1 SHREVEPORT, LA – Bears on Fairfield
5/2 HOUSTON, TX – Warehouse Live
5/3 LAREDO, TX – The Club
**5/4 Abilene, TX – My Place (headlining show)
5/6 SAN ANTONIO, TX – Jack’s
5/8 SPRINGFIELD, MO – Outland Ballroom
5/9 OMAHA, NE – The Waiting Room
5/10 DES MOINES, IA – Wooly’s
5/11 IOWA CITY, IA – Gabe’s
5/12 SIOUX FALLS, SD – Sioux Falls Arena
**5/13 Burnsville, MN – The Garage (headlining show)
**5/15 Springfield, IL – Radon Lounge (headlining show)
5/22 LAWRENCE, KS – Granada Theatre
5/23 DENVER, CO – Marquis Theater
5/24 SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Urban Lounge
5/25 SAN DIEGO, CA – House of Blues
5/26 LOS ANGELES, CA – The Echo
5/27 ANAHEIM, CA – House of Blues
5/28 PHOENIX, AZ – The Rebel Lounge
5/29 ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Launchpad
5/30 LUBBOCK, TX – Jake’s Backroom
5/31 DALLAS, TX – RBC
6/1 Wichita, KS – River Festival
6/2 GREELEY, CO – Moxi Theater
6/3 COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – The Black Sheep
6/5 BILLINGS, MT – Pub Station
6/6 MISSOULA, MT – Top Hat Lounge
6/7 SPOKANE, WA – The Big Dipper
6/8 BOISE, ID – The Olympic
6/9 PORTLAND, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
6/10 SEATTLE, WA – Chop Suey
6/11 EUGENE, OR – Hifi Music Hall
6/12 SAN FRANCISCO, CA – DNA Lounge
6/13 SANTA CRUZ, CA – The Catalyst
6/14 REEDLEY, CA – The Wakehouse
6/15 LAS VEGAS, NV – The Beauty Bar