Long Island rockish post hardcore band CRASH THE CALM are gearing up to release a new album this Fall, and today we’re stoked to give you the first proper teaser in the form of their new single and music video called “My Nowhere”. The upcoming album follows the inhabitants of a fictional town called “Nowhere”, a devastated place ravaged by the Dust Bowl, whose citizens try to piece their lives back together. Lead single “My Nowhere” puts emo tinged guitars and throttling distortion to work, communicating the cyclical pain of being addicted to your own tragedy.
The year is 1930. A candle is lit in church to illuminate the choir’s sheet music. The candle gets knocked over, the church burns to the ground with a woman inside, and along with it a town withers as massive sky-blackening storms threaten to swallow the earth whole. The inhabitants barely hang onto hope, wondering if the god they’ve been praying to has turned its back on them and left them behind… Welcome to A Town Named Nowhere.
The sophomore full-length from Long Island post-hardcore outfit Crash The Calm, A Town Named Nowhere transports the listener to the drought-stricken Southwest of the 1930s with an all-consuming vividness that rivals the scope of an epic period-piece film or great literary classic. Pushing far beyond conventional notions of the “concept album” as we know it, Crash The Calm hasn’t merely brought a fictitious town to life, but instead created an entire world out of sound.
Imagine the brooding, introspective sprawl of millennial classics like Circa Survive’s Juturna or Thrice’s The Alchemy Index crossed with the songcraft and grandeur of The Wall and that’ll give you some sense for the kind of journey A Town Named Nowhere takes you on.
We are the soulless ghosts, the ones that remain…
Volume I introduces the narrative of Nowhere and sets the scene: The land has been laid barren and resolve stripped from the residents who call it home. Innocence lost with the light of a fire; Nowhere is not what it’s been and the time has come for renewal. We meet our characters Clifford, our protagonist; Eleanor, his late wife; George, his brother; and The Pastor, Eleanor’s father and Clifford’s father-in-law. We also meet our narrators, the Dust & Dirt, who share outward perspectives of the inner turmoil of the townspeople.
We sat down with CRASH THE CALM and asked them to share their thoughts on the influential records that shaped their work.
Third Eye Blind – Self Titled
Influenced my lyrical writing and flow. I love the way they wind words and phrases together to push the flow of the music.
Modest Mouse – Good News for people Who Like Bad News
When first writing the songs on Nowhere I was listening to a substantial amount of Modest Mouse which gave me the influence to try different voices and dynamic levels to make the songs feel more organic and less cookie-cutter.
The Wonder Years – Suburbia, I’ve Given You My All and Now I’m Nothing
This record is a concept record structured around Allen Ginsberg’s America I’ve Given You My All. It was the spark that first piqued my curiosity in writing a concept record, especially one drawing parallels between modern experiences and ones from the past.
Ken Burns- The Dust Bowl
A PBS documentary with strong images which reminded me of the smothering conditions that we are currently facing. It was a huge inspiration for pulling the imagery for Nowhere. Although not identical 90 years after this cataclysmic event, we still seem to squander the resources we have, letting the earth poison itself. The chaos and confusion finds new homes in the modern time.
Circa Survive – Violent Waves
A record that influenced my writing style for guitar for our record “A Town Named Nowhere” was the Circa Survive record “Violent Waves”. I wanted to take the approach of creating textural guitar parts that could at first stand out as a main part the listener would hear, but as the part continued have them become more of the rhythmic background that could fill a lot of the space and carry out as a solid texture for the other guitars to have breathing room, allowing for them to add more color to the overall composition of the songs. I feel like a lot of the guitar material on “violent waves” did exactly that, and it was intriguing for me to follow a similar approach when writing a lot of the guitar on “A Town Named Nowhere”.
Eventide – Space Reverb Pedal
Another big influence on my guitar writing and style in which I approached “A Town Named Nowhere” was the use of the Eventide space reverb pedal. After writing for our first record “How’ve You Been”, I wanted to expand my sound in the ability to have more options in capturing specific vibes and textures that at the time I wasn’t able to with the pedals and setup I had originally. I liked what I had but I wanted more freedom and options, almost more “colors” to paint with in a way. The Eventide space reverb pedal was exactly what I was looking for in having numerous options to choose from and the ability to craft each effect the pedal offered to my exact liking in my approach to bringing many of the guitar parts on “A Town Named Nowhere” to life. It allowed me to capture exactly how and what I wanted in expressing specific tones and parts all across the entire record. To say it was a breath of fresh air for me is an understatement and even now I don’t think this pedal has run its course or run out of options I can use going forwards, and I know it has definitely become a big influence and part of my sound not only now but in the future as well.
Balance & Composure – Lost Your Name
After having been introduced to Balance and Composure during The Things We Think We’re Missing era they quickly grew to become one of my favorite bands and I’m lucky to have seen them as often as I did. There’s always something that catches you in the songs, whether it’s a lead line or a vocal hook the music has just pulled me in and Jon’s lyrical content just puts it over the top for me. Lost Your Name specifically was in my head during the writing of the intro riff of My Nowhere.
O’Brother – Your Move
Pat originally got me into O’Brother and Endless Light is definitely my favorite release of theirs so far. The dark and ambient feeling sits like a wave pulsing over the entire song until it just opens up into this massive chest hitting instrumental and final chorus. They have this beautiful way of crafting broad sonic textures that just engulf you, and this record was so hook driven vocally it’s impossible to get out of your head. O’Brother was a huge inspiration when writing the heavier and darker songs on the record, and most prevalently in Devils I think.
Say Anything – …Is A Real Boy
One of the things that always struck me about Say Anything’s “Is A Real Boy” was its original intent to be more or less a theatrical piece. The shifting structure to the music in both key and tempo paired with a dialogue-esque narrative really makes it more than just a collection of songs. That was a feeling that we really wanted to embody in A Town Named Nowhere and I think it came across more in a song like My Nowhere where we shift in dynamics in the bridge and then gradually accelerate into the big outro to match the lyrical composition.
Tesseract – Sonder
This album influenced me significantly during the writing process for “A Town Named Nowhere”. “Sonder” is a great example of how the bass guitar matches the rhythm of the drums while still being its own pronounced groove throughout the mix. Songs like “Devils” and “My Nowhere” are great examples of this influence. Overall the dynamics in “Sonder” makes you feel the emotion of the music which is a huge part of why that album means so much. In “A Town Named Nowhere”, not only can you feel the dynamics but the bass remains very prominent which helps the piece of music sound so full.
everything.is.teeth – Film/Photography
everything.is.teeth is a film/photography account on instagram. How this became influential was due to the nature of having your own esthetic. In this case, the medium of photography tied into the medium of music. The composition of the photos made me feel a certain way; which can relate to the individual songs off of this record. I was able to put my own seasoning with bass which made the album apart from “How’ve You Been” while still having that familiar Crash the Calm sound. I’ve learned that it takes a lot of courage to put your own art out and I hope people can understand and appreciate that.
State Champs – Around the World and Back or Living Proof
Chick Corea Elektrik Band – Self Titled
When asked to join Crash the Calm I quickly realized they had their own unique sound and this intensified as our forthcoming album came together. Since each song on this record is truly like it’s own work of art there were a lot of influences that I pulled from for drumming inspiration. So even though I listed two albums that really led to my contribution to A Town Named Nowhere, I really have to thank every single drummer I’ve met or heard in my 26 years of existence because THEY are the ones who really got the sparks and ideas flying.