Title: Pigeon Diaries
Release Date: 17 April 2020
Formats: vinyl 12inch EP
Playing Time: 17:12
Download the record in mp3 format for promotional use only HERE
Established in San Francisco, CA in 2002, Enablers’ subsequent five LPs and four EPs have signaled a transcendent approach to “Spoken Word” music.
Enablers began when Pete Simonelli asked guitarist Kevin Thomson to collaborate on a book & musical project. Joe Frank Byrnes accepted the invitation to play the drums, and guitarist Joe Goldring joined the band shortly thereafter.
Since the 2004 release of their first LP, End Note (Neurot Recordings), Enablers have established a new direction in spoken word music. The prose and poetry of Pete Simonelli is intricately woven into the dynamic interplay of guitarists Joe Goldring and Kevin Thomson, and punctuated by the compulsive and precise drumming of a changing corps of drummers, among them such illustrious names as Yuma Joe Burns, Neil Turpin, Doug Scharin, and now Sam Ospovat. Musically, the compositions range from melodic minimalism to heavy, rhythmically challenging thickets of sound.
Following their first release, End Note, came Output Negative Space (Neurot Recordings, 2004 and 2006, respectively). In 2008, their third LP, Tundra (Exile on Mainstream and Majic Wallet [US]), was released along with two improvisational EPs: The Achievement (Awesome Vistas) and Now You Can Answer My Prayers (Lancashire and Somerset). With an almost entirely DIY approach to touring and their reliably intense live performances, Enablers have pleased fans in the underground of the European continent and the UK, earning much credibility along the way as a constantly visible, working band.
In 2011 Blown Realms and Stalled Explosions (Exile On Mainstream + Lancashire and Somerset), their fourth release, found Enablers evolving even more. The record’s textural and evocative sound realized a new direction while accentuating the singular elements of musicianship and imagination that made the previous releases so engaging.
The 2019 LP, Zones— a cooperational release by Lancashire and Somerset, Exile on Mainstream and Broken Clover Records — is a further example of Enablers’ push for musical expansion and growth. Zones represents a band that is increasingly more comfortable with experimentation and improvisation, while continuing to embrace all the musical elements that have established their sound and style for close to twenty years. It is a fully realized record and a continuation of the band’s refusal to be pinned down by category or genre.
2020 now sees a very special release: 17 minutes of pure Enablers done across three continents and 7 cities.
Pigeon Diaries, and why not? Spend 17 minutes in any urban area and see if you don’t write a few yourself. Pete’s in Queens, Sam is in Brooklyn, Joe is in Marseille, Kevin’s in Oakland; they’ve got pigeons covered. But how to make music as a band? Its a bitch. Enablers played the experimental card way back in ’04 on End Note with “Steinbeck Country” and “Joe”, and now they are at it again. Using the tools at their disposal, they took another stab. In this case, Joe sent the others nearly half an hour of five contiguous pieces of music recorded in five different locations spanning the globe from China to San Francisco to Sicily. Pete and Sam laid a vocal and rhythm track to the suite directly, and Kevin made a multi-tracked pastiche without hearing what Pete and Sam had done… a sort of Exquisite Corpse. The result is a seventeen-minute amble through their musical downtowns, replete with skylines, equinoxes, cops, loss, beauty, hope, and of course pigeons.
The record is made in a strictly limited edition of 500 with a hand-drawn etching on side B. The piece has been carved directly into a lacquer master disc by David Hand of Lancashire and Somerset, who also is resposnible for taking cover artwork to the limits. NO LESS than 100 different covers have been printed – each in an edition of 5 total units. You get what you get!
Joe Goldring (former Swans, Toiling Midgets, Touched by a Janitor) on guitar
Kevin Robert Thomson (former Nice Strong Arm, Timco, Touched by a Janitor, now Hazel Atlas) also on guitar
poet, writer, and narrator Pete Simonelli on vocals.
Rounding out the line-up is drummer Sam Ospovat (Ava Mendoza, Brendan Seabrook, Beep!, tUnE-yArDs, William Winant).
THE PRESS SEZ:
selected German press quotes:
VISIONS 07/2019 – 9/12 Punkte: “Manchmal wird ein Album zu einem Ereignis, ohne es zu wollen. Als sich das Quartett aus San Francisco zu den Aufnahmen für ihre sechste Platte traf, standen wahrscheinlich einfach nur die Sterne genau richtig. Im atmosphärischen Titelstück, das sich textlich auf einer nächtlichen Straßenkreuzung abspielt, ist die Szenerie mit Worten und Tönen dermaßen perfekt gemalt, dass einem die elf Minuten des Stückes wie ein Augenaufschlag vorkommen.”
OX 07/2019 – 9/10 Punkte: “Neun Songs mäandern ungemein fesselnd durch eine jazzig-noisige Improvisationslandschaft, mal sind sie leise, akustisch fast, dann wieder bauen sie sich drohend auf wie eine Gewitterfront, poltern laut los, nur um unmittelbar danach wieder in ruhigeres Fahrwasser zurückzukehren. Ausnahmeband, Ausnahmeplatte – immer noch, immer wieder.”
ECLIPSED 04/2015 – 8/10 Punkte: Auch auf ihrem mittlerweile fünften Album dringt eine ungewöhnliche Art von Musik aus den Boxen: Simonellis eindringlicher Spoken-Word-Vortrag erinnert an die rastlosen Sprecharien eines Henry Rollins in ruhigeren Momenten wiederum an die Poesie-Lesungen Jim Morrisons. Das Power Trio hinter ihm changiert zwischen wütendem Punkrock und mit Ambient-Momenten gespickten Postrock, der gerade in den elegischen Passagen an Genre-Größen wie Tortoise erinnert.
WESTZEIT 04/2015 – 4/5 Punkte: Poesie. Gepaart mit IndieRock. Wow. Die Kalifornier sind fleißig und präsentieren anno 2015 mit ihrem sechsten Longplayer in sieben Jahren eine perfekte Symbiose von Musik und gesprochenem Wort. Da lohnt es sich, mehr als ein Ohr reinzuwerfen, gerne an Wein-getränkten Frühlingsabenden, an denen alle anderen woanders sitzen und miteinander lachen. Inklusive apokalyptischem Finale. Gänsehaut.
OX 05/2015: …im Kern instrumentaler Postrock, der sich wie Jazz anfühlt, ohne Jazz zu sein. Lakonisch erzählt Simonelli seine Texte, sein Rhythmus ergibt sich aus den Sätzen. Und obwohl Texte und Musik auch losgelöst voneinander funktionieren würden, entsteht die Magie der Enablers doch erst in der Kombination – ein erneut sehr stimmungsvolles Album, das mich an die fantastische ‚Cubist Blues‘-Platte von Alan Vega und Ben Vaughn erinnert.
MUSIKANSICH.DE: Das US-amerikanische Quartett Enablers ist anders. Ihre Songs sind keine Songs im traditionellen Sinne, sondern vertonte Gedichte. Wobei, auch nicht ganz… Der Dreh- und Angelpunkt der Band ist Lyriker Pete Simonelli, der seine Dichtungen und Geschichten äußerst leidenschaftlich in bester Spoken-Word-Manier vorträgt, während der Rest der Band diese auf interessante Weise untermalt. Ein derartiges Vorhaben kann leicht prätentiös wirken. Doch den Enablers ist es auf ihren bisherigen vier Alben gelungen eine tolle Symbiose aus gesprochenem Wort und Musik zu erschaffen. Man kann einem Label wie Exile on Mainstream für den Mut danken, so etwas zu veröffentlichen!
selected English press quotes:
INDY METAL VAULT July 2019: “Enablers have a sound all their own, though. The fluttering interplay between guitarists Joe Goldring and Kevin Thompson and the tight but emotive drumming of Sam Ospovat provide a backdrop for Pete Simonelli’s sharp tongue that ebbs dissonantly and flows serenely along with his lyrical slice-of-life tales.”
GHOST CULT July 2019: “Most people’s experience of ‘spoken word’ music, outside of the Rap genre, is Jim Morrison‘s ‘American Prayer’. Beat Poetry, for this is essentially the format, is a hugely involving yet highly personal style which often resounds with the listener. This is most definitely the case with Enablers: a San Francisco post-Punk four-piece whose beguiling, occasionally fiery music is set to the poetry and narrative of frontman Pete Simonelli. […] a compelling listen from beginning to end and a supreme example of an immediate, magnetic form of expression.”
SOUNDBLAB July 2019: “Enablers function as a true guitar-driven post-rock band, anywhere on the line between Slint and Godspeed! You Black Emperor, making that link between spoken word and music an even more complex thing to achieve. And yes, they do achieve it!”
From Jack Chuter’s Storm Static Sleep – A Pathway Through Post-Rock:(Enablers’) music lands between the slippery harmonic surfaces of early 90s post-rock and the softened elegance of the more modern incarnations of it, the guitars dragged like a ribbon by the elusive poetic imagery of Pete Simonelli’s spoken word.
From Jordan Mamone, writing for Noisey: Enablers’ snaking guitar telepathy is equally distinctive…Joe Goldring and Kevin Thomson (have) refined an intuitive vocabulary of filigreed arpeggios, needling leads, and grand crescendos that roil like the vast Pacific….Simonelli has accomplished that rarest of feats: enhancing slow-burning, noir-ish rock with unapologetic poetry that actually flatters rather than overshadows the songs…(Ospovat’s) improvisational arsenal of rolls, taps, and flutters allows for spontaneity without sacrificing impact.
Drowned in Sound writer Mike Diver described them as “a confrontational band, a visceral beast of eight legs and one mouth that never quits, its stream of freeform hang-loose lyricism owing a debt in style, perhaps, to literary forefathers”.
NY Times best-selling author, Beth Lisick, in The SF Weekly described the band as, “visceral spoken word backed by perhaps the world’s best power trio.”
WIRE – review (May 2015 issue): Enablers’ true calling is to rock out.”
ROCK A ROLLA – review (Feb/March 2015 issue): Intelligent, driven and offering a uniquely bleak insight into modern living. Enablers continue to astound with every step and giant leap.
DROWNED IN SOUND – 8/10 review (April 2015): It has long been a treasured fact, for those in the know, that Enablers are one of the finest underground rock bands in the world…Not only is it a very fine record – almost indisputably the group’s best to date – but it also acts as an expert guide to the multi-faceted Enablers sound. Simonelli is always reliable, a storyteller who has managed to adopt beat stylings without alienating listeners whose literary interests reside elsewhere entirely….Enablers have grafted their way towards a post-punk approach that enables them to accentuate their core attributes whilst simultaneously articulating clearer than ever the restless energy that has always been at the heart of their music.
THE SKINNY – 5/5 review (April 2015): Mirroring his performance-poet mastery of cadence and timing, Enablers’ well-travelled musicians whip up a storm of post-rock dynamics that emphasise his undertones with power and dexterity, often adding up to majesty….The best is saved ‘til last, however – Enopolis’ layered textures underwrite a spirited percussive chaos, stabbing and slashing at fractured bleakness to create something uniqely resonant. Both gut-rupturingly visceral and cerebrally complex, Enablers are a remarkable band.
SOUNDBLAB – review (April 2015): There’s a steadily building momentum as guitars cascade and vocalist Pete Simonelli intones, shouts and passionately dispenses his ever capable lyricism. It’s a world inhabited by troubled streets, police cars, wet matches and empty cans; the capacity for violence hanging in the air but with glimpses of something beautiful lingering under the darkness.
ECHOES AND DUST – review (March 2015): With a more sparse approach more than ever Enablers live or die by the quality of singer/narrator Pete Simonelli’s writing. Thankfully he’s an impressive wordsmith, portraying a cast of no hopers and down and outers living their lives less than well with a novelist’s ear for detail… If you’ve ever craved a band that did what Slint did on those Spiderland tracks and took it in weird and wonderful narrative directions you’ll probably already be aware of Enablers. And if not you might just have found your new favourite band.
End Note (CD 2004, Neurot Recordings)
New Moon (7” split with Red Panda, 2005, Lancashire and Somerset)
Output Negative Space (CD 2006 released on Neurot Recordings; re-issued on vinyl by Lancashire and Somerset, 2012)
The Achievement (EP 2007, Awesome Vistas)
Tundra (CD 2008 Majic Wallet & Exile on Mainstream, LP Lancashire and Somerset)
Now You Can Answer My Prayers (EP 2009, Lancashire and Somerset,)
Blown Realms and Stalled Explosions (LP/CD, 2011, Exile on Mainstream/Lancashire and Somerset dual release)
Berlinesque (EP, 2014, digital release on Bandcamp)
The Rightful Pivot (LP/CD, 2015, Lancashire and Somerset/Exile on Mainstream dual release, Atypeek digital)
Pigeon Diaries (EP, 2019, digital release on Bandcamp, vinyl to be expected later in 2019)
Zones (LP, 2019, Lancashire and Somerset/Exile on Mainstream dual release).
Pigeon Diaries (EP, 2020, vinyl version)