With its latest efforts, which include an album, tour and a film documenting said tour, the Los Angeles-based psychedelic Western band Spindrift is burrowing more deeply into the lore and music of the American West.
On the new CD Songs Born of the West, Spindrift evolves from playing music inspired by spaghetti Westerns to playing traditional Western standards, many of them still derived from classics of the silver screen. Bandleader Kirpatrick Thomas spoke about it recently by phone from a tour stop in Joshua Tree, Calif.
Thomas said the new album is “More straight-forward, more broken-down, more folk-driven, more intricate in the storytelling aspect. For some of it, we’ve had to re-arrange music from our albums for a more acoustic setting.”
Still, even while playing such tunes as “Cool Water,” “The Ballad of Paladin,” “Navajo Trail” and “Blood on the Saddle,” the band sounds cinematic, expansive and eerie. And anyone who has seen the band perform live — they’ve performed in Tucson at least twice before — knows the trademark Spindrift sound is trippy, chill-inducing and rattlingly loud.
Thomas says Spindrift began in Newark, Del., in 1992, but six years later moved to Los Angeles to be closer to the music and film industries. Most of the band’s albums have been oriented toward movies. The motion picture The Legend of God’s Gun was inspired by their 2002 album of the same name. The band also has provided the score for such films as Treasure of the Black Jaguar and Legend of the Widower Colby Wallace. The new “neo-Western” indie film Dust Up also features Spindrift on the bulk of its soundtrack.
Their 2011 CD, Classic Soundtracks Vol. 1 featured theme songs for short films, music videos, and movies by eight independent directors, and the results were premiered on cable channel IFC. The music on the record touched on music genres as diverse as Bollywood, science fiction, exploitation films and film noir.
Spindrift is on its fall Ghost Town Tour, tracing the history of Western music and cinema through Southern California, Nevada and Arizona. Before the band gets to Tucson, Thomas said, it will have played in Elmont, Nev., at the Salton Sea, and in Yuma. After leaving the Old Pueblo, dates are scheduled in Tombstone and Bisbee. Naturally, a film crew is shooting the trip for a music documentary to follow.
The band is set to play this Thursday, Nov. 1, at La Cocina in downtown’s Old Town Artisans plaza, 201 N. Court Ave. Also on the bill will be Tucson groups Sunny Italy and Connor Gallagher & Louise Le Hir. The music starts at 10 p.m. Admission is free, although donations will be gratefully accepted.