Orchestral arrangements and lush harmonies help push the indie rock of Oregon band The Cabin Project out of the mundane, fully forming something emotive and hair-raising. Lead singer Katie Sawicki was a Brooklyn folkie, and that period served as an effective apprenticeship. She's carried all of that songwriting know-how into the band environment, and it works wonderfully. The band performs at The Flycatcher on Thursday, a benefit for Mariposa Sin Fronteras, an organization that provides support to LGBTQ people in detention. We chatted with them about the five albums that changed their lives in advance of the show.
With QAF on Thursday, November 16 at 8:30 p.m., at The Flycatcher, 340 E. Sixth St., Tucson; 520-207-9251; $10, 21+.
Warpaint—Warpaint: Warpaint is one of those bands that captured lo-fi rock really well in their first few albums, but when it came to their self-titled release, they were able to incorporate well-produced soundscapes that uplifted their previous themes. The Cabin Project has been influenced greatly by this album and its beautiful musical layers, powerful drums, and vocals drenched in reverb. It was also the first album that captured a collective sound founding Cabin Project members Katie and Zanny were both inspired by and helped to guide the production and arrangements of Unfolded.—The Cabin Project
The National—Boxer: By the time I figured out that touring and performing alone was not my jam, my ears longed for fuller sounds that captivated me. Boxer walked into my life at the perfect time. I wanted to build songs from the ground up, rooting arrangement in the strengths of the people I was playing with; Boxer does just that. It brought to life the role that atmospheric and ambient electric guitar could play in creating waves of sound for the listener to brood in. My writing sensibility also loves choruses that gather up all the folds of a song and deliver you home; and their choruses slay me every time.—Katie Sawicki
The Bad Plus—The Rite of Spring: Although, I enjoy all symphonic recordings of Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Sprin,g" contemporary jazz trio The Bad Plus' version is my favorite. Stravinsky's piece was premiered in Paris in 1913 and originally composed for ballet with controversial choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky. A riot took place in the audience at the premier and its avant-garde nature and vulgar dance moves offended the audience so greatly that they stormed out of the theater. The Bad Plus version inhabits the spirit of the original premier, with incredible and shocking piano, bass and drum performances and upholds the legacy of what is considered one of the most influential musical compositions of the 20th century. I love it because of all of that.—Zanny Geffel
Cake—Prolonging the Magic: I started listening to this album with my mom while we cooked dinner together. Some of the songs on this album really resonated with me musically. The first song I ever tried to learn by ear and play on my violin was "Where Would I Be." I copied the vocal line on my violin because to me it really emulated an otherworldly beauty that I really wanted to try and capture for myself. Since I was classically trained, it was extremely important for my growth as a musician to start to find that beauty within myself. After I learned a couple more songs off of this record, I began to improvise and write my own violin and guitar lines. When I listen to this album today, it reminds me of my mom, making dinner, and the start of my musical progress.—Jean Master
Bjork—Post: This album ended up in my CD collection when I started my first job which allowed me to be self sufficient. The first song, right off the bat, the lyrics were "stand up, you've got to manage." I would listen to the album on repeat in my car, and each time over the years, the words would resonate in different and more profound ways. Musically, it was inspiring. I had given up playing music for a welding career, but it was always apparent that I shouldn't have given up playing. My songwriting and playing style wasn't conventional, and I felt it was too far from "commercially viable" because it was weird. But, with Bjork's album, it showed me how something could be strange, new, and sometimes completely bizarre, yet still be moving and artistic.—Kelly Clifton