One Df Those Bands That People Don't Go To The Manhattan To Drink Dunns
I sobel was once known as Aberdeen but dis
covered the existence of several other
Aberdeens and switched to something a tad
more exotic. The band consists of Clay Jordan on
guitar, Lara "No U" Rossman on keyboards, bass
and vocals, Howard Hudson on guitar and vocals,
Lucas Jensen on drums and Elise Jensen on
trumpet and miscellania. ("She's the Lawrence
Tolhurst of the band," says har big brother, 'The
I recently had the distinct pleasure of sitting
with Jordan, Rossman, Hudson and the elder
Jensen—four starkly contrasting personalities
with a healthy degree of conflict in their musical
visions—as we attempted to crack the sweet,
gracefully sad nut that is IsobeL (Before I forget:
Until the band's long-mulled-over debut pops its
head out of the basement, contact Jensen at 546-
2941 or e-mail email@example.com for free
Flagpole: So the impetus of this conversation is
the fact that you're getting ready to open for a
band called Grandaddy. Could you fill us in on the
Grandaddy phenomenon, for the uninitiated among
Lucas Jensen: I think they've been together
for eight years. They're from Modesto, California.
They're starting to build up a buzz in the Flaming
Lips Soft Bulletin aftermath. The album [The
Sophtware Slump, on V2] is a good synthesis of
Pavement, The Soft Bulletin and I think there's
some Radiohead floating around in there, too. Not
to sound too fawning, but it's one of my favorite
records of the year, and some of the other people
in the band feel the same way that I do.
FP: I've always thought it must take a huge
amount of discipline to play "slo-glo." Do you ever
feel like busting out with "Psychotic Reaction " or
Clay Jordan: Well, first of all, any musical term
is essentially arbitrary, so I guess you could
describe our music as "slo-glo," but we don't stick
to any one genre. We have harder stuff, too. We're
louder in some parts and slower in others. Mainly,
we're about atmospherics, texture rnd attention
to detail. Aside from that... It's human nature to
want to categorize things, but I think we're very
Lara Rossman: At almost every practice, one
of us will start playing a pop riff. We've decided
that we do write really good pop songs, and it's
songs. The conflicting passion and perfectionism
can be frustrating.
LJ: It's a frustrating, slow-going process. We
have hundreds of riffs on tape that are probally
just going to sit there.
Howard Hudson: When I come in with my own
idea, everyone else's input almost always makes it
better in the end.
CJ: Most artists create subconsciously. What
we create happens in practice, not so much with
else the way my favorite bands have affected me.
You drift into a quandary if you try to measure
success by how many records you sell That's a
LJ: Being able to afford the kind of high
quality hookers that... did I just say that? Just
the indie-rock nod, the equivalent of the "wash
board dance" at a jam-rock show. Guys wearing
button-down shirts and khakis bobbing their
heads and my friends heckling me in the crowd.
That's all I need. To be one of those bands that
people don\ go to the Manhattan to drink during.
That's my level of success.
FP: Who's playing whom in the movie.
HH: I think John Cusack's gonna play Clay.
Matthew Broderick would be the first choice, but I
think he'd turn it down.
LR: I could probably be Joan Cusack if Clay
was going to be John. I think I'm wacky enough.
Julia-Louis Dreyfuss is another person. She's a
great actress and hilarious, and I think I'm pretty
LJ: I m stuck when it comes to me. There
aren't enough husky actors in Hollywood.
HH: Clint Howard.
LJ: Clint Howard?! Are you serious? He may be
one of the two ugliest people on the face of the
planet. Clint Howard?! I like that guy who played
Grover in Kicking And Screaming. I'd like him to
play me, just 'cause I like him.
WHO: C-randaddy, Bright Eyes,
WHERE: 40 Watt Club
WHEN: Tuesday, July 18
HOW MUCH: $6
fun to write them. For me, it's been a challenge to
write these slower, hazier songs. Each instrument
plays a more important role in the song, and it's
important to get everything right as a lyricist
CJ: We do write decent pop songs, but I'm
trying to veer away from that. Pop has already
been done in every format. There're still some
great pop bands in Athens who are trying to push
the envelope, but it's kinda been pushed to the
limit. Why not experiment with different sounds?
FP: The songwriting process, as I understand it,
begins with a vision and ends with c manifestation:
an actuality. How deep is the canyon between
thought and expression where Isobel is concerned?
LR: It's rare that am, one of us will bring in a
completed song. It begins as an idea, but we all
try to weave our passion for music through the
what someone's brought in. It comes immediately,
and then you refine it from there. The four main
members write all our songs together.
LJ: We used to actually name our songs after
bands that we thought they sounded like, but I
think we're past the point where we can go
"Here's the Spiritualized song" or "Here's the Cure
song." We're a lot more cohesive now.
FP: What's your definition of success?
LR: I guess mine would be to not only love the
music I'm playing, but to have others love it as
welL Even if it's just five seconds of one song, to
have it touch someone else's life. That's my defini
tion of success.
HH: To create something tnat you're happy
with even if no one else likes it. To be idealistic
CJ: Hopefully profoundly affecting someone
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ES FLAGPOLE JULY 12, 2000