“On the celebratory ‘Trumpets’ and the down-home jam ‘Ballad Of My Friends,’ it sounds like the extended family is genuinely enjoying themselves.” – CMJ
“The mournful piano and organ mesh perfectly with acoustic guitars on the hushed hymn “On High,” while the stomping, trumpet-festooned ‘Ballad Of My Friends’ screams pure joy. Just Like in his former bands, Simpson’s wobbly voice always rings true, conveying that his heart is on his sleeve.” – Alternative Press
“It wouldn’t be too far off to call this classic rock done in the 21st Century, with the barnyard drums and Heartland chords… A promising restart for a gifted songwriter, definitely hints at great things to come.” – Lollipop.com
Austin-based band Zookeeper, led by Chris Simpson – the former songwriter and front man for the groundbreaking original-era emo bands Mineral and The Gloria Record – has just announced additional tour dates to round out 2007. See below for a complete itinerary.
This year has been a highly productive one for the group, bouncing in and out of the Top 10 for months as one of the most blogged about bands on the internet according to aggregator elbo.ws. The praise comes on the heels of Zookeeper’s self-titled EP and recently released debut album Becoming All Things. Alternative Press recently featured the band as well, and previous tours with Umbrellas and The Good Life have been enthusiastically received. Those unable to catch the band’s live show on this round of dates can view the group in action and stream Becoming All Things.
More about Zookeeper:
Sometimes, taking a break can be a very good thing. Chris Simpson, former songwriter and front man for two influential late ‘90s bands, knows a few things about breaking up. After disbanding post-punk emo progenitor Mineral just after the band signed to a major, and taking an indefinite hiatus from shoegazer follow-up The Gloria Record midway through recording a fourth record, he virtually disappeared from the music scene for two years.
It is this quiet period of Simpson’s career that has proven his most prolific to date. It allowed him time to step back, regroup, and remember what he loved about music in the first place - penning songs and performing acoustically, just as he had done as a teenager in his hometown of Denver. He bought and became enchanted with a piano. He dusted off record albums he hadn’t listened to in a decade. He found himself, for the first time in years, brimming with ideas and melodies.
Newly inspired, he resumed songwriting, laying the groundwork for a fresh sound that would grow organically out of an informal gathering of new and old friends making music they loved. Eventually the group packed into an Austin studio to record live: loose, impromptu songs replete with shaking tambourines, exuberant horns, honky-tonk keys, and, at alternating turns, lyrical depth and whimsy. They recorded, in part or whole, spanning several months and several studios, over 40 songs. Simpson had fallen in love with music again, simply by stepping away from it.
The new body of work – the recently released Zookeeper EP and this scintillating debut LP, Becoming All Things (Belle City Pop!) – boasts a supporting cast of musicians comprised of former Mineral and Gloria Record members and new collaborators (indie-folk artist Alex Dupree, Sad Accordions, and Zykos), and brings Simpson back to his roots. It is this self-possession gained from solitude, this tipping of the hat to where he’s been while moving assuredly forward, that gives Simpson’s latest offering its buoyant, timeless appeal.
“I’m just thrilled to have another entry in Simpson’s canon. He’s been gone too long and this is a welcome return from one of my favorite songwriters.” – Liepaper.com
“…some of the jangliest, loose-limbed pop music of the year so far. In just one listen, you’ll get a taste for his spirit and passion about music.” – Quick Before It Melts
11/24 Houston, TX The Proletariat
11/26 Atlanta, GA The Earl
11/27 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506
11/28 Washington, DC Red and Black Bar
11/29 New York, NY Piano’s
12/05 Chicago, IL The Beat Kitchen
12/06 Des Moines, IA Vaudeville Mews
12/07 Bloomington, IN Bear’s Place
Becoming All Things Tracklisting:
Release Date: November 6th, 2007
01. Snow In Berlin
02. On Madison Way
04. Ballad of My Friends
05. Boy and The Street Choir
06. Al Kooper’s Party Horn
07. Everyone’s A DJ
08. On High
09. Becoming All Things
10. Born With Things To Do
On The Web: