by Sherri Prunier
Just about the time the electronic-pop music of Aqueduct was beginning to break in Seattle, a similar styled band was taking shape in David Terry’s hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Few could have imagined that somewhere in Tulsa, between the Will Rogers memorial and the Jazz Hall of Fame, would lie a breeding ground for eighties inspired synthetic beats – but like Aqueduct, the band known as Stevedore is finding success.
The trio of Stevedore is Jeff Richardson and brother Noah Richardson, along with Steve Sweetko. Jeff owns the band’s label, Hard Work Records. Each seems to have a signature eccentricity, from Jeff’s goggles to Noah’s raccoon hat. The band’s name remains a slight enigma, though I’m told a stevedore is someone who loads and unloads ship’s cargo from a dock (which may offer an explanation for their onstage uniforms).
Their four track EP, Almost Beautiful, rides New Wave past its latest revision and emerges in a newly generated world with a more layered structure, melodic rhythms, and faster beats.
There is a cheerful disposition derived from electronic groves; perhaps the sounds trigger nostalgic memories of childhood video games and happier times, maybe the music is just fun to dance to, or possibly the simplistic nature of the subject matter contributes to the sense of joy. Whatever the case, this atmosphere makes for wonderfully displaced irony in the anthem-like lyrics of “pure aggression / is what I want / pure aggression / is what I need” chanted through the third track.
Tiny Thoughts, a more instrumentally notable track, features a response to Terry’s “Pistols at Dawn” with: “I’ll tell you who wants to rock with Aqueduct / I do, and so should you / when they come to town, they’ll make everything ok.” While this is certainly agreeable, it’s the opening number of the EP that I’ve come to appreciate the most. Titled the same as the album, "Almost Beautiful" is a delightfully infectious song.
Stevedore has most recently shared the stage with Pretty Girls Make Graves and She Wants Revenge, and is sure to soon make a name for themselves beyond the Midwest.
More on Stevedore: www.stevedore.org / www.myspace.com/stevedore.