An instrumental trio based in New York’s hopping mid-Hudson Valley, The Rough Shapes command the great traditions of underground electric guitar music - the darker side of rockabilly, surf, spy, early rock and roll, and the cinematic mood music of Morricone. But don’t mistake this band for reverent and referential, much less dogmatically retro. The Rough Shapes’ music plays every bit as much like a work of ambient post-rock and nightmare-leaning instrumental dream pop, by turns haunted and mysteriously sweet. This is high-character and stylish modern music in which the ghosts of the old world wander freely.
The lead voice in this band, guitarist and principal songwriter Jeff Kadlic, is known locally both as a scholar/practitioner of early rock and roll dialects and as a master luthier; his brand, Champtone guitars, is an increasingly visible presence in the boutique guitar community. Spacious, playful, and locked in like twins, the rhythm section of bassist Colin Almquist and drummer Dan Cartwright once formed the foundation of Voodelic, the region’s premier funk-rock band. Almquist also learned a thing or two about experimental roots music as a full-time member of the Duke McVinnie Band (featuring Shivaree founder McVinie as well as Cellist-to-the-stars Jane Scarpantoni).
The Rough Shapes’ sound is shaped by their shared hometown: Saugerties, New York, Woodstock’s punk brother and a lively river town with a longstanding outlaw reputation. Legends like Levon Helm made their careers around here, as do such obvious heirs as the Felice Brothers; but this is also the land of urban expats and their studios, the burgeoning Kingston indie scene, the avant garde hotspot of Beacon, Bard College, and the radical city of Hudson. The music of The Rough Shapes shares in both regional spirits - deep tradition and experimental savvy.