The Tennis Lesson Takes on Experimental Indie Rock
Mark Cange You wanted a press photo? You got it.
In this weekly column, RFT Music gets to know local creatives, musicians and their missions. Get a slice of the local scene, complete with a snippet of sound and info about upcoming releases and shows. Stick around to see what St. Louis artists have to say whenever they Fill in in the Blank.
Save for its Bandcamp, Soundcloud and Tumblr pages, online media for the Tennis Lesson is a bit scarce. Since its debut in Summer 2012, the band has only played a handful of gigs, despite three killer digital EPs. The Tennis Lesson is the sort of gem you might stumble upon at a crowded bar in south city one Saturday night and never hear about again. Luckily, you can catch the elusive band with cohorts Humdrum and the Pat Sajak Assassins at CBGB (3163 South Grand Boulevard) later this month.
Guitarist and vocalist Mark Cange describes his group as conventional rock and pop. That might be true from a broad perspective, but the band manages to shoehorn subtlties that carry each song beyond the pop spectrum. The vocals embedded are familiar indie-rock ilk, but the approach to rhythm feels closer to progressive rock. Drummer Jeremy Brantlinger brings sharp perucssion with proper restraint, lending a distinctive feel to the band's somber set.
Its debut release, Statues Watch the Inside, feels like jazz students pulling an all-nighter, cramming for an indie-rock test the next day. The songs are those some mustachioed filmmaker might use for a dramatic car ride through the countryside. With its followup, Suitcase Full of Clones, the band went in a decidedly stranger direction.
"It's more experimental. We created loops from bits of our older songs and rewrote new songs around them. More keyboards and studio trickery on that one," Cange says.
The Tennis Lesson recently put out The Grand Prize Game, a proper sequel to its first release with a math-rock bend. Cange plans on recording a fourth EP next month before laying down ground work on a debut full-length.
We invited Mark Cange to fill in the blanks ahead of the Tennis Lesson's next show at CBGB on Halloween: Thursday, October 31. Click through to see what Mark had to say, check out more music and get info on the upcoming show.