With a resume including bands primarily made up of the same collective members, Thomas Wincek spearheaded his new band All Tiny Creatures out of the same pool.
The Madison, Wis., act is establishing a reputation all its own with its debut full-length "Harbors" on Portland's Hometapes label. The album demonstrates the previously instrumental band's capacity for vocal work and is indicative of All Tiny Creatures' future offerings.
Wincek also is a member of Volcano Choir, a collaboration with Bon Iver front man Justin Vernon and Collections of Colonies of Bees. He created All Tiny Creatures as a separate outlet for his compositions that didn't fit his other projects.
All Tiny Creatures brings in co-writer Andrew Fitzpatrick and takes a more organic approach than the aforementioned acts, but without neglecting the electronic elements Wincek is known for. He explains that with his departure from Collections of Colonies of Bees and the infrequent live activity of Volcano Choir, ATC satisfies his need to perform in a live setting.
"(All Tiny Creatures) came together when I started writing songs that were a bit more rock-based than my earlier, strictly electronic stuff," recalls Wincek. "I guess I was inspired by being in Collections of Colonies of Bees, but had some other ideas involving repetition and guitar processing that wouldn't have worked in that band. The songs needed live drums, so I got Ben (Derickson) involved. Then I had the idea that the songs should be played live, so I got a band together with Andy (Fitzpatrick) and Matt (Skemp), who play a larger role now, especially Andy. A lot of the techniques I came up with for ATC were used on the Volcano Choir album, especially the cut up guitar on 'Island, IS.' "
Since many of "Harbors' " tracks were composed at the same time as ATC's inaugural all-instrumental EP "Segni," adding vocals was a simple overlay in most cases. The band called in favors from its solid network of musical allies (including everyone from Justin Vernon to Fitzpatrick's wife Jennifer) to provide guest vocals to supplement Wincek and Fitzpatrick's own singing. The two ATC songwriters point out that their experience on "Harbors" acclimated them to the idea of singing and that they will take on more of the vocal duties on future outings.
"Some of the songs on this record were written around the same time as the songs on 'Segni,' so it actually felt pretty natural," Fitzpatrick says. "We worked vocals into those songs and also started writing new material with vocals as well. Sound-wise, I think they're probably a decent indication of where we're heading, but we definitely have some new ideas, too."
"We're finishing a new record that I think will hold some surprises," Wincek adds. "I've gotten a lot more comfortable singing over the last couple of years, and the songs are being built more around that. Volcano Choir is also working on some new stuff, one song of which we played at our only two U.S. shows a couple months back."
Big Bang and the Plain gang: Plainclothes Tracy joins Johnny Astro and the Big Bang and Spider Friends on stage tonight at The Pilot Light, 106 E. Jackson Ave. The show kicks off at 10 p.m. and costs $5.
Nothing human disgusts me: Thursday night following Sundown in the City, Preservation Pub hosts Phil Pollard and the Band of Humans. Music is slated for 10 p.m.