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Cave Singers bring indie folk to Mission Creek Festival

BY ERIC SUNDERMANN | MARCH 30, 2010 7:30 AM

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mp3 sample: The Cave Singers

"Beach House"

The only other time the Cave Singers stopped in Iowa City, it wasn’t for a music festival. It wasn’t to play music. It wasn’t even to see a concert. The band members were just hungry.

“Yeah, we stopped at Jimmy John’s,” guitarist Derek Fudesco said.

This time around, the Seattle-based band will pull out the guitars for a show at 9 p.m. today in the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., as part of the Mission Creek Festival, with Birds & Batteries and Mondo Drag. And, if the members are hungry again, they can grab a slice of free pizza provided by KRUI at 8 p.m. Admission to the show is free.

“We wanted to maintain the tradition we started last year,” KRUI head Nathan Gould said. “It’s a fun way for the station to get involved to invite our staff and listeners.”

He pointed to Mission Creek Festival as a valuable part of the Iowa City community, and another reason he believes it’s important for KRUI to get involved.

“Iowa City kind of dies during the winter,” he said. “All these bands flock to Iowa City in a short period of time. It’s really cool how the festival reinvigorates the whole music scene. It’s a blitz of music.”

And the Cave Singers hopes to do just that.

Last year, the band released its second album, Welcome Joy. Critics called the record different from the group’s previous work, saying it was louder and not as acoustic-driven.

Fudesco agrees, saying the members wanted to add more elements to their songwriting to make it more pronounced and not as minimal as the first album, Invitation Songs.

“It’s a progression of songwriting,” he said. “We felt like the songs dictated what the songs should be.”

Writing is always happening for the group. Recently, on tour, the members wrote a song in a Comfort Inn parking lot.

But beyond sporadic jam sessions, and although he’s continually jotting down lyrics and poetry in his journal, Fudesco said, most writing happens in Seattle.

“We’re surrounded by rain forests, two huge mountain ranges, there’s water everywhere, and it’s very lush,” he said. “I think there’s some kind of magic up there.”

Moreover, Fudesco lives across the street from drummer Marty Lund with fellow songwriter Peter Quirk, which contributes to their collaboration.

“We live in this really old house that creaks, and we always hang out in the basement, and it’s raining. Our cat walks by the window, looks in, and it’s kind of a haunting place,” he said. “But, beautifully haunting.”

However, despite being known for its indie-folk sound, Fudesco emphasized that the band’s live shows are a lot more upbeat than its records suggest, calling them “ruckus” and a “big party.”

“It’s a way to rediscover our songs live and play around with them,” he said. “Some definitely change, some get nastier, and some get quieter … Usually for the show we try to make it into some type of hoedown from the future.”


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