Sat Feb 02
  • Songbirds
  • 9:00pm
  • $10 Advanced Ticket, $12 General Admission Ticket
Songbirds South Stage

Telemonster Album Release Show with Elk Milk & Psychic Dungeon

Songbirds South | 18+ only | Doors: 8 PM Over the last 4 years, Telemonster has produced 8 kids and 1 record. The record, titled Introspecter (Part 1), comes from this particular place in life – a place where you carry toddlers more than guitar cases; where you play hide ’n’ seek more than you play shows; where music is made from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am because everyone else has gone to bed. The album premiered November 2nd on bandcamp.com, but the show at Songbirds celebrates its full release across all platforms (coming to your favorite music library January 25th).The band was formed by cousins Ben VanderHart (guitar/vocals) and Josh Barrett (drums) in 2010 after moving to Chattanooga, TN from their respective hometowns in Iowa and New Mexico. Along with bassist John-Michael Forman and pianist Dave Hess, Telemonster released an eponymous EP in 2011 and quickly followed up with 2012’s self-released A Girl I Knew. Since then, they have been writing and recording amidst the disarray of having kids, building a studio, starting a record label, teaching economics, making pottery, and otherwise enjoying a quiet life. Introspecter (implying both “one who looks inward” and “a ghost within”) explores the darker side of human nature within this unassuming context. Against the backdrop of workaday life, it grapples with those insidious impulses that most of us hide or perhaps refuse to acknowledge altogether. “Over the last several years, I felt compelled to write about vivid personal experiences that I could describe with palpable detail. Things that aren’t often fodder for pop songs, but are still relatable to most people,” said VanderHart in an interview with The Pulse. “A fear of drowning (‘Opheliac’), hiding aspects of your character to make people love you (‘Façade 1 (I Want You Around)’), coping with guilt and regret during a time of loss (‘Birmingham’), seeking fulfillment and validation through things that are superficial or temporary (‘In the Stones’).”“It seemed the overarching theme was an attempt to wrestle with personal brokenness. I think we all have some unseemly characters living in us, and we usually do a good job of stifling them or hiding them from people in ‘respectable’ society. But every day, it feels like they’re fighting to get out. And I wanted to know if other people felt that way too.”Introspecter was recorded in home studios and old churches around the city of Chattanooga from 2016 to 2018. The album was produced by VanderHart and mastered in Athens, GA by David Barbe, known for his work with Drive-By Truckers, Son Volt, Deerhunter, Animal Collective, and many others. Since its soft release in November, Introspecter has garnered praise from critics far and wide. “Referring to most pop and rock songs as compositions is a bit of a stretch. Not this time,” lauded Toronto-based music critic Tinnitist. “Even the most casual spin of Telemonster‘s second full-length leaves no doubt that this Tennessee orch-pop quartet operates at a level far above and beyond that of your typical indie band. Introspecter (Part 1) is the sonic equivalent of an engrossing novel by a master wordsmith.”Of the lead single “Opheliac,” London-based A&R Factory wrote, “Their experimental approach resulted in a soundscape that is all too easy to melt into; whilst bands such as the Beatles seemed to get the right synergy back in the day, it would seem that it’s become a lost art form amongst contemporary artists, except for Telemonster.”Chattanooga’s Weekly Alternative, The Pulse hailed the album as “a meticulously and immaculately recorded effort with an uncommon and adept eclecticism among pop hooks and rock throbs.”And while the album does indeed draw from a wide range of influences, including jazz, classical, and even broadway tunes, the end result offers visceral hooks and raw emotions that make it accessible to any music lover. “Even though these songs are autobiographical,” VanderHart said. “I hope they resonate with people and create opportunities for a few of us to become more vulnerable with each other. To be open about our flaws and to find some healing and reconciliation as a result.”