Alpenglow is a band intensely influenced by its surroundings. They made their 2014 EP, Chapel, while living in a ramshackle house in a Vermont mountain town, population 588, once home to Robert Frost. The album, which has a reverent and spacious sound, was worked on by Jesse Lauter (The Low Anthem, Elvis Perkins, Langhorne Slim) and was recorded in a stone chapel down the road.
The release of Chapel led Alpenglow to tours opening for Lucius, Timber Timbre, and their spiritual guru, Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Through new experiences on the road and late night chats with tourmates, rural life started to feel limiting and city lights looked more welcoming. One night on tour the band met Wilco frontman, Jeff Tweedy, who jokingly advised the band, “Don’t move to Brooklyn.” A few months later, in the middle of the winter’s worst snowstorm, the band packed up their hunting and fishing gear and headed for the big city. “When we lived in the woods, there was a snow-melt stream behind the house that we used to jump in every morning. Deciding to move to the city was kind of like that. We needed a jolt.”
In Vermont, Alpenglow practiced in an old stone mill from the 1800s with vaulted ceilings, wooden beams, and massive windows overlooking a waterfall. That setting allowed them to create music that was equally spacious—music that centered on slowness, beauty, and meandering melodies. In the city, things were different. “We practiced in a 10’ X 10’ windowless room in a building filled with other bands. It just so happened that all our neighbors were metal bands. After a month of trying to practice our old material in there with distorted guitars wailing on all sides, we had no choice but to leave the soft stuff behind.”
Trying to navigate the chaos and pressure of city life gave Alpenglow’s music an urgency and intensity that wasn’t there before. Practicing next to metal bands made Alpenglow play louder. Their focus shifted to beats, grooves, tones, and colors. They started using synthesizers and bought a drum machine. The result was a new sound inspired by exposure to the people, shows, styles, and art of the city.
When it came time to record their debut full-length album, Alpenglow turned to musician and producer Sam Cohen (Yellowbirds, Apollo Sunshine) to help them stretch their sound into the psychedelic world. The band cites Cohen’s abilities to tweak tones and strip down beats as his biggest strengths: “He has a way of placing listeners’ feet on the ground with deep classic grooves while their heads float into space through swirling synth tones.” In addition, Cohen’s DIY spirit and engagement in all aspects of his own artistic production serve as encouragement for Alpenglow, who create all their own artwork and videos.
Part way through the recording process, Cohen’s first daughter, Jupiter, was born. Inspired by the cosmic theme and wanting to pay tribute to both Cohen and new life, Alpenglow titled the album Callisto, the name of one of Jupiter’s moons. Inspired by the bands new record, conceptual artist Yoshi Ashi asked Alpenglow to be the first band on his new record label, Chizu Records. Fans of Yoshi’s work and his idea to create a “record label for the digital age”, the band jumped at the chance to bring their album to the label. Callisto will be released on Chizu Records February 26th, 2016.
"That was really awesome. Wanna catch a few laughs?" -Jim James, My Morning Jacket
"Really beautiful stuff...don't move to Brooklyn." -Jeff Tweedy, Wilco
"Powerful stuff...love the way it gathers." -Bill McKibben, Bestselling author and environmentalist
"Do you guys know where the bathroom is?"- Grace Potter, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
“Slow-drawn synths and a smoky bop of a rhythm shade things like the corner of your eyes while on a evening bender. With driven choruses and floating verses, there’s a sense of ephemerality; though you’re sure you’re enjoying the revelry, there’s this vague recognition that you’ll remember none of it in the morning.” – Consequence of Sound
"Alpenglow's new album 'Callisto' Shimmers and Rocks" -VPR