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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stock Options' Spontaneous Instrumentals

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Stock Options have been working fast. Within weeks of tracking their self-titled first album last month, the Milwaukee instrumental post-rock trio had mixed the record, posted it to their Bandcamp site and finalized the art for a CD pressing, which should be finished in time for the band's July 5 performance at the Cactus Club. It's a pace that bassist Marty Defatte hopes to keep up.

“Basically, I don't think we have any time to waste,” he says. “I'm making up for lost time, since it's been a long time since I've been in a band.”

Stock Options is the first band Defatte has played with in nearly 15 years—he stopped making music to focus on his career as a graphic designer—though the rest of the band is more practiced. Guitarist Kevin DeMars has played drums for the post-hardcore band Disguised as Birds and guitar for the psych-metal outfit Mother Orchis, while drummer Mark Sheppard has played guitar for the hardcore band Forstella Ford, among many other projects.

“Mark is primarily a guitarist and most of Kevin's experience is playing drums, but it's kind of nice that they played musical chairs with their instruments for this band,” Defatte says. “It gave me a chance to acclimate a bit, since it had been so long since I last played.”

The impulsive decision to switch instruments is indicative of Stock Options' casual approach to making music. The trio began playing together without any preset notions of what type of music they might make, or what shape their band might take. At first they were auditioning possible second guitarists and lead singers.

“It was never really our intention to be an instrumental band, but it's actually worked out pretty well,” says DeMars. “It's nice not having vocals, because you can't be pigeonholed so much. Not having a singer keeps the music really loose.”

By virtue of being a three-piece playing instrumental music with post-rock and metal accents, Stock Options invites immediate comparisons to Pelican, but their compositions are much more temperamental than Pelican's stoic dirges, more in line with the fickle math-rock of bands like Shipping News or June of 44.

Defatte says he'd like to follow up the band's debut record quickly.

“Since our practice space is also a home studio, I think that we'll just keep recording songs as they happen,” Defatte says. “I just want to keep recording, maybe put out a split 7-inch, play some more shows, then do some tour dates. Basically, we're just trying to keep it as DIY as possible.”

Stock Options' self-titled record is streaming at stockoptions.bandcamp.com. It will be available for free download after its CD release early next month.