Alabama Music Office.com goes to Secret Stages' Miller Lite Stage in the Historic Loft District of downtown Birmingham, Alabama to attend a performance by Through the Sparks. Through the Sparks brand of "basement-baroque, mid-fi" psychedelia is one based in American roots music. After forming in 2003, the Birmingham, Alabama quintet released two EPs, Coin Toss in 2005 and AudioIotas in 2006, before turning in an LP in 2007. Pitchfork media called Lazarus Beach "a sophisticated sprawl of sound and songs, with elements of power pop, 70s singer/songwriter, prog, indie guitar rock, and even some smooth southern soul." The album, which the band recorded in its basement studio, went on to become Barnes and Noble's highest selling "rock" record for a few days, due to critical praise. They played as many shows as they could, including several appearances over the past three years at CMJ and SXSW.
2010... Through the Sparks follows up with it's latest LP, Worm Moon Waning. Having learned their lesson from a couple of forays into "proper" studios, the band returned to the basement to cut the nine tracks picked for Worm Moon Waning. To achieve a live feel, they brought in long-time engineering collaborator Lynn Bridges to man the controls while the band cut tracks in the same room, at the same time.
Horns and background vocals fleshed out the record. In contrast to Lazarus Beach, Worm Moon Waning doesn't host a single sound that didn't travel through air and hit a mic... The result is a record with a stronger presence -- one that, while not at all stripped down, is focused and dynamic. It comes and goes in just around 38 minutes... 76 if you play it twice.
In both of its first two years (2011, 2012), Secret Stages brought thousands of people to downtown Birmingham. For two nights a diverse group of music enthusiasts were treated to over 80 bands and a dozen comedians performing on eleven different stages. These acts were drawn from the nation, the region, and our own back yard. The spirit of Secret Stages celebrates that which is coming next in the world of music. Secret Stages 2013, that spirit was very much alive. This year's Secret Stages was August 2 and 3, 2013. This two-day festival was once again held in the Historic Loft District of downtown Birmingham.