TVD Recommends: Fellow Creatures, Baby Bry Bry, and Gully Waters at DC9, 11/22

With the demise of local band Ugly Purple Sweater, former members Will McKindley-Ward and Sam McCormally knew they wanted to start a new project together. They knew that they wanted the new band to feel like a departure from their previous work, and shortly after the final UPS show, they got to work on a new batch of songs.

Tomorrow, November 22, their experimental work in their new band, the self-described “swampy indie rock band” Fellow Creatures, will be showcased at DC9, along with supporting bands Baby Bry Bry and Gully Waters.

I had the chance to ask Sam McCormally a couple questions about the new band, the show, and Fellow Creatures’ first single, “Allies.”

How is the music you’re making with Fellow Creatures unique?

I bought a toy piano that a young mom was selling on Craigslist and stuck a pickup on it. You can hear the toy piano solo in the middle of “Shuka Shuka,” a demo that we released on Bandcamp last month. Will took pieces of Duke Ellington songs, sped them up so that they were unrecognizable, and then learned to play them on guitar.

We spent a lot of time doing vocal exercises. For a couple of months, we decided to make music that sounded like a re-imagined soundtrack to Where the Wild Things Are—but if it were set in a futuristic swamp—and while I don’t think that is actually what we sound like, it was a useful conceit for a while.

Tell me about the new single.

Fellow Creatures released its first single, “Allies,” on Bandcamp this week. Unlike UPS, Fellow Creatures is the brainchild of Will and I both; we both write songs and we both sing lead. You can hear Will and I trading vocals in “Allies.” After we had a set’s worth of demos recorded, we got in touch with former UPS bassist Rishi Chakrabarty, and he joined us on bass and guitar, and we also pulled in David Greer, who is playing drums and operating some electronics. The four of us had to sort of reverse-engineer the songs so we could make them compelling in a live setting.

“Allies” is a song based around a percussion loop from a song by the Andrews Sisters. We recorded the track at Persona Non Grata with Thomas Orgren, who had the great idea of adding a bunch of reverse cowbell all over the thing. We like to think that the track sounds like a dance party thrown by happy monsters.

What do you think about the other bands who are playing with you?

This is Fellow Creatures’ first show. We’re very excited to play with Baby Bry Bry on Saturday, a band that does relentlessly interesting things on stage, from strange/exy dance moves to off-kilter lounge music in transitions between songs. We’re also joined by Gully Waters, who blend super cool grooves and lovely melodies.

Doors at 9 | Music at 9:30 | Tickets only at the door | $8

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