One of the finest bands to emerge from the Dayton, Ohio, music scene over the last 15 years, Lab Partners continue to carry on Gem City’s reputation as a hot-bed for Indie Rock. The band also has direct ties to some of the artists who helped bring international attention to the city’s music in the first place.
The band formed as a duo in the late ’90s featuring singer/guitarist Mike Smith and Kevin Parrett, who was a member of underground buzz band A Ten O’Clock Scholar (which was signed to Grass Records, early home of Dayton greats Brainiac). Keyboardist Amy Smith began adding her gauzy ambience to the proceedings soon after, while drummer Matt Schulz (Let’s Crash and Dayton-spawned Enon, as well as Honeyburn, in which he played with Smith, and Canadian Electronic band Holy Fuck) joined before the turn of the century. The group has featured numerous drummers since Schulz, including Kevin Vaughn of the Cincy-born Heartless Bastards; the band’s current timekeeper is veteran Dayton skinsman Jim MacPherson, onetime member of Guided By Voices and, even more famously, The Breeders’ drummer on AltRock classic Last Splash. Current guitarist Mike Volk, also of Honeyburn, came on board in 2001 when Parrett left the band.
The band members’ pedigrees don’t offer many hints about Lab Partners’ sound, a compelling spin on the broad, echoing, trippy music alternately known as Space Rock or Shoegaze. Matching great songwriting and arrangements with expansive soundscapes, the group has garnered national attention with its previous albums and EPs, something that should continue with the brand new full-length, Seven Seas, issued by longtime Chicago indie label Pravda Records. Seven Seas continues Lab Partners’ streak of releasing stellar albums; all four LPs they’ve released so far are thoroughly excellent from start to finish.
If you’re a fan of the sounds of bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Dandy Warhols, Ride and early Verve and you don’t have Seven Seas (available in cool double-vinyl packaging) in your collection, the time to fill that gaping hole is now.
LAB PARTNERS play a free show at Northside Tavern Friday, April 25. More info here .