Formed as a side project by Built to Spill's Brett Nelson, not much has been heard from The Suffocation Keep since their 2002 debut, the synth-laden John Hughes Was Never So Wrong. Drummer Joe Hensley said technically, the band broke up. Things weren't really working out with the label that put out John Hughes, and Nelson's BTS work kept him away most of the time. Hensley said a while back, an ex-student of bassist Scott Beazer's called and asked if he could make the band's 2004 never-released LP, A Few Minor Modifications of the Stars, downloadable and if he could work on the band's Myspace site. A follow-up mention of Minor Modifications on Pitchfork.com put a fire under the band and Nelson, Hensley, Beazer, Grady Kimsey and Bill Pettitt came together in February of this year to start working on new stuff, some of which can be heard on their Myspace site: myspace.com/thesuffocationkeep.
Hensley said Nelson writes everything on the keyboard and then they transcribe the parts for drum, guitar, etc. That comes as no surprise, since a majority of TSK's music sounds like it was written specifically for a young Molly Ringwald. Their version of Real Life's "Send Me An Angel," summoned a ghost of my own past ... my bangs started to rise and become crispy all on their own. And I have to admit I'm a fan of contemporary bands who reach back in time for certain sounds and vibes—especially from the '80s—but make it current and music-forward. Hensley said the band is hoping to start recording in early spring of next year once Nelson gets back from touring with BTS, but you won't hear from them until then.
Whether you're a Built to Spill/Brett Nelson fan, an '80s keyboard-loaded music fan or someone anywhere in between, The Suffocation Keep will definitely strike a chord. Bonus? Local fave The Universal is opening. I bet John Hughes would love this show.
Dec. 21, 8:30 p.m., with The Universal, $3, The Bouquet, 1010 W. Main St., 208-345-6605.