Revolt Revolt's new EP, Wild Unraveling, opens with a song titled "Catch the Light." It's about seizing the moment in the face of pain and sadness.
"You can't see the future when the past is in its place," frontman Chris Bock sings over a ringing guitar line and gently rumbling drums.
That sentiment fueled the making of the EP. Before starting work on the new release, the local indie-rock group had already recorded an album's worth of material.
"We were kind of sitting on those," Bock said. "We were waiting to get them from an engineer in Portland. So when we started writing the record, basically, we were just like, 'We need to write some new songs. We can't wait for this stuff.'"
Revolt Revolt still doesn't have the older songs, but Wild Unraveling was written, recorded and mixed within a few months. According to Bock, the ease with which the EP came together inspired its title.
"We worked through a lot of different titles," the singer-guitarist said, "and I think that, when we came down to it, that best describes it lyrically, musically."
The latter is definitely true. Building on the steady tempos, roaring guitars and plaintive tunes of Chordata (2007) and Latah Nights (2012), Wild Unraveling showcases the dynamic interplay between Revolt Revolt's current members: Bock, bassist Jacob Fredrickson, drummer Ben Wieland and guitarist Mike Muir. The EP will be officially released on Tuesday, Aug. 4, but in the meantime, Revolt Revolt will embark on a 19-date West Coast tour with local pop-punk band Mindrips—they kicked off the tour on May 5 at The Crux with a joint show that included local psychedelia-inspired rockers Bliiss.
Bock has been trying to "catch the light" with his music for more than two decades. Before starting Revolt Revolt in 2007, he contributed to various groups, including grunge-rock trio The Hand, led by ex-Treepeople singer-guitarist Scott Schmaljohn.
"I was with The Hand for, like, six-plus years," Bock said. "There was a time when I was in three different bands and a solo project, and it spanned over an eight- or nine-year period."
His experiences during these years were memorable, if not a bit hair-raising. He recalled driving back from a gig in Washington or Oregon with local musician Grant Olsen. They were going up a pass when heavy snow began to fall.
"We get up to the pass, and [there are]cars burning by us," Bock said. "Grant starts getting a little nervous. He's smoking Lucky Strikes, so he starts chain-smoking. ... We start passing by all these cars off the road with taillights poking up out of the snow—the ones that passed us—and it only gets worse. So he drove over that pass, we pull over and he's like, 'I'm done.' So I drove the rest of the way."
Bock has fond memories of his 20-plus years in the music scene as well, especially of the vibe around Audiolab Recording Studio during the 1990s.
"We'd be picking up tapes or whatever. There'd be stuff going on—people dubbing off tapes. You'd run into somebody up there. Local musicians, people hanging out," he said. "It was cool like that. The sense of community was pretty cool back in the '90s."
A similar atmosphere developed while Revolt Revolt recorded Wild Unraveling at Audiolab with producer Todd Dunnigan.
"I have to say, it was probably one of the funnest records—if not the funnest—that I've done," Bock said. "Because we'd add this or have somebody play on this, and it was just like, 'Wow.' Just blown away by different people we brought in."
Those people includeDunnigan on keyboards; pedal steel player Earl Hughes, who has opened for Charlie Daniels, The Beach Boys and Alabama; opera singer Emma Doupe; and Built to Spill's Doug Martsch, who plays guitar on "Catch the Light." The guest contributions are anchored by the strong chemistry between Bock and his bandmates.
"Some of the things we tried on the record, they're open-minded in that sense: To stretch it a little bit and try some of the different things," Bock said. "Like the opera singer, like the Hammond [keyboard] and a lot of the organ and a lot of the steel guitar. We were just really thinking in the sense of, 'What's going to work best for the song?'"
Bock hopes to put out the band's unreleased material—which he said features contributions from "almost everybody that's ever been in Revolt Revolt"—sometime in the near future.
"It could come out in different ways. It could come out as ... random stuff. We really don't know."
Not knowing doesn't bother Bock and his bandmates.
"We're just still writing material with Revolt Revolt," Bock said. "Just looking forward, you know?"