Clark in turn recommended his preferred bassist, Cameron Ralston, who was playing bass for local salsa legends, Bio Ritmo and would eventually fill the bass chair for the burgeoning creative ensemble, Fight The Big Bull. Clark and Ralston had been playing in various free-jazz and improvisational ensembles for a couple of years and had quickly become one of the most sought-after rhythm sections in and around Richmond. It was this fateful union between improvisational spirit and compositional mind that birthed ILAD, and months later, they recorded their debut album, The Spoon, immediately establishing themselves as one of the most forward-reaching bands in the area. In the summer of 2006, ILAD began writing and rehearsing their music in a field in front of Ralston’s apartment regularly from midnight until just before sunrise, with acoustic guitars, standup bass, Casio keyboards and a cardboard box drum set. The music developed during these moonlit field experiments ultimately resulted in their second album, National Flags.
Instead of recording in the field with a couple of microphones, they did the next most logical thing and headed to Chicago in the winter of 2006 to record at SOMA studios with engineering guru, John McEntire (Tortoise, Sea and Cake, Stereolab, etc.). National Flags revealed a band in the midst of honing its songwriting craft and deepening its groove, and it was well liked amongst their local fan base, but ultimately received little national attention. Humbled, yet inspired by the experience with John McEntire, the following year and a half was a fruitful period of constant writing, rehearsing, performing and recording and finally culminated into ILAD’s 3rd and most definitive album to date, Here//There, which is due out in July 2009. Coalescing the experimental verve of their debut, The Spoon, with the more focused song-writing and groove-based styling of National Flags; Here//There is a breakthrough release for ILAD.
For about two weeks in May of 2008, Here//There was recorded in a fury. The band laid down enough material for 2 records and then some, but after long debate on how to release the immense collection of almost 30 songs, they boiled it down to a single disc and plan on releasing most of the extra material as a sister EP called We Still Gawn Move in the fall of 2009. The diverse body of work yielded from the Here//There sessions documents a band in the midst of an intense phase of prolificacy with no sign of letting up (it’s been reported that they’ve already begun writing music for a 4th album and claim to, yet again, have enough material for at least 2 records). ILAD has evolved from a chance grouping of 4 individuals of which Clifton McDaniel assumed the main responsibility as singer and songwriter on The Spoon into a much more egalitarian outfit on Here//There.
All four members share in and at times trade off the leadership role on Here//There in an almost Beatlesesque manner, where Ralston & McDaniel split most of the lead singing and songwriting duties about half and half with a handful of tunes written by Churray and one written by Clark. The instrumentation/sound palette also has expanded from their most basic set up of electric guitar, upright & electric bass, Fender Rhodes/synthesizer/laptop and drum set to include more guitars, samples, piano, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer, Casio keyboards, accordion, clarinet, wood flutes, didgeridoo, banjo, throat-singing, glockenspiel, various shakers, chimes, temple bells, small wooden and metal percussion, etc., and they even enlisted the vibraphone-playing talents of the bassist’s older brother, Cary Ralston (aka .:. impossible, who has also taken on the role as ILAD’s personal graphic designer and artist-in-residence). Yet with all of the musical chairs being played by the 4 members, the band somehow managed to never give in to the compulsiveness so tempting in studio environments or to lose focus on the core songwriting of Here//There.
Instead, the 15-song album showcases a young, talented band confidently exploring a wide emotional and stylistic spectrum and maturing into its own as a unique and uncompromising voice. ILAD has shared the stage with The Sea and Cake, Thao Nguygen and the Get Down Stay Down, These United States, Lymbyc System, Tim Williams, Death Vessel, Josh Small, Fight the Big Bull, The Great White Jenkins among many others. ILAD will be touring in support of its upcoming release Here//There and its little sibling, We Still Gawn Move, in the summer, fall and winter of 2009. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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