The Shaky Hands: Album/Tour


The Shaky Hands
This year begins a new chapter for Portland group The Shaky Hands. Former drummer Colin Anderson left in mid-2008, a few months before the band's second album, Lunglight, was released to critical acclaim. Nick Delffs' brother Nathan covered percussion for a short stint at the end of last year, but ultimately the band wanted a stable drummer with whom they could connect.

Jake Morris, of fellow Portland band The Joggers, joined in January 2009, shortly before The Shaky Hands left for a two-week tour with The Meat Puppets. On the road, the band and Morris clicked almost immediately, and found that Morris was exactly what they wanted in a drummer and band mate. The addition of the new drummer set the wheels in the motion for The Shaky Hands to begin writing their third album; evolving their style to match the changes they'd undergone as a band.

Following the tour with The Meat Puppets, Delffs packed his bags and went to live in India for a month and a half, leaving behind his guitar and embarking on a fast from Western music. He sang in the temples and wrote lyrics for the new album, which the band had already started writing, but took the longest break he'd ever taken from playing in a band. This journey, which culminated with a 23-hour plane ride leading directly into a 37-hour drive to Austin for SXSW, altered the direction of the new record — although perhaps not in the most obvious way.

"I feel like my trip to India had a profound effect on the album," Delffs explains. "Because I wasn't playing music with anybody and I was having this break, I ended up thinking about it a lot, on the verge of obsessing over things. A lot of the planning and lyrics were done out there, finishing some of the songs. I was really inspired by Indian music and I feel like it changed me, but I wasn't inspired to make it. It almost inspired me to make straight forward rock for some reason."

Delffs launched back into the rock scene immediately, playing SXSW and touring back up to Portland. The band spent nearly two months on the road with The Thermals in spring of 2009, where they wrote and developed songs, allowing the new tracks to attain lives of their own each night. After the tour, at Morris' recommendation, the band went into Jackpot! Studios with producer Jay Pellicci (Deerhoof, Erase Errata). There they spent ten days recording the songs they'd written and practiced, mostly in one or two takes. "It turned out to be the perfect experience for recording the album," Delffs says. "This was the first time I really trusted someone else to produce and mix everything. We were there for ten days and somehow we made that small amount of time work out perfectly. We never labored over any performances. We really wanted to get the essence of the live band. And generally the first or second take had the most feeling and captured the song the best."

The finished album, Let It Die, is a collection of eleven organic, impassioned rock songs that are happily unpolished and grounded. This disc is split into Side A and Side B to compliment the varying styles the songs on the record embrace. Side A collects more raucous, upbeat tracks while Side B offers hushed, mellower numbers. The standout, for Delffs, is the compelling "Allison and the Ancient Eyes," a song he feels embodies both sides and their corresponding feelings. "We had specific little things that we agreed on and talked about a lot," Delffs says. "We wanted it to be really bare bones and have it extremely simple. I think we all just knew the songs pretty well and how they should go. We didn't want to over talk it."

The Shaky Hands Tour Dates
11/12/09 Thu Dachstock Bern, SWI
11/13/09 Fri Treibhause Fest Luzern, SWI
11/14/09 Sat Swamp Club Freiberg, GER
11/15/09 Sun NBI Berlin, GER
11/16/09 Mon Molotow Hamburg, GER
11/19/09 Thu Garage Bergen, NO
11/20/09 Fri BLA Oslo, NO
11/21/09 Sat Fritz's Corner Stockholm, SE
11/23/09 Mon Loppen Copenhagen, DK
11/26/09 Thu Tsunami Club Cologne, GER
11/27/09 Fri Le Guess Who Utrecht, NL
11/28/09 Sat Patronaat Haarlem, NL
12/08/09 Tue Mad Hatter Covington, KY
12/09/09 Wed Off Broadway St. Louis, MO
12/10/09 Thu The Conservatory Oklahoma City, OK
12/11/09 Fri Emo's Alternative Lounge Austin, TX
12/12/09 Sat The Cavern Dallas, TX
12/14/09 Mon Rhythm Room Phoenix, AZ
12/15/09 Tue Bootleg Theater Los Angeles, CA
12/16/09 Wed Bottom of the Hill San Francisco, CA

The band's new video for "Already Gone" can be seen here.

Praise for The Shaky Hands:

"Drowning pop compositions in jittery poly-rhythms is indie rock's move du jour, but the Shaky Hands aren't trendy; they make fine-boned, classic rock & roll in the Strokes' vein." -Pitchfork

"Prodded by clattering drums and scraping guitars, frontman Nick Delffs often sounds desperate, moaning and muttering like someone who's torn between leaping into the abyss and clinging to hope." -Spin

[Published on: 11/9/09]

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