ILAD is a quartet from Richmond, VA formed in the winter of 2004 that quickly became notorious for its adventurous tendencies and indefinable sound amongst local fans. The idea for forming the band originally began as a vision shared between guitarist, Clifton McDaniel and keyboardist and electronicist Gabe Churray, who both studied classical composition together in college. Upon graduating, McDaniel and Churray started writing and rehearsing music as a duo for a band that they prophesied would exist. McDaniels longtime friend and collaborator, Scott Clark, who at the time was working as a freelance drummer in Richmond, eventually joined the band. 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, a band whose material reads like a series of minimalist poems adorned by flourishes of sound and blooming tones, and as such, leaves the listener wanting.
ILADs debut, The Spoon, was released in 2005 on their own SYJIP Records and immediately established themselves as one of the most forward-reaching bands to come out of the area. They followed The Spoon with National Flags, recorded at Chicagos SOMA studios with John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, Stereolab, etc.). National Flags showcased 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, the following year and a half was a fruitful period of constant writing, rehearsing, performing and recording and would finally culminate into ILADs,Here//There. Coalescing the experimental verve of their debut, The Spoon, with the more focused song-writing and groove-based styling of National Flags; plus an expanded sound palette as the band incorporates more piano and guitars, samples, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer, Casio keyboards, accordion, clarinet, wood flutes, didgeridoo, banjo, throat-singing, glockenspiel, various shakers, chimes, small wooden and metal percussion, and more,Here//There showcases a band maturing into its own as a unique and uncompromising voice on the music scene at large.
“Here, there .we still gawn move” are the first words you hear on ILADs new album, muttered from what sounds like a tape loop played in reverse. Such is the parallel universe of ILAD, as they rely on a ghost in the machine to not only lay claim to the title of their new record, but to affirm a musical mantra for which the following 15 songs must dutifully follow. OnHere//There, they never stay in one place for too long, effortlessly transitioning from the Bollywood-leaning opener “TV Sutra” to old-fashioned Neil Young-esque songs like “Mexico”, cosmic free jazz a la late 1960s Alice Coltrane & Pharaoh Sanders blissfulness on “Im Not Mean”, Phillip Glass-style minimalism on “Wish for a Flood”, Quincy Jones-era Michael Jackson dance grooves on “Extraordinary Machine” to southern country-rockers doused in whiskey and stale beer on “Black Gold and “December”. And just when you think this playful game of musical chairs could be a novelty act, they drive a knife into your heart with a tender ballad like “Everyone Hurts Everyone” or “I Just Stopped By”. The fact of the matter is, ILAD is not only able to play all of these styles quite well; ILAD is able to play, and blend, these styles in a soulful and focused manner that is wholeheartedly their own, easily eluding categorization altogether.
ILAD has shared the stage with The Sea and Cake, Thao Nguygen and the Get Down Stay Down, These United States, Lymbyc System, Death Vessel, Tim Williams, Josh Small, Fight the Big Bull, The Great White Jenkins among many others. ILAD will be touring in support of its upcoming release Here//Thereand its little brother, “We Still Gawn Move”, an EP recorded during the same session, throughout 2009.