Time: 3:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Stage: The Melting Pot/WXRY Stage (Tin Roof)
By Kyle Petersen via Free-Times
Kid Trails is growing up.
What started as the bedroom singer-songwriter project of Toro Y Moi touring member (and former Heist & the Accomplice bassist) Patrick Jeffords now feels stunningly mature, trading in the lo-fi, lackadaisical indie pop of its early years for huge, Tom Petty-indebted rock swagger that could work on festival stages or in rock clubs.
On Displace, the follow-up to 2016’s transitional Kid Trails Rising LP, Jeffords and fellow guitarist Dylan Lee (Washed Out, Heist & the Accomplice) are in full slash-and-burn mode, shooting off big cascading power-pop riffs that veer at different moments into muscular Southern rock, billowy California country and reverb-laden ’80s post-punk with alacrity.
The sound fits the songs, which Jeffords muses are a kind of “bon voyage to California.”
He has since relocated to Atlanta, and will soon return full-time to Columbia. Playing with a successful indie rock band sparked his initial journey out west, but while Toro has greatly reduced its touring schedule — this fall’s U.S. tour will be the group’s first since 2015 — Jeffords says other factors motivated his return.
“The move back had nothing to do with Toro Y Moi,” he insists, noting that the longtime touring lineup will play this fall’s dates.
“[Toro leader Chaz Bear] has been making art, recording other people. He’s always working on things, the dude never stops working,” Jeffords explains. “I think he is just more into having his art studio in Oakland and creating things and making music. I don’t think he’s as interested in being a road warrior. It’s kind of like we did that already.”
For Jeffords, the move is mostly about wanting to be closer to family — his grandmother passed away earlier this year — and a disenchantment with the growing inequality in Oakland, which he describes as “turning into a nightmare.”
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make,” Jeffords admits. “I had a whole life and a home in Oakland, but I watched the place rapidly change into something I wasn’t really down with over the course of a year or two.
“A lot of people are struggling just to pay rent and get by there, and that’s the people who are privileged enough to have an apartment. There were condos across the street from my place charging $3,500 a month and right next to that was a full-on homeless encampment. I looked at that every day. It just felt wrong.”
Jeffords lands back on the East Coast with a record that could elevate Kid Trails. The album was recorded at Different Fur Studios in San Francisco with longtime Kid Trails members Andy Woodward (touring drummer for Toro and another former Heist member) and bassist Joe Costantini as well as keyboardist Casey Matson and Dylan Lee on guitar. Only Lee remains in the current Kid Trailstouring lineup, which adds the rest of the Washed Out backing band in the sibling rhythm section of Cameron Gardner (drums) and Chris Gardner (bass).
The lineup also feels like something close to The Heist & the Accomplice, the seminal Columbia indie rock band consisting of players who would go on to tour the world with Washed Out and Toro Y Moi.
“We were going for [the sound of] one of those classic rock records where it’s mostly the band playing in a room,” Jeffords says.
He easily cops to the looming influence of the Heartbreakers — particularly the drum sounds on records like Damn the Torpedoes — as well as British groups like ’70s power pop icons Squeeze and the sneering rock bombast of Oasis along with the country-rock of Gram Parsons, the Eagles and The Grateful Dead as part of the alchemy of the record.
“Even on Kid Trails Rising, I think that maybe hinted at that a little bit with some of that country swing and the drawl in the vocals and stuff,” he offers. “But it kind of came more from the fact that I listened to that kind of stuff when I was a kid then being in California and just the guys I was playing with. It was just kind of messing around with that, putting my Southern roots into it mixed with those California dudes.”