“The Mysterious Band” was a group consisting of Julian Koster, Bill Doss, Robbie Cucchiaro, Kevin Barnes, and Isaac Brock (not pictured). They played only one show together at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA during Kindercore Expo 2000. Click here to hear one of the songs they played.
Okay this has a really cool backstory that blew my mind (since I’m a big E6 fan too). In the early 2000s, Isaac Brock teamed up with Elephant 6 members Julian Koster (of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Music Tapes), Bill Doss (of The Olivia Tremor Control), Robbie Cucchiaro (of The Music Tapes), and Kevin Barnes (of of Montreal) and formed a sort of super group only known as “Mysterious Band”. According to people in the E6 facebook group, this band played a few more times with more people.
This recording was released on a compilation called Border Music…Flicker Of A Smile - Athens Experimental (U.S. Pop Life Vol. 10), which was only released in Japan.
On September 4, The Music Tapes will release Mary’s Voice.
Mary’s Voice, The Music Tapes’ third full-length album, is the warmest and most accessible invitation yet into Julian Koster’s world—the culmination of a vision he has been realizing for over a decade.
That vision began taking shape in the ’90s, during which time Koster also became a key member of Neutral Milk Hotel and a contributor to The Olivia Tremor Control and other legendary members of the enormously influential Elephant 6 Collective. Since then, Koster (along with long-time collaborator Robbie Cucchiaro on horns) has pushed the boundaries of what audiences have come to expect from an “indie rock” band—staging unique caroling and lullaby tours, performing alongside mechanical contraptions like the 7-Foot-Tall Metronome, and displaying virtuosity on both the singing saw and orchestral banjo.
Mary’s Voice, the follow-up to 2008’s acclaimed Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes, is part one of a planned two-part album and inaugurates a newly active phase in The Music Tapes’ evolution—with plans to tour the world in a circus tent later this year and an NPR radio serial in the works. Recorded with The Music Tapes’ signature method of using recording machines of both past (early 1900s, ’30s, ’40s, ’60s) and present to achieve a timeless sound, the album is, in Koster’s own words, “a holiday from what is so often mistakenly called the ‘real world’… In music, time can disappear the way it does in long summer evenings when we’re allowed to go out and play as kids, or afterwards, when exhausted, we dream.”
Mary’s Voice track listing:
1. The Dark Is Singing Songs (Sleepy Time Down South) 2. Saw and Calliope Organ on Wire 3. S’ Alive (Pt. 1) 4. The Big Beautiful Shops (It’s Said That It Could Be Anyone) 5. Spare the Dark Streets 6. To All Who Say Goodnight 7. Kolyada #3 8. Playing “Evening” 9. Go Home Again 10. S’ Alive to Be Known (May We Starve) 11. Untitled 12. Takeshi and Elijah
(In my excitement, when I went to add the release date, I accidentally deleted the earlier post. Sorry! T.I.C.O.T.I.S.)