Vacilando began as a solo vehicle for guitarist John Shepski. He wanted to create an environment where a song could live and breathe in a space of its own, expanding and contracting as the surroundings (the room, audience, mood) dictated. Mix in Juniana Lanning’s ambient soundscapes and atmospherics that surround and contain and Chad Lanning’s bass grounding it all to the planet and the core of the band emerged. The result is a new haunting, shape-shifting album of moody music that builds, growls and moves, slow and deep like dream themes with muted colors. Named after a line from a well-known song they include, the album is called While They Were Dancing.
On this debut disc, Vacilando is joined by Portland pedal steel whiz Jason Montgomery and Sharon Cannon on violin. The whole band stretches, smoulders and growls together and their description of their sound as Bleak Midwestern Soundscapes is apt. The Ocean, While You Sleep is the fourth song here and the guitar sizzle propels the simple melody as notes bend and the slow dance melt kicks in. Shepsky’s guitar feeds back and explodes and all the while his voice remains a steady, narcotic whisper.
Their name comes from John Steinbeck as does the quote that explains it all: “In Spanish there is a word for which I can’t find a counterword in English. It is the verb vacilar, present participle vacilando. It does not mean vacillating at all. If one is vacilando, he is going somewhere, but does not greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has direction.” –John Steinbeck, from Travels With Charley: In Search of America, 1962
Hear the new album for yourself at vacilando.bandcamp.com, then go buy a copy for your late night when nothing else will do. Big thanks to Fluff and Gravy Records for their dedication to new music. fluffandgravy.com.