Words by James Joiner
Remember sitting down to listen to a record, and it burst out of the speakers and just melted your fucking head?
Really melted it. Not a trite, music-journalist-looking-for-a-way-to-critique-a-record-they-don’t-give-a-fuck-about-but-know-they-should-like cliché sort of melt, but truly liquidizing your frontal lobe with sonic power, leaving you in such a lobotomy-like fugue state of cross-eyed bliss you didn’t even notice your old lady leaving with the mailman and dog shitting on your skateboard in attention-seeking desperation.
Welcome to Morning Teleportation’s Salivating for Symbiosis.
Don’t believe me? Harboring trust issues with the media after that last U.S. election? Can’t blame you, so don’t take my word for it. A relatively trusty measure of any indie artist (Note: this doesn’t work for major labels, who’ll pile guest stars on weak releases like amphetamine-fueled bail pump operators in a sinking lifeboat) is the weight of the friends they draw to collaborate, despite having little to no budget. People who are on board out of the goodness of their hearts, and, of course, because the band in question is so damn hot they want their names associated with ‘em. Well, Morning Teleportation’s latest has cameos from members of Death Cab for Cutie, Cage the Elephant, and Mimicking Birds, plus it’s released on Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock’s Glacial Pace Records, part of his hand-picked coterie of musical wizards.
I’ve also always felt the true measure of a band was their live show. Do they bring it? Are they sharing energy with the crowd, bringing us along on their trip? Or do they just stand up there, aloof, playing instruments with the same lackluster detachment as the hipsters bobbing their heads and Snapchatting at the back of the room? Morning Teleportation explodes. From backstage, it sounds like a bass bomb went off, followed by a cacophony of joyous noise. The audience had no choice but to join in or get bowled over, and from the first tune it was magic.
I get it, I’m gushing. But they’re that good—they’ve always been good, you just may have forgotten. You’re excused for that, of course, it’s been six years since their last record. A brief history: 2005, in bourbon-soaked Bowling Green, Kentucky, Morning Teleportation’s core unit of keys player Travis Goodwin and singer/guitarist Tiger Merritt start the band with some friends, merging rock and roll with jazz, funk, and Americana influences. In 2009, Brock recruits them for Glacial Pace, producing their first record, 2011’s Expanding Anyway. They quickly make a name for themselves at festivals like Bonnaroo and Sasquatch, and tour with the Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse, and Cage the Elephant. Fans rally to their tripped-out genre-indifference and infectious good-times, hell-yeah bravado.
Then, well, it’s been a wild ride. Band members came and went. The country was circumnavigated, all roads eventually leading back to Bowling Green, where they locked in and wrote their hearts out. Recorded. Made a video. And, finally, here they are, back in the public eye, ready to rock.
* Speaking of videos: Salivating’s first single, the folky “Re-Wiring Easily,” (up top) is a 360-degree adventure best viewed via VR goggles. Like the record it came from, it’s meant to be immersive, forcing you to eschew your daily headaches and commit, albeit briefly, to true rock n’ roll abandon. Transportation, if you will.
We could all use a little bit of that.