Blank Range has always been a personal favorite of yours truly. Since their first New Face Night years ago to their most recent Vista Bent EP, they’ve carved themselves a nice little slice of the Nashville music scene pie.
There’s a lot to be said for the time they’ve put in, gigging out early on to finally break through on their distinct Aha Shake KOL meets Pavement vibe. Since then, the band has opened for everyone from Spoon to Drive by Truckers and everyone in between. In short, its been a damn pleasure to see them sustain a uniquely Nashvillian take on rock n roll music. At times they’re country slacker, other times the twang is only the slightest of twinge. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Blank Range will have some substantial pull come 2017; at least in the realm of indie/rock n roll/country in between, a la Pinegrove and Whitney in 2016.
All that to be said, the Vista Bent EP is Blank Range at its most realized to date, with fully formed melodies with the most exquisite rhythm layers that would make anyone this side of CCR blush. There’s fuzz and distortion galore paired alongside pedal steel on tunes like “Garden” that dip right into a nice little staccato synth all but challenging the listeners’ take on rock n roll, life, love, and the meaning of.
Not to take anything away from the 2013 EP, Phase II, but the way Vista Bent moves like a rambling country Batman epic, circa the Adam West days. Its 60s fuzz and 70s jangle with a distinctly fresh feel. If you had to ask me for one song to listen to on the EP, it’d have to be the EP closer, “All the Stars.” It runs the emotional gamut of spectral gazing and wax poetics that on top of the aforementioned musical realization. Anyway, get used to seeing more about Blank Range, because these boys are full fledged Nashville stalwarts.
Blank Range’s Nashville 5
5 MOST GNAR SKATE SPOTS
Shelby Greenway – This little patch of green is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the burgeoning condo scene. There are paved trails through the woods, but my favorite thing is to duck out through the brush and get off the beaten path. There are some beautiful scenes afforded to the more adventurous, especially a few select trees with some pretty wild root systems that shoot up on the edges of the little creek that runs through to the Cumberland. I happened upon a downed tree that had fallen across the creek and propped itself on the other side. My mind immediately played out the scenario of some ripper board sliding over that chasm like a tightrope walker
Duke’s – A great spot for popping in anytime. My angle is flying in solo, grabbing a drink, and then posting up by the sandwich counter to make small talk with Jon, who plays guitar and sings in the band. He’s an excellent sandwich maker. I imagine he takes solace in the fact that I’ve got his back while I’m sitting there, whether it’s a line to the door and me hovering to the side helplessly, or a dead night and we’re just yelling over the music about whether we could get back into the country from Mexico without our passports. There’s a pretty serious handrail in the middle of the bar that a real shredder would make quick work of. Because of the layout there’s probably only enough room for a tail slide or something like that.
The old ferry ramp at the end of McGavock Pike – I like to make my way down to the end of the street for some solitude every now and then. It’s pretty peaceful there right next to the Cumberland River. The ramp goes down into the water so you can put your feet in or take a sip or just watch it all float on by. When the river is low, there are a bunch of rocks exposed on one side of the ramp so you can post up and check out the scenery upstream. The trees are so lush, close to the water. Skaters looking for some summer fun might enjoy the friendly competition of a race to the river. Bomb down the hill, first one to the bottom gets sweet relief from the Tennessee sun.
El Jaliciense – This spot is pretty alright. I’ve definitely had some pretty good burritos and tacos here before. The ambience is my favorite part. There is some beautiful mural work on the walls, the televisions are always jamming the latest Banda or Norteña music videos, and the staff is very cool. It used to be a thing that if you wanted a Topo Chico or a Jarritos or a beer or something you just walked up to the cooler and grabbed one. There’s a pretty killer two-stair that you had to jump to make it to the cooler and the first time I came back down it all made sense. There’s a real photo opportunity here for the boldest.
Creek at Beaman Park – Beaman is out Northwest of Nashville. There are some great trails that run through the woods and up on one of the ridges. It’s an especially scenic area to get some fresh air and it’s usually not very crowded either. As one of the trails descends from the ridge, it meets up with a creek and runs parallel with the water for some time. Over countless years, the creek bed has shaped a sort of rock shelf that moves down in steps of varying length next to the trail. The water isn’t usually deeper than half an inch so it would probably be possible to skate on it. Every time I’m out there, I can just imagine a legit boarder doing some long manual trick down the whole thing. Seeing a work of art like that in a setting as beautiful as Beaman’s Creek spot would rack up the Instagram likes.