Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Prom - Final Demos

The Prom that appeared on Barsuk records consisted of Omaha transplants James Mendenhall at the piano and David Broecker on bass, along with Joel Brown lightly pounding the proverbial skins. At some point following The Prom's last released album, 2002's Under the Same Stars, Brown left and was replaced by Kevin Barrans, who in the years since has gone from what I can only assume from this picture is a Harlem Globetrotters understudy role to playing in Suffering and the Hideous Thieves, The Maldives, Sons of Warren Oates, and this lottery ad (look for the ZZTop beard). In addition, the trio recruited Justin Wilmore, marking the first time the band regularly included guitar. Around the same time, Wilmore played bass for future Pickwick member Kory Kruckenberg's Deardarling project.

Though the new format re-energized Mendenhall's songwriting, his apparent depression and other internal struggles made the project unsustainable. Track 3, the most intense song in the band's catalogue has the line, "Someone please stop me/I fear I'll kill myself", and along with the screamed "I gotta keep moving" at the end, the delivery makes it clear that he was in a really rough state at the time. The directness of the whole song is quite startling, and makes for quite a switch for the band that recorded Under the Same Stars.

There are 7 tracks here, half are still without vocals. I believe these were recorded in early 2004, and to my knowledge, the unfinished songs were never completed.

Download the demos here.