Grand Archives - Biography
By Marcus Kagler
Mat Brooke may be best known for walking away from the country-tinged indie rockers Band of Horses at the height of their popularity. His departure came as no surprise to those familiar with Brooke’s previous group Carissa’s Wierd, a band whose penchant for melancholy lo-fi slowcore couldn’t be more different from Band of Horses big hook laden indie rock. Plus the Horses primarily belong to vocalist Ben Bridwell, another former Carissa’s Weird member, so it made sense for Brooke to exit the group to form a band more akin to his eclectic slowcore strengths. Originally named Archives, the quintet formed in Brooke’s hometown of Seattle during the spring of 2007, consisting of Brooke on vocals and guitar, bassist Jeff Montano (formerly of New Mexicans), guitarist Curtis Hall (formerly of The Jeunes), drummer Thomas Wright, and multi-instrumentalist Ron Lewis (who still performs solo under the moniker Ghost Stories). Specializing in pastoral indie pop with a pinch of traditional country thrown in for good measure, Archives began in 2007 by posting a few demos to their myspace page to little fanfare. After opening for former Carissa’s Wierd bandmate Sera Cahoone, the band snagged the attention of Internet indie tastemaker Pitchfork Media, who featured a stream of an early song called “Sleepdriving” on their site, giving the band some much needed exposure. Brooke soon changed the band’s name to Grand Archives and began working on their debut full length. Grand Archives sound harkens back to early 70’s folk rock acts like Crosby, Stills, & Nash with all five members contributing harmonized vocals to almost every track. After an 8 date west coast American tour opening for Modest Mouse the group released their debut self-titled album, Grand Archives (2008) on Sub Pop Records to glowing reviews and spent the remainder of the year on several subsequent tours around the world.