Home Is Where the Art Is

With money drawn from A Kite's own reserves, the group managed to play daily, sometimes performing as many as three gigs per day. Galvez says advance planning and some on-the-spot networking helped make the tour a huge success. "I had a back-up plan for everything," he says. "If the tires go, I had four more in the back. If we don't get to this place, it's all right because we can stop at this place or go to this place. If one club's closed then we know of other clubs in the area that I can hit personally and ask if we can play that night, which actually happened a couple of times."

As daunting as the tour schedule was, Galvez says it was actually a positive experience, one that helped solidify the new lineup.

"It's his music," bassist Rajan says. "I understand we're playing something that's dear to him. As most musicians, we have our own ideas. There are times when he's pretty headstrong. I understand that because there are some times when I play something with one of my other projects and I have to say, 'Let's keep it this way for now, until we can get to that level where we can fuck with it.' I have to thank him for teaching me that."

The band is now gigging regularly at coffeehouses in South Florida, where they bring a case of CDs with them to sell to fans. Galvez is still arranging deals with distribution companies to get the discs into stores. For now, they sell to a demographically diverse group that surprises even him: "We get everyone from teenagers to seventy-year-olds approaching us to buy CDs."

The arrangements of the songs on Home might help explain this diversity. The album segues from the neo-country flair of The Eagles, to the lethargic, slow-core style of bands such as Red House Painters.

Galvez notes other influences as well: Nick Drake, Peter Gabriel, Jeff Buckley, Sting, Mark Lanegan, and Low. Opening the album is "Message Me Never Again," a song propelled by Galvez's soft guitar strumming and sympathetic snare taps courtesy of drummer Bruce Cowder. Leroy Talcott provides a bottom on fretless bass that holds up the rhythm, while meandering through the harmonic spectrum. As layers of cello tracks sigh a melodic chord, Scott Nixon's acoustic 6-string weaves a guitar lead that seems to embrace Galvez's gentle rhythm. The words come so softly and delicately, it's as if each one floats on a feather.

The songs maintain an intimate, soothing quality throughout the album. Any dynamic embellishments by electric guitars aren't allowed to overshadow the smoothness of the songs. The guitar solo on "Lily Pad Room" (provided by Juan Montoya of Ed Matus' Struggle) sounds like it comes from some distant transistor radio, and "Brand New Old Cars" fades in on a whirring wall of electric guitars that sounds like a howling wind. "Everything you need to know about me is in the lyrics and in the music," Galvez says.

His lyrics often chronicle the thoughts of a character mired in conflict. "Garden Boat" presents a protagonist who is cold and unfeeling ("How convenient it'd be to make you mine ... I ripped you from the ground to keep my pride"), yet terribly confused and isolated ("Why is everything ... so hard to explain. Time. How I wished for your garden boat to stay here forever."). "Festered Novelty" puts forward a character so anguished he seeks the comforts of drowning: "The ocean waters shake uneasy 'cause my escape will change their tides/ down from the depths of the murky, to the top of the blue sky/ They're going to hear my cry: I'm gone."

For all its ornate instrumental beauty, Galvez says he considers Home an expression of his need to find solace in simplicity. "In the end, after all this is stripped down, I just want to freeze everything and go back home," he concludes. "I just want to be lulled again. I just want all the insanity to stop. I want all the common sense to stop. I want my adulthood to stop. I don't want to be in control anymore. I want to be in a crib again."

A Kite Is a Victim will be performing Friday, December 11, at Power Studios' Studio A, 3701 NE 2nd Ave, 305-576-1336. The show starts at 10 p.m.; cover charge is $5.

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