Knife in the Water's unique mix of bleak Texas psyche and country creates the perfect soundtrack for downing a fifth of bourbon alone in your car, parked outside your ex's house in the dead of winter. You may or may not also be loading a gun. With a subtle blend of organ, guitar, pedal steel, bass and drums, they conjure the barren stretches of Texas plains, the faces in dusty bars and the smell of cheap perfume and sleazy motel rooms.
The band, comprised of Aaron Blount (vocals, guitar), Laura Krause (vocals, Hammond organ), Bill McCullough (pedal steel), Mark Nathan (bass) and Cisco Ryder (drums), formed in 1997. Being native Texans, their sound is steeped in residual influence. It is the organic result of the five band members cross-fertilising backgrounds in church, gospel and classical, rockabilly and country-blues, Willie Nelson and Joy Division. They have an academic background in avant-garde minimalism and blood-bucket honky tonk, and they're capable and serious in executing their boundary-blurring vision of unusual modern American sounds.
Singer-songwriter Aaron Blount came by the traditions which anchor them honestly. "Growing up in Texas, you can't avoid country, folk, traditional music... it's really everywhere. I remember checking out the Harry Smith Folk Anthology from the library — I didn't want to take it back. Those songs generated a feeling that a lot of modern music didn't, an understanding of the cycle of life and death. Not living by a clock, but by the rising of the sun."
Crosspross Bells finds the band moving into more psych-abstract territory than their previous long players, Plays One Sound and Others and Red River. A resigned spiritual feel is evident on "Crosshair Chapel," and "From the Catbird Seat" bears the lysergic influence of the Thirteen Floor Elevators. The five songs on this EP share the themes of indifference and decay, and find a strange natural calm in both states.
Knife in the Water has toured Europe twice, made many treks across the US and Texas (technically its own nation), including stints with Calexico, Macha and NYC's Mendoza Line. The Red River LP was #14 on SPIN's top 20 albums of 2000. The band's third album, Cut the Cord was released in 2003, and the band is currently working on a fourth.
• Plays One Sound and Others CD (All Recordings, 1998)
• Red River LP/CD (Overcoat, 2000)
• Red River CD (Glitterhouse [EUROPE], 2000)
• Cut the Cord CD (Glitterhouse [EUROPE], 2003)
• Plays One Sound and Others CD + bonus tracks (Aspyr, 2003)
• Red River CD + bonus tracks (Aspyr, 2003)
• Cut the Cord CD (Aspyr, 2003)
Singles & EPs
• "Slavery" b/w "Redbird" 7" (Western Vinyl, 1998)
• "Two Spades" b/w "Sunset Motel" 7" (All City, 1999)
• Crosspross Bells CD EP (Peek-A-Boo Records, 2002)
• "A Lesson" split 7" (Glitterhouse [EUROPE], 2003)
• Peek-A-Boo Book of Spells LP (Peek-A-Boo Records, 2000)