Don't You Forget Me

Ansible brings back an ’80s sound, with a record made in an unmistakably modern way.

Phoebe Rourke
IMG_3270-Edit
IMG_3270-Edit

What John Hughes movie does this remind you of?


That’s what Nashville-based musician Cody Smith, 29, asks his parents after playing them a song from the new collection of music he’s made with Houston singer-songwriter Josiah Hall for their new ’80s-inspired band Ansible. The self-titled debut album drops this month. Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles are all conjured by Ansible’s cool retro soundscape.

Hall, 24, who some may remember for his sweetly melancholic self-titled debut solo album in 2012, likens listening to Ansible to traveling back in time to the days of over-teased hair and celebrity presidents — well, version 1.0 — back when Apple computers as boxy as David Byrne’s suits were the height of technology. “Think about it like you’re in the ’80s flipping a radio dial, and as you flip through each station, you’re hearing the entire album.” Hall says he and Smith covered as many ’80s genres as they could on the seven-track album.

Hall met Smith, who’s been hopping back and forth between Houston and Nashville for nearly a decade working on various projects, through a mutual friend five years ago. Ansible developed after the two started tinkering with their first project together — a yet-to-be-released follow-up to Hall’s eponymous debut album, which Smith insists is “the best damn stuff he’s ever done” — and Smith started sending Hall some of his own ’80s-inspired compositions via a digital file-sharing service. Liking what he was hearing, Hall started writing vocals and recording lyrics.

What might be the most interesting fact about Ansible’s record, which is surprisingly nostalgic for artists who were babies or not born yet in the ’80s, is the novel approach the two took to making it. Besides the challenges of recording in Hall’s apartment and keeping the neighbors off his case — “I would have to shove a t-shirt into my sax, and go into the closet with a mic to record the sax parts,” Hall laughs — the young men reside in different cities.

“The way we recorded this album was so piecemeal, so it’s hilarious that it sounds as good as it does,” says Smith. “All of the work was done over Dropbox. We’ve never recorded a single Ansible song in person.” Their sound might be John Hughes and the ’80s, but Ansible’s artistic process is all Houston in 2017.

Uncategorized

AN INTERVIEW WITH Henry Richardson, CEO & founder of DEFINE Body & Mind3

How did you adapt in these unprecedented times? Ahhh. Deep breath. Just thinking about those early days of the shutdown makes my heart palpitate. All of us at DEFINE had quite the shift happen in 2020, and honestly, it started off brutal. I don't think I slept for roughly 72 hours in those early days of the shutdown. In order to stay relevant, we launched both our DEFINE On-Demand service and our DEFINE Livestream classes. We wanted to move as quickly as possible to ensure our clients had the ability to take classes with their memberships.

Keep Reading Show less

"IT'S LIKE 2012, but times 20," muses a masked Tyler Price, 30, citing the apocalyptic film as he describes the year he and his bandmates, guitarist and vocalist Jose Sanchez, 32, and drummer Allen Edwards, 25, have had. Price provides additional vocals and plays bass guitar and keys in their indie-rock group The Soft Wear. The trio has gathered (six feet apart) on the grounds of the Menil.

In December, the band, which coalesced in 2018 after a series of fruitful jam sessions before playing its first show at an anniversary party for Montrose dive bar Poison Girl, released its self-titled debut album. The nine-track record, mixed and produced by Poison Moon Records' Kirk Campbell, has a feeling that makes one nostalgic for the foregone days of live shows. "The music I wanted us to make was music that feels like you're playing in a basement or at a show," says Sanchez, noting the band used to perform regular live shows at venues like Shoeshine Charlie's Big Top Lounge and Continental Club.

Keep Reading Show less
Art + Entertainment

Food from B.B. Italia available from the Galleria-area cloud kitchen dubbed Fair Food Co

THE PAST YEAR has yielded plenty of change within the food and bev industry, and Ben Berg's restaurant empire has not been immune. He's faced shutdowns, slowdowns and natural disasters, and has given back to the community in the midst of it all. And this week, Berg Hospitality Group has three more announcements.

Keep Reading Show less
Food