Cursive has announced plans to reissue remastered versions of their first two albums, 1997’s debut Such Blinding Stars For Starving Eyes and 1998’s The Storms Of Early Summer: Semantics Of Song in celebration of the 20th anniversary of both albums. Both releases will arrive in stores on December 1, 2017 via their own newly formed label, 15 Passenger, and Stars is now available for pre-order HERE, while Storms is available HERE.
Remastered by Ed Brooks (Pearl Jam, Fleet Foxes, Mastodon; The Ugly Organ remasters) from the original tapes, both albums will be available for purchase digitally and on vinyl. The vinyl editions will be limited to 2,000 copies and printed on 180-gram, two-color records: Stars will be blue with a white starburst pattern; Storms will be clear vinyl with a white swirl/smoke pattern and mark the first time the album has ever been released on vinyl in the U.S. The Stars reissue features a foreword written by Tom Mullen of Washed Up Emo, while Storms features forewords by Ted Stevens (Cursive’s current guitarist who joined in 2000 following the departure of Stephen Pedersen) and the band’s longtime friend and European tour manager, Oliver Wyczisk. Such Blinding Stars For Starving Eyes and The Storms Of Early Summer: Semantics Of Song feature the original Cursive line-up of Tim Kasher (vocals, guitar), Matt Maginn (bass), Stephen Pedersen (guitar), and Clint Schnase (drums).
Originally released by Crank! Records (Stars) and Saddle Creek (Storms), the albums introduced the Omaha, NE-based band to the world and were the entry point for a devoted following that remains reverential some 20 years later. While these albums document a band in the early stages of a now-storied career, both Stars and Storms already showcased the trademarks for which Cursive has now become known: complex yet lyrical melodies and angular guitars, a heady mix of hushed and noisy dynamics, and Kasher’s incisive, confessional lyricism and singular voice -- which Pitchfork would later describe as “a more earnest, volatile, emotionally charged voice cannot be found.”
As early as 1995, the original members of Cursive -- Tim Kasher on guitar and vocals, Clint Schnase on drums, Matt Maginn on bass, and Stephen Pederson on guitar -- began work on their newly christened project, experimenting with elements of indie rock and eclectic post-hardcore to fashion a unique sound. The Omaha, Nebraska-based four-piece came out of existing friendships and some of the members' previous work together in Slowdown Virginia, making the musical partnership a logical idea from the start. They debuted with the "Disruption" 7" on the local friend-run label Saddle Creek and shortly released a second 7", "Sucker and Dry," on New York-based Zero Hour. Both recordings spotlighted Kasher's uniquely powerful voice along with the group's consistently thundering rhythm section and jagged guitars. Cursive went even further on their debut full-length, Such Blinding Stars for Starving Eyes. Split-released by Crank! A Record Company and New York's Interplanetary Truckers Union in 1997, the LP received high acclaim and put the band on the musical map.
Over the next year, Cursive released both a split 10" with Austin's Silver Scooter (also on Crank!) and yet another 7" entitled "Disruption." The latter record began the band's extensive future with Saddle Creek, and in November of 1998, the label released the group's second full-length, The Storms of Early Summer: Semantics of Song. The LP saw the band's first real attempt at incorporating linked lyrical concepts, as Kasher's lyrics told the tale of a man's complete breakdown over the aggressive song structures. Unfortunately for their growing fan base, the record didn't even yield a tour and instead saw the members disband to work on other projects, with no mention of a reunion at some later date.
After the temporary split, the members of Cursive explored a number of different outlets (including Commander Venus and Bright Eyes). After one failed marriage and some real introspection, however, the group decided to give things another shot, a fortunate conclusion that in June of 2000 resulted in the realization of Domestica. Full of fractured rhythms and lyrical examinations of a couple's crumbling relationship, the album spun a story that carried an odd familiarity to the real life experiences of Kasher. Domesticaalso introduced a new Cursive member, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Ted Stevens, formerly of Lullaby for the Working Class. (Pederson bowed out of the group to continue his education at Duke University; he later formed White Octave.)
Novena on a Nocturn, the debut of Kasher's solo project, the Good Life, was released in 2001. Also notable was the release of another Cursive EP, Burst and Bloom, which added cellist Gretta Cohn to the band's lineup. Meanwhile, Cursive were featured on the first 7" in Makato Recordings' year-long monthly 7" series, and the quintet returned in 2003 with The Ugly Organ. Their most ambitious album to date, The Ugly Organ was hailed for its challenging songwriting, obtuse conceptual scope, and serious lyrical turns. As the band readied a worthy follow-up album, Saddle Creek issued Difference Between Houses and Homes in August 2005, assembling Cursive's out of print 7"s (including two unreleased songs) into a stopgap compilation. Happy Hollow ultimately arrived in 2006, marking the departure of Cohn but also the inclusion of a brass section, which the band utilized to explore religious contradictions within the context of a fictional Western town. The following year, founding drummer Clint Schnase left Cursive on good terms and was replaced by touring drummer Cornbread Compton, and the band continued onward with its revised lineup, ringing in 2009 with the release of Mama, I'm Swollen. In 2012, they aimed for a heavy sound, choosing to work with Mastodon and Isis producer Matt Bayles on I Am Gemini, a concept album about two twins separated at birth.
Cursive released an expanded, deluxe reissue of their 2003 breakthrough album The Ugly Organ on November 24, 2014 via Saddle Creek. The Ugly Organ (Deluxe Edition) [Remastered] . It is available on 2xCD and 2xLP 180-gram vinyl, with eight additional tracks on the accompanying disc. These tracks – written during the same sessions as and originally intended for The Ugly Organ – were previously found across the band’s 8 Teeth To Eat You split with Eastern Youth, their ‘Art Is Hard’ and ‘The Recluse’ singles, and the Saddle Creek 50 compilation.
The packaging for both The Ugly Organ (Deluxe Edition) [Remastered] 2xCD and 2xLP includes a booklet with extensive liner notes comprised of rare photos, original artwork drafts, handwritten lyrics, a list of all tour dates from the era, and an introduction written by Kyle Ryan of The AV Club.
Biography by Peter J. D'Angelo