The Lees Of Memory sprang to life off the playback head of a 4-track cassette recorder in August 2012…. and launched headlong into the process of writing what would eventually become their anticipated debut album entitled Sisyphus Says. Guitarist/Vocalist Brandon Fisher and multi-instrumentalist and singer John Davis have both a 25-plus-year friendship and a musical kinship cemented first in the damp basements and dive bars of their native Knoxville, TN with punk quartet The Used (posthumously re-named The Used To Be for legal reasons, with Davis on drums), and later behind the twin-engine guitars that propelled the group Superdrag to international acclaim and the Buzz Bin with their hit “Sucked Out” and a sizable body of work that still holds water today. In the interim, Davis released a pair of solid releases under his own name, made his mark as an in-demand sideman and session player, and did time in hardcore outfit Epic Ditch (whose records the Nashville Scene described as “…right up there with OFF’s First Four EPs in terms of tight, concise, contemporary ‘skate or die’ statements.”)
The Lees Of Memory didn’t exist when Fisher and Davis got together in John’s home studio in Nashville (High Bias!!! A Cassette-Based Operation) to flesh out one of Brandon’s latest songs; the result (“Deliquesce”) stoked a fire of creativity that soon saw the pair moving on separate, parallel tracks, but composing two very sympathetic batches of material. The decision to join forces and continue moving forward as a team was an easy one. Once drummer Nick Slack (Slack, Pink Spiders, Epic Ditch) was recruited, the newly-minted trio was ready to roll into Nashville’s Blackbird Studio with Grammy-winning producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Ghost, Alice In Chains, Deftones), another long-time friend of the band and “5th Beatle” on the majority of their Superdrag output and beyond. Working in quick, focused blasts and eventually setting up shop at Raskulinecz’s Rock Falcon TN compound, the band knocked out their 11 best songs and emerged with what they’ve proclaimed to be the record of their lives.
Sometimes blanketed in a dense fog of swooning Jazzmasters and Jaguars, channeling Twin Peaks with ancient samplers powered by floppy disks, the songs on Sisyphus Says are pierced through with keening melodies and rich with harmonic colors. First single and video “We Are Siamese” is a sterling example. Elsewhere, thick slabs of guitar put down live on the tracking floor with Slack’s drums are layered over with organs, synths and pianos, pedal steel and tanpura, Taurus pedals and 12-strings, a whole kitchen sink of sound anchored by Davis’ fuzzy electric bass--and topped with a veneer of breathy, heart-on-the-sleeve vocals drenched in reverb.
Released on 9-16-14 via SideOneDummy Records & on Burger Records cassette, Sisyphus Says stands with the best of Davis and Fisher’s past work…. and points the way to a very bright future. Consequence Of Sound said, “…these guys can’t help but write devastatingly effective pop melodies…”, while Exploding In Sound praised the duo for their “…lush, expertly-crafted songs.” In the meantime, a 6-piece incarnation of the Lees (including Superdrag’s Sam Powers) has been making waves with highly-anticipated live appearances at SXSW 2015 and Grimey’s Record Store Day event in Nashville, which marked the release of their latest 45, “Soft Places” b/w “Within A Dream II”. “Played purely and brilliantly” according to Stereogum, these are just 2 of the 30+ songs Davis & Fisher have penned for their follow-up effort, Unnecessary Evil.