The Whistles & the Bells - "Cosmic Torpedoes" (video) (premiere)

by Sarah Zupko

24 February 2016

Cadillac Sky's Bryan Simpson steps out into a new world with the Whistles & the Bells.

Bryan Simpson built his career with progressive bluegrass ensemble Cadillac Sky, a group that developed a huge following in bluegrass and roots music circles. Now Simpson is stepping out on his own with the new project, the Whistles & the Bells, which affords him far more opportunity to get more experimental and explore a range of roots genres. On “Cosmic Torpedoes”, from last year’s stellar self-titled album, Simpson builds from an Americana base, adding soulful beats and a bit of wacky, far-out pop that occasionally conjures up the spirit of XTC. The Whistles & the Bells is very much a Christian album that charts Simpson’s journey towards finding God, but these songs also have a real openness and speak to universal questions, belief and faith.
Bryan Simpson tells PopMatters that “‘Cosmic Torpedoes’ was born from a Yahoo news feed headline when I opened my laptop one morning right before I was gonna make the record… I simply read ‘Cosmic Torpedoes’ and immediately it incurred all these other worries that had been trying to worm their way into my brain. I had just gotten back from a trip to Africa and had heard all about these ‘infected mosquitoes’ and then of course the theme of the last few years… ‘the terrorists are assimilating’ or more accurately ‘insurgents incognito’. I’m happy to say that ‘no rhyming dictionaries were harmed in the writing of this song’. I tried to squeeze ‘winnebago’ into the lyrics, but ‘motorhomes’ simply aren’t much of a societal nuisance. My boy Joshua Britt made the lyric video and he’s simply a mad genius. We’re staring at stuff that shouldn’t breed anxiety but combined with the music and the filter they do—that’s what I feel like the “catastrophizers” are promoting 00 coloring our eye with anxiety. The struggle to not nail plywood on the windows and keep the monsters out—real or imaginary—is real.”

March 1 - Santa Fe, NM @ Skylight *     
March 2 - Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar *   
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March 4 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hotel Cafe *
March 5 - San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel *
March 8 - Seattle, WA @ The Triple Door * 
March 9 - Portland, OR @ Dour Fir Lounge *   
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March 11 - Bozeman, MT @ Filling Station *
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March 13 - Denver, CO @ The Bluebird Theater *
March 16-18 - Austin, TX @ SXSW  

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