Attic Room

WS 008LP WS 008LP

Attic Room is Bob Keal's fifth full-length album as Small Sur. In this collection of songs, Keal meditates on the rhythms of domestic life and fatherhood while discovering newfound depths and maturity in his songwriting. Attic Room emerged from hundreds of song fragments that Keal scratched into the margins of life since the release of 2013's Labor. The result is a "bedroom country" record, one that is inescapably intimate while also evoking the wide-open Midwestern landscapes of Keal's childhood. The bulk of Keal's delicate vocals and classical guitar work was recorded in the basement choir room of a chapel on his school's campus, with Matthew O'Connell (Chorusing) engineering and accompanying on grand piano and Telecaster. As a player, engineer, and co-producer, O'Connell helped to craft a cohesive avant-folk album aesthetic, creating tape dub of instrumental tracks and running saxophone takes through a half-broken Echoplex tape delay, all the while creating sounds that Keal would not have encountered otherwise. Small Sur's music has always been spare, intimate, and deeply felt. But with the stripping of the conventional full-band structure, Keal was able to invite in even more community, while still creating a minimalist and personal sound. Attic Room includes Small Sur's Andy Abelow (saxophone) and Will Ryerson (bass), as well as guests like North Carolina fiddler Joseph DeCosimo, pedal steel guitarist Dave Hadley, and singer Cara Beth Satalino of Outer Spaces. Keal trusted Wye Oak and Joyero's Andy Stack, a long-time collaborator, to process his numerous instrumental contributions however he liked.