On its latest album, “The Recluse,” local math-prog-rock mainstay Belt of Vapor spent more than a year making home demos, dialing in their sound before taking it into the studio.
During one of those sessions, the trio of childhood friends pressed the record button on an improvisational warm-up jam.
It ended up being a keeper, but it needed vocals. So Belt of Vapor’s Aaron Powell called on Hank Nordstrom, frontman for Spokane’s Dead Serious Lovers.
Nordstrom’s lyrics for the song were born of a similarly improvised fashion.
“I showed up and Aaron asked me if I could sing something on it and it was like, ‘All right, go,’ ” Nordstrom said. “I had no idea what the song was about. I started mumbling something and it just came together.”
Nordstrom’s response to the instrumental fit the mood, even though it’s the only Belt of Vapor song that is not radio-friendly, Powell said.
“Henry dropped the F-bomb in his lyrics, but it kind of sounds cool because the song is so melodic and all of a sudden the F-word comes in,” Powell said. “I never really cuss in my lyrics. I try to stay away from that … He didn’t know what the song was about. He wrote his lyrics in five minutes but it was perfect.”
With the collaboration, “Reigning Hands,” appearing on Belt of Vapor’s new full-length album, BoV naturally invited Dead Serious Lovers to play a support slot on the vinyl release party, which happens on Thursday at the Bing Crosby Theater. DSL took the gig as an incentive to finish its new album, “Les,” making the evening a double album release event.
“We needed a deadline to finish the album. And it’s an extreme deadline. We’re still waiting on minor tweaks to some final tracks. But it’s a doable deadline, and we really wanted to play the Bing,” Nordstrom said. “We tend to procastinate but it’s cool to see things evolve when we’re playing over time versus writing a song and tracking it right away. We went back several times and erased things and changed things.”
Likewise, Powell said, Belt of Vapor is accustomed to going from the gut when it comes to writing and recording, but letting the ideas marinate for “The Recluse” allowed the album’s flavor to set in before hitting the studio to lay final tracks with Spokane sound engineer Bill Nieman.
“It still has that garage grit but it sounds more polished,” Powell said. “It was nice to demo it on our own with our own studio equipment. We were a lot more prepared and the final product is totally different.”
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