Tyson Vogel, drummer for Two Gallants, is sitting in front of an abandoned church in San Francisco when he calls me. I imagine a cracked steeple, broken-out stained-glass windows, a wooden front door hanging from its hinges and the sound of wind blowing dust through the sanctuary inside.
It's fitting imagery for the sound of Vogel's band.
Their new record, What the Toll Tells, starts off just as cracked and deserted as the church in my mind. That is, until Vogel breaks in with big cymbal hits backing the cat-scratched vocals of guitarist-vocalist Adam Stephens.
“It's a lot easier to get people's attention when you have a lot of power,” Vogel says.
Two Gallants is the newest band to sign with the Omaha, Neb.-based Saddle Creek Records. Vogel says they didn't really know any of the bands on the label when they signed. They had played in Omaha a couple of times while on tour to support their first record. By opening for the band Beep Beep, they got to know the label's director, Robb Nansel. Later, they met the guys in Cursive, The Faint and Bright Eyes. Vogel liked how real and grounded the Saddle Creekers seemed, how they did and saw things in a similar way.
“No bullshit sushi dinners,” Vogel explains, poking fun at how some labels usually woo a band they want to sign. “Everyone seems to be sincere and thoughtful, and that's really nice.”
Both Vogel and Stephens hail from the Bay Area. The Mission district was the heart of the music scene for the band-a spot Vogel describes as the working-class side of San Francisco, with plenty of clubs and seedy bars to play.
One of the distinctive aspects of What the Toll Tells is that it was recorded on analog tape. Vogel praised the warmth of analog and said if he had his choice, he'd put the album out only on record and tape, not CD, because records and tape draw out even more of that warmth.
“We feel much more at home [in that format]-it represents much more of us in how we view the world,” he says. “It's nice to know that there was no computering going on.”
Two Gallants plays with Cold War Kids and Old Man Hands at The Casbah on April 5. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. $8. 619-232-HELL