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Bloomington band Spice Cowboy to release first EP at upcoming performance


Bloomington indie rock band Spice Cowboy will release their first EP, “Wild Wild Midwest,” on Feb. 16 with a show at the Palm Tree Palace, a house show venue located at 1220 E. Hunter Ave.  Photo courtesy of Matt Jaskulski

Bloomington indie rock band Spice Cowboy will release its first EP, “Wild Wild Midwest," on Feb. 16 with a show at the Palm Tree Palace. 

The show, which will be held in a house show venue located at 1220 E. Hunter Ave, starts at 9 p.m. The event will feature performances by Spice Cowboy, Marvin Stumbles and Pipe Dreams. Attendees will be charged $3 at the door, which will be donated to Middle Way House.

Spice Cowboy members Nick Jackson and Sam Ramirez said they’re excited to finally be releasing “Wild Wild Midwest,” which they started working on a year ago. Ramirez said the EP is aimed at challenging the listener’s perception of the Western cowboy trope.

Guitarist Nate Bercovitz and synth bass player Luke Brown are from Indianapolis and Valparaiso, Indiana, respectively. The two said they lend their experiences of a Midwestern upbringing to the band’s music. Amine Khalfallah and Nathan Roseboom are also featured on the forthcoming project.

“I feel like the aesthetic we’re after is very neo-soul and psych rock mixed with hip hop production but sounds like it was recorded in the '70s but still sounds modern too,” Ramirez said. 

Ramirez plays keyboard and sings for the band. He is also a senior in the Jacobs School of Music studying audio engineering. He engineered the EP, which he said was mostly recorded in band members’ basements.

The result is a do it yourself collection of eight tracks. Eight songs is lengthy for an EP, which usually only includes about five songs. It features iPhone recordings, verses sung in Spanish and something the band calls a “drunkerlude,” a mariachi-inspired interlude meant to sound like its performers are drunk.

Spice Cowboy said its aim is to expand listeners’ minds not just through their music, but through its performances as well. Members often play in matching overalls or dresses and invite the crowd to share their thoughts on political figures such as former presidents Bill Clinton and the recently-deceased George H. W. Bush.

Jackson, the band’s drummer and an IU graduate student studying Bosnian politics, shared some experiences he had while performing a show at the Back Door. The band all wore dresses onstage.

“It’s weird to see the way people react to you,” Jackson said. “Someone was faux cat-calling me. Another time, people were smacking my ass. It’s like, why do you think this is OK all of a sudden?”

The band’s upcoming release touches on topics such as masculinity, maturation and the impermanence of college students’ lives and relationships. Jackson said the song “Country Club” came about after he worked at one.

“It was like greek life on steroids,” Jackson said.

Meanwhile, Ramirez points to love and loss as the inspiration for tracks “Small Explosions” and “Quesadillas.” 

CDs of “Wild Wild Midwest” will be available for sale at Spice Cowboy’s show this Saturday.

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