I'll be posting a lot about The Innocence Mission in the next few months, with their new album due March 13. The Lancaster trio (who reportedly reunited with former drummer - and restauranteur - Steve Brown on some of the upcoming tracks) seem to take longer and longer with each release, their records getting shorter and sparser but staying just as wonderful. With R.E.M. in massive decline, this indie folk outfit - built from husband-and-wife team of Karen Peris (vocals, guitars, piano) and Don Peris (backing vocals, guitars) and Mike Bitts (bass) - has taken over as my favorite active band. The epochs that pass between their releases is just part of the deal.
I've met all three current members and they were all incredibly sweet and humble. Karen's an amazing performer but spends most of her time on stage shyly looking down or closing her eyes or staring at Don and smiling. She seemed genuinely surprised when I told her how much her music means to me and answered my question about an inaudible lyric in the song Snow ("Oh, I couldn't think of anything, so I just sang nonsense that sounded like words") with the quitest voice on the planet, then wished me a Merry Christmas.
Fellow IM superfan Keith Abbott - who, like me, paid through the nose for a vinyl copy of the band's debut EP, Tending the Rose Garden, which they hate so much they've tried to buy back all 1,000 copies to destroy them - has a great fan site. He is promising big news about the band on Monday but won't even hint as to what it is. Which brings me to the reason for this entry: Keith's new message board, which he calls The Rose Garden. Hopefully, it'll become a great hub for fans of the band and replace some of the low-fi stuff in place now (like the Yahoo group and the mailing list).
I'm still the newest member - with account No. 11 - and my four posts so far make me his most active user.
If you haven't heard the band - though if you know me personally, you probably have - shame on you. There are days when I appreciate their earlier, slightly more rockin' albums as opposed to the quieter, folkier newfangled ones. 1995's Glow, to me, is their masterpiece. But two of my favorite post-Mike Brown tracks are available as free downloads on their official Web site. Direct links are below.
The Innocence Mission - The Lakes of Canada [mp3]
The Innocence Mission - Tomorrow on the Runway [mp3]