Since the release of their 2015 self-titled debut album, Baltimore’s indie rock duo Underlined Passages has been developing a reputation for their guitar driven and lush emotionally intense music. Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Michael Nestor and percussionist Jamaal Turner, the duo continues to deliver songs that resonate, with a fusion of soulful, borderline-wistful vocals, catchy and twangy guitars, and tight drums on their upcoming new album, Tandi My Dicafi, which will be released on September 15th on Mint 400 Records.
Recorded and mixed by Frank Marchand (The Thermals, Bob Mould) from April-June 2017, according to Michael, on Tandi My Dicafi, Underlined Passages presents a “sonic palette filled with nods to mid-80’s Flying Nun Records, mid aughts sweater indie rock, and modern alternative rock music.” He continues, “We wanted the album to be sonically heavier, and more dynamic than our last, ‘The Fantastic Quest’”, but still in tune with the core sound that is Underlined Passages. The record is the audio culmination of the last six months of our ups, downs, gains, and losses. Its creation served as our catharsis through the emotional roller coaster we as a band have endured. Jamaal lost his wife in tragic freak car accident right before we went into the studio in April 2017, and we struggled to find our footing. This record was like an emotional foundation upon which we could walk step by step out of that tragedy for our band family.”
Simultaneously heavy and ethereal, the eight tracks on the record ebb and flow from softened layers of melody to frenetic shreds of distortion to catchy, twangy pop. Igniting a shared emotional connection, the band takes their listeners along their journey from song to song. Tandi My Dicafi opens with the track "Feelings", which is the first single and video from the album. “This song is about our current culture of oversharing,” Michael says. “Everyone expects you to have feelings about everything. It is not possible as a human to do that. Sometimes, as the chorus states ‘you don’t have those feelings’. It is OK to just be and not think. However, the song also deals with the desire to be heard. This modern life is all about the juxtaposition of needing to be seen, and wanting to be anonymous.”
Recognized for his work as the main songwriter, singer and guitarist for acclaimed band The Seldon Plan (2002-2011) and Pupa’s Window (1994-2008), Michael also ran the well regarded Beechfields Record Label from 2003-2011. He formed Underlined Passages in 2014 and recruited ex-Seldon Plan drummer Frank Corl to make their self-titled debut album, recorded by Frank Marchand. After the record was created, he met New Jersey indie rock veteran Neil Sabatino of Mint 400 Records and was signed to the label, with no real band behind it. After signing, Michael began to support the record, with some urging from Mint 400, by recruiting a bassist and drummer for the band.
Michael and Jamaal, the current iteration of Underlined Passages, met months after the release of the band’s 2015 self-titled album. After the departure of the band’s then drummer and still having to support a tour, Jamaal was brought on to finish. Not originally intended to be the recording lineup, the band bonded and crafted a unique musical style over the course of the live shows during the tour. Using the momentum and the sound honed on the road, they created the 2016 album, “The Fantastic Quest”.
With a friendship enduring through thick and thin, the collective weight of their experiential journey is fully on display with Tandi My Dicafi. Halfway between indie rock and tonal exploration, the new record is sure to appeal to the hearts and minds of listeners with familiar emotions: longing, wonder, ennui and joy.