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The Columbia Chronicle

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The Columbia Chronicle

Shakey Graves discusses new album ‘Movie of the Week’ ahead of Nov. 17 show at The Salt Shed

Addison Annis
Shakey Graves newest album “Movie of the Week” vinyl sits on a shelf inside of Reckless Records at 26 E. Madison St., on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. Released on Sept. 15, 2023, the album speaks heavily with vulnerability to mental health, political issues and societal problems.

After a scrapped effort of scoring his friends independent film, alternative Americana singer Shakey Graves made the decision of carrying over the unused compositions, creating something new for himself. Blending elements of psychedelic rock with hints of folk, Alejandro Rose-Garcia strays away from his stripped down one-man-band sound with his new album “Movie of the Week.”

The album, which was released Sept. 15, consists of 13 songs. Hence the title, the collection of songs act somewhat as a film score, holding a big dramatic sound with intricate layers like what one might hear in a movie. The opening track titled “Channel One (Intro)” begins with the sound of a VHS cassette inserting into a TV, immersing the listener into the setting of watching or being in a movie.

Rose-Garcia centered his album on the idea of a main character that he could place in various vague scenarios that represented different scenes of a movie. Using demos and musical themes to assist his creative process, Rose-Garcia recorded each song multiple times with a new sound representing a different theme or mood.

“We ended up recording hours and hours of music, and ever since then for the last three years I’ve been going through all of that and processing all the audio and making songs out of it.” Rose-Garcia said.

Born in Texas, the folk-rock artist was raised in an artistic family and grew up aiming to pursue acting in high school. Later on, Rose-Garcia attended the University of Texas to study film and theatre until eventually getting tired of it and shifting his focus to songwriting and performing music.

Originally gaining recognition back in 2011 as a one-man band with only a microphone and a suitcase kick drum, Rose-Garcia’s music has now morphed into a large, lush soundscape. Intertwining psych-rock and alternative with hints of folk and blues, “Movie of the Week” is a melting pot of genres.

“When I first started to make music, I was always imagining it would sound like this,” Rose-Garcia said. “The one-man band stuff and my solo things were just because that was the only stuff I had access to in my house.”

Earlier in his career, it was harder to live up to those aspirations of a big scale production. Though his signature DIY sound was intentional, Rose-Garcia always had a secret dream of a “big scary band.”

For example, “if you get really into basketball or yoga, you don’t have to go and get the 250-dollar yoga pants or the craziest shoes in the world, even though you might want to and it might make you more excited to do this thing,” Rose-Garcia said. “Music can also be an equipment sport for better or for worse.”

Rose-Garcia’s sound sprouted from when he didn’t have a drum kit or violin, but instead used his voice and objects found in his apartment to substitute as instruments. Stressing the importance of working with what you have and not letting it discourage you, Shakey Graves has always been a face for an authentic, do it yourself mindset when it comes to creating his music, documentaries, album cover art, and other artistic mediums.

“What has sort of defined my sound in general has been limitation,” Rose-Garcia said. “Embracing limitations and what you have is something that became a signature of mine.”

Alongside his music, the singer has a documentary series, “Hello Gorgeous,” which documents his time recording in the studio and previews unreleased songs and music videos. In the second episode, Rose-Garcia noted that live performance is the final battleground of working a song out.

“Recording this album in many ways was played live, the band that played it is the band that’s going to be playing it live,” Rose-Garcia said. “What’s great is we just get to play the songs no matter how big and thick they might sound; we can actually do most of it.”

Shakey Graves began tour late September and is set to perform in Chicago on Nov. 17 at The Salt Shed.

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About the Contributor
Addison Annis, Photojournalist
aannis@columbiachronicle.com   Addison Annis is a junior photojournalism major, minoring in video production. She has covered politics, cultural events and Chicago protests. Annis joined the Chronicle in August 2022.   Hometown: Plymouth, Minn.