Kylesa returns to Savannah June 22 — a hometown show smack in the middle of the band's seemingly endless world tour.
The Jinx stop will be the band's first in the wake of full-length number 5, Ultraviolet, which represents yet another giant step — a growth spurt — in Kylesa's unstoppable march to the thorny peak of innovative metal.
Not that it was all thought out, singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Phillip Cope says.
"I wasn't really thinking that way that much, honestly," he explains. "We just kind of write what comes out. At this point, we don't worry about exactly where it's supposed to fit in. We try to keep our fans in mind; we don't want to do anything that's too out there, and alienate people that have supported us for years. But at the same time, we've been a band long enough to know that it's just good for us to trust our guts."
Ultraviolet features more of the layered keyboards — and Cope's eerie theremin — found on the last album, 2010's acclaimed Spiral Shadow.
And Laura Pleasants, the band's other singing, songwriting guitar player, has considerably more vocals than ever before.
"This album kind of came together differently than what was done in the past," says Pleasants. "We weren't all in the same place at the same time very much. I had my songs, Phillip had his songs, Eric (Hernandez) wrote a couple songs, and then we combined efforts on a few things. So I already had my vocals worked out for the stuff I wrote.
"Wearing so many hats, Phillip was kind of directing this whole thing and producing it. He was doing more keyboards and he seemed more interested in working with his theremin and that kind of stuff than doing vocals. It was almost like trying to ease him up on the workload. He was like 'Hey, if you want to take a shot at any of this material vocally, go for it, because I don't have anything.' And I said 'Oh, OK! That's cool. Sure.' It just came together really easily. I threw my ideas down and it seemed to work."
Savannah bassist Chase Rudeseal (Crazy Bag Lady) is new to the band, joining founding members Cope and Pleasants, and drummers Hernandez and Carl McGinley.
Despite its sludge-metal roots and brutal twin drumming, Kylesa has become world-renowned for the gauzy, atmospheric layers in its music. There are prominent keyboards and other subtle sonic touches on Ultraviolet.
There is, however, a line Cope doesn't believe in crossing.
"It's hard to say what that line would be," he explains. "I would have to be in the midst of writing an album ... I think I would just know 'OK, that's taking something too far.' I would have to hear what that is before I could make that decision."
With regard to the future, he confesses to not having much of a master plan. "I have no idea until we start doing it."
Adds Pleasants: "Our fans are what's really important. The critics matter to a certain degree, but really our fans matter more. And we've gotten the best fan response from this record that I can ever remember."
Last August, Pleasants appeared on a Decibel magazine cover, for a story called "Women in Metal." She happens to be one of the few American women to front a hardcore metal band, and her contributions to Kylesa's music — regardless of her sex — are paramount to the group's innovative success.
"I kinda had mixed feelings doing it," Pleasants explains. "But I knew it was a response to what Revolver does — they do this 'Hottest Chicks in Metal' issue. And this wasn't that; it was more of a celebration of just women in metal. Whether they're playing in bands, or booking or doing label stuff.
"So it was cool, but at the same time it was like 'Does it really need to be pointed out in 2013?'"
The June 22 show also features Blood Ceremony, White Hills and Lazer/Wulf. Tickets for the 11 p.m. event are $12 at the Jinx.
Some summer shows
• The Savannah Stopover gang (aka Music File Productions) is at it again, putting up a couple of summer shows designed to grab your eye and ear. The '80s Britpop band Modern English (which outlived its gauzy compatriots like the Psychedelic Furs, Spandau Ballet and and Simple Minds) plays Dollhouse Productions Aug. 28. If the name doesn't register, sing the lines "I'll stop the world and melt with you" and this band will come squarely into the focus of memory. There'll be an '80s-themed dance party following, by golly, and $15 advance tickets are on sale through Showclix.
In the meantime, Brooklyn duo Widowspeak plays a free Sparetime show July 8, followed by Stopover delights Ponderosa and Yip Deceiver at the Jinx July 12.
Music File promises there's more to come, which can only be a good thing. Keep it here.
• Our friends at Safe//Sound Productions also have news: A cool trio of summer shows at Ashmore Gallery. June 28, it's Rivals, Blackrune and Hallucinex (the latter two are releasing a cassette with Furious Hooves). The July 5 "Cape Fear" dance party will feature Atlanta techno artist Moon B, and "Swinger's Night" (July 12) gives us performances by Florida's Saskatchewan and the Cretin Girls, with our own Sauna Heat opening.