At a private gig in Oakland last week, Stomacher teased friends and supporters with a sampling from its forthcoming album. Front man Jarrod Taylor, 28, stood barefoot on stage as he explained that the band was "stretching" its "sea legs" before the final touches are finished.
But even before the record is released and touring begins in earnest, the Concord-based rock band is hitting the ground running with a performance Thursday night at the famous Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles.
"It'll probably be like any other gig but with an extra dose of nerves," said Taylor, a Concord native. Although Stomacher has played in Los Angeles before, the band is performing Thursday alongside the world famous Dex Romweber Duo in one of the world's most famous venues.
After being cooped up creating a new album, however, Stomacher seems ready to take the stage with gusto.
The last album, Sentimental Education (2009), has been described as a haunting, dramatic, "goose-bump inducing" endeavor that was compared to Radiohead's OK Computer. Years in the making, the record set a standard for Stomacher's painstaking attention to detail, resulting in a level of intensity that was uniquely the band's own. Tracks like "Coming on a Black Day" and "Dark Divider" offered a gripping glimpse into the band's future.
In the two years since, Stomacher — formerly known as In Reverent Fear before members opted for "a fresh start" — has been maturing and honing their sound even further. The new music departs from the dark shores of Sentimental Education into a lighter, freer realm, where introspection gives way to the compulsion of the beat.
At the Oakland teaser, each band member seemed to stand at the helm of his own musical universe. Taylor often closes his eyes to sing, his passion for the music palpable in his body language as well as the ethereal tone of his voice, which merges with the cloud of music rising from the band as an instrument itself.
Jeff Tollefson, 27, assumes a steely composure as bassist; Stephen Reinhardt, 29, stands with doe-eyed strength on guitar and backing vocals, and Greg Francis is a mathematician on guitar and keyboards. At the heart of Stomacher's solar system, drummer Jonathan Lazarus, 26, exudes a powerful energy that is mesmerising — his face rapt, his limbs moving as if independent of his body.
The sound itself is a visceral, pure form of rock, energy and vibe that creates an almost primal gut reaction — like being gripped around the waist. Fittingly, the band's name is representative of this effect. A stomacher is the decorative, boned structure on the front of a woman's bodice.
Can't make it to Los Angeles for the show? Stomacher regularly plays in Concord and around the Bay Area. Visit the Stomacher Facebook page for updates.
Stomacher at Whisky A Go Go
Tickets are $10 and doors open at 7 p.m.
Download Sentimental Education for free here.