Slow Runner is what happens when Star Wars or AV geeks grow up and form a band. The retro-swish sound of their first album, No Disassemble — released in 2003, then re-released in 2006 by Sony — with its funky late '50's/early '60's beat poet with a bit of Johnny Number Five thrown in, has established them as a favourite in my music collection. Their mature, hot-buttered-toast sound, with its interesting twists and the electronic odd-sounding bleeps, blips, and bloops give No Disassemble a funky sound and unique charm. Think Grandaddy’s grandson; all of the smooth, seamless indie pop but without the over-the-top quirkiness.
Slow Runner are renowned for the lyrics of frontman Michael Flynn, who won second place in the 2001 John Lennon songwriting scholarship contest and came first in the Flat Rock Music Festival songwriting contest later that same year. Flynn, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, is set to do for geek-rock what Zach Braff did for television sitcoms — re-define ultra cool and super smooth. With the release of their newest LP SHIV! I think they have a real chance.
And how did it all begin for this South Carolina-based band? Well, according to their bio it happened on a bright moon-lit night, in the woods when two friends, Flynn (singer-songwriter) and Josh Kaler (multi-instrumentalist), went for a walk and found a large stone with a sword jutting from the top. They climbed up this mountainous stone and together pulled the sword from it when suddenly the curtains of heaven opened, accompanied no doubt by a herald of angels singing, and they realized simultaneously that their musical destinies were harmoniously entwined and would involve a Casio, loud drums, and short pop songs about girls.
Their newest album SHIV! has more guitar rock than their previous release, helping them to achieve a much wider appeal, with less Star Wars electronics and more straightforward indie rock. Recently the uber-talented Flynn was nice enough to sit down with me for a quick chat. We talked about the failed contract with Sony, his love of the Iron Giant and of course SHIV!.