It’s not easy, but it’s fine,” sings Karli Ingersoll of Windoe on “Firecracker,” a touching, sedated new tune from Shake It Out, the Spokane, Washington group’s latest EP. Ingersoll’s airy voice floats over her electric guitar that carries just a touch of drive and a swell of reverb. The bass and drums do no more than they have to. Vocal harmonies provide light color. It’s an aura of minimalistic intentionality that influences the Shake It Out EP from start to finish.

“When I first imagined Windoe,” Ingersoll tells Behind the Setlist after a recent performance at the Knitting Factory in Spokane, “I imagined it being really bare. I wanted the songs to focus on melody and songwriting.”

Seeing Windoe perform live, one cannot help but notice the musical minimalism. It’s the type of simplicity reminiscent of a Tom Petty live show, minus the energy or general optimism (Windoe is the winter to Petty’s summer). Each member of Ingersoll’s band—which also includes husband Caleb Ingersoll on drums, Caroline Fowler on vocals, and Jackson Cate on bass—can be individually picked out and studied. The drums are clean, the bass is focused, the harmonies are clear. It’s a sound that matches their record: straightforward and raw.

“When we record,” Ingersoll explains, “we just track what we play live and not much more. There is some layering here and there, but only if it contributes to dynamics rather than additional parts.”

Barebones tracking is a trend for many indie artists today, but the style often goes awry if the songwriting lacks depth or a solid hook. Windoe excels where others fail. And while the general mood of the collection is melancholic, its songs surprise you with their accessibility and willingness to grab you. The best example may be the EP’s title track, “Shake It Out” — a gritty song with a massive hook that lands somewhere between early Death Cab for Cutie and late Arctic Monkeys.

© Erick Doxey

“And you know it’s time to go/When the colors start running and your heart starts pumping/And the walls are closing in/And the city’s getting smaller and you’re thinking about departure/Shake it out.”


Fresh off a run of West Coast tour dates with Joseph, Windoe is looking forward to writing and recording a full-length follow-up. Busy schedules may delay the process, however, as they did with Shake It Out —which took nearly a year to finish. “This band is not on track to be anyone’s full-time gig,” Ingersoll explains.

Along with her husband, Ingersoll founded the Bartlett, Spokane’s premier indie music venue, and the venture keeps them both busy, albeit inspired: “Having a venue kind of forces you to spend a lot of time seeing shows, which I really, really love to do. It definitely pushes me out of the house on nights when I am tired. I end up seeing something that really moves me. Watching others create and share their art is what fills me up to make my own.”

Perspective may be the best benefit of running an indie music venue. Ingersoll has no delusions of earning riches or gaining fame from today’s gaunt music industry. Rather, her goal—i.e., Windoe’s goal—is to continue to make art that she can be proud of, art that she can share with those who are willing to listen.

“We really like to get out and play shows, and I’m always happy to break even or come home with a little bit of extra money to pay [the band]. I love writing and recording, and fortunately, I can do all of that in a self-sustained way. But the idea of doing the whole ‘recording a studio album and touring the country’ thing—man, it’s a complex challenge to do that and come out on top financially, even if you have label support. It honestly breaks my heart, but [artists] still do it because the drive is there. That is inspiring to me on a lot of different levels.”

The future is unwritten, but for now, fans of Windoe have a new collection of tunes to take home. Simple as it sounds.

Shake It Out is available now on Spotify. Find Windoe on Facebook. Catch Windoe next at the Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho. All photos by Erick Doxey.

 

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