Manateees on the move with new records, tour

The Manateees (left to right) Keith Hall, Abe White, and Charlotte Watson.

The Manateees (left to right) Keith Hall, Abe White, and Charlotte Watson.

Manateees, with A.C. Dreamcleaner and Sharp Balloons

Friday at 1372 Overton Park. Cover: $5. Doors open at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. BYOB. For more information, visit Facebook.

Local band the Manateees will commemorate the release of their new 7-inch record "Tree House" on the Goner label and "Our For Booze," recently out on New Orleans' Pelican Pow Wow label, with a show at the do-it-yourself venue 1372 Overton Park.

The bring-your-own-beverage concert is for all ages and includes sets from the Bay Area's A.C. Dreamcleaner and Memphis' Sharp Balloons..

The show kicks off what is shaping up to be a formative period for the trio, who have three more singles (including one for a European label) teed up for release and are also working on a full-length album. The show also precedes a period of heavy touring for the band that will culminate in appearances at the South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas, in March.

"We're ready. We're making up for lost time," says bass player Keith Hall, explaining how the band's music was delayed more than a year by recording problems. "It's great to be getting everything out and hitting the road and playing as much as possible outside of Memphis."

Manateees first formed about two years ago. Singer and guitarist Abe White, a native Memphian, had several songs brewing in his head but was looking for the right collaborators to help realize them.

"I had a bunch of songs that were sort of stagnant," says White. "I started writing a bunch because I was bored and wanted to get out of here, but I was trying to figure out what people could do it."

One night at Murphy's, White met Hall, a Portland, Ore., native who had recently moved here to work at the Gibson Guitar Factory.

" ... I called Keith a lumberjack," recalls White, explaining how their rough beginning developed into mutual admiration when they discovered a shared love for black metal, having previously played in bands with the same drummer. "I met up with him later on at the Hi-Tone, and we were getting drunk. … I was like, 'I'm looking for a bass player. I got the lyrics in the car if you want to take a look at it.' Keith was stoked."

Hall, who had been playing guitar, went out and bought a bass the next day. Soon, the band acquired other members, including Charlotte Watson, a veteran of the indie pop band Bake Sale who was looking to take up the drums.

"I kind of wanted to do like a punk orchestra kind of thing," says White of the early formulation. "But it's one thing to have a concept for it and another one to be able to really do that (with) nine people. After awhile it just became ridiculous."

Once reality set it, the group trimmed down to the current trio of White, Watson, and Hall. But the experimental spirit of those mass shows still lingers in the Manateees music.

"We do a lot of different styles and genres of music," says Watson, who works part time at Goner, the local punk label that has embraced the group. "Which isn't to say other bands on Goner don't do the same, but within the garage punk world there's a lot of stuff that sounds the same."

Adds Hall: "We have black metal elements and weird slow, creepy mid-tempo stuff. A lot of people get it, but its hard when you get lumped in with garage rock and everyone's expecting that. I think it's good when people have to think about the music instead of just feeling the same thing when they hear something familiar."

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