Elk City (band)

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Elk City
OriginNew York City, New York, United States
GenresArt pop
Years active1997-present
LabelsEarworm Records, Friendly Fire Recordings, Talitres, Hidden Agenda Records, Starrysky, Warm Records
Associated actsMelting Hopefuls, Flowers of America
MembersRenee LoBue
Ray Ketchem
Sean Eden
Carl Baggaley
Martin Olson
Past membersPeter Langland-Hassan
Barbara Endes

Elk City is an American art-pop band from New York City, New York, formed in 1997 as a spin-off of Melting Hopefuls. The original lineup consisted of Renee LoBue, Ray Ketchem and Peter Langland-Hassan.

The band released two albums, Status and Hold Tight the Ropes, in 2000 and 2002, respectively. After the second album, Langland-Hassan left the band, which led to the inclusion of Sean Eden and Barbara Endes.

They released New Believers in 2007 under the new lineup, and it was followed by House of Tongues in 2010.[1]


The band was formed after Langland-Hassan auditioned for Melting Hopefuls, a band that Ketchem and LoBue had been part of since 1990. The trio decided to have a fresh start with a new name for the band, rather than pretend that they were still the old one.[2]

The name refers to Elk City, an unincorporated community in Barbour County, West Virginia. Ketchem, a West Virginia native, drove past the town's sign one day, and he thought it would make a good name.[3] LoBue later commented that they liked that the name combined a rural element (an elk) with an urban element (a city).[4]

When they started, the band's only instruments were an electric guitar and drums, played by Langland-Hassan and Ketchem, respectively, while LoBue and Langland-Hassan shared the lead vocals, but shortly after LoBue started playing bass on a Novation Bass Station analog synthesizer. They spent the next three years playing on small venues, working on developing their sound as they traveled together.[2]

In 1999, the band released an extended play, Dreams of Steam, with Starrysky Records.

In early 2000, they changed the Bass Station for a Fender Rhodes Piano Bass,[2] and later that year the band released their first full-length album, Status. It was released by Hidden Agenda Records (now Parasol Records) in the United States, and by Talitres in Europe in 2001.[5][6]

In November of that same year, London-based label Earworm Records released "Freeze Two Over Eight", one of the songs from Status, as a 7" single.[7] The single featured the song "Judori" as a B-side, which is not included in any of their studio albums. The band had performed "Judori" at the late-1999 wedding of two of Langland-Hassan's friends, Jude and Midori.[2]

In 2000, Parasol Records included the band in volumes 1 and 2 of their Parasol's Sweet Sixteen series, with the songs "Dream of Steam" and "Love's Like a Bomb", respectively,[8][9] as well as in Parasol Presents Christmas Singles with the song "Deer Crossing".[10]

In 2001, soon after the release of Status in Europe, the band played on Black Sessions, a French radio show hosted by Bernard Lenoir, and that was followed by a two-week tour in Europe.[2][11] Also that year, one of their songs, "Three Ears", was included in This Is Next Year: A Brooklyn-Based Compilation, released by Arena Rock, while "Love's Like a Bomb", from Status, was included in Journey to End of Twilight: US Pop Life Vol. 9 – North East, a compilation album released by Japanese label Contact Records.[12]

After their return to the U.S., the band signed a deal with Warm Records to release their next two recordings: an EP, The Sea Is Fierce, released on October 23, 2001,[13] and their second studio album, Hold Tight the Ropes, released on May 7, 2002, by Warm Records in the U.S., and by Talitres Records in Europe that same month.[6][14]

During 2002, the band kept touring in the U.S., and near the end of the year they went on a tour in Europe that included shows in France, Greece, Italy and Spain. While on the tour they opened for American dream-pop/indie-pop band Luna on their presentations in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, as part of their own European tour.[15][16]

In February 2003, "Summer Song" was included in Flak Magazine's compilation album Got No Songs on the Radio: The Best Music of 2002. The album takes its name from a lyric in Elk City's song.[17]

Langland-Hassan left the band after the release of the second album. LoBue and Ketchem continued playing as Elk City, with LoBue taking charge of performing all the vocals.

In 2005, Sean Eden, ex-guitarist of Luna, and Barbara Endes, ex-bassist of The Lovelies, joined the band.

On April 17, 2007, their third album, New Believers, was released by Friendly Fire Recordings, and that was followed by House of Tongues, released on June 1, 2010, by the same label; House of Tongues features Carl Baggaley on keyboards as part of the band.[18]

The band has participated on several tribute albums released by American Laundromat Records. They have covered:

On November 15, 2011, the band added a cover of Helix's "Heavy Metal Love" to a compilation album released by Engine Room Recordings entitled Guilt by Association Vol. 3.[23]



  • 2000 – Status
  • 2002 – Hold Tight the Ropes
  • 2007 – New Believers
  • 2010 – House of Tongues
  • 2018 – Everybody's Insecure

Extended plays[edit]

  • 1999 – Dreams of Steam
  • 2001 – The Sea Is Fierce
  • 2019 – Souls In Space


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mason, Stewart. "Elk City". Allmusic.
  2. ^ a b c d e Ketchem, Ray. "Elk City". Elk City. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012.
  3. ^ Dignes, Chris (March 13, 2010). "Elk City Interview: SXSW 2010". Spinner. Retrieved January 27, 2013.
  4. ^ Miceli, Paolo. "Interview with.. Elk City". www.inkoma.com.
  5. ^ "Elk City - Talitres Records". Parasol Records. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Staff (n.d.). "Elk City". Talitres Records. Retrieved January 27, 2013.
  7. ^ "earworm records: discography". Earworm Records. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011.
  8. ^ "Parasol Records : Labels : Parasol : Various : Parasol's Sweet Sixteen Vol 1". Parasol Records. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011.
  9. ^ "Parasol's Sweet Sixteen, Vol. 2 - Various Artists". Allmusic.
  10. ^ "Parasol Presents Christmas Singles - Various Artists". Allmusic.
  11. ^ "The Black Sessions la musique pas comme les autres". Black Sessions. Archived from the original on November 1, 2011.
  12. ^ "Journey to End of Twilight: US Pop Life Vol. 9 - North East - Various Artists AllMusic". Allmusic.
  13. ^ "Warm Electronic Recordings – Catalog: Elk City 'The Sea Is Fierce'". www.thewarmsupercomputer.com.
  14. ^ "Warm Electronic Recordings – Catalog: Elk City 'Hold Tight the Ropes'". www.thewarmsupercomputer.com.
  15. ^ "Elk City". Elk City. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012.
  16. ^ "ABC (Madrid) - 25/10/2002, p. 62 - ABC.es Hemeroteca". hemeroteca.abc.es.
  17. ^ "Flak Magazine: Music Best of 2002: Introduction, 01.31.03". Flak Magazine.
  18. ^ "Friendly Fire Recordings :: Elk City". Friendly Fire Recordings.
  19. ^ "American Laundromat Records". American Laundromat Records.
  20. ^ "American Laundromat Records". American Laundromat Records.
  21. ^ "American Laundromat Records". American Laundromat Records.
  22. ^ "American Laundromat Records". American Laundromat Records.
  23. ^ "Music Engine Room Recordings". Engine Room Recordings.

External links[edit]