It can feel paradoxically terrifying and refreshing to speculate on the number of local bands any given scene loses to the ether of drunken memories and weekly rag clippings. Can you imagine a more shocking, depraved, delusional or depressing document than one chronicling the many local bands in Dallas/Fort Worth’s storied history? Every year, hundreds fall like flies for a thousand different reasons: the praised, the infamous and the unknown alike. Some said goodbye, more disappeared, a couple are right where you left them. Here’s a Fort Worth zombie - here is Modico’s time capsule and epitaph, the unreleased album the band sold its possessions to finance and would ultimately cause its demise, Axe At My Feet.
It began in the basement bomb-shelter of lead-singer, Thomas Ketchersid’s childhood home in the bescumbered suburbs of North Texas. It was 2003 and DFW was assaulted by static and screaming. Gigs without a couple of [insert prefix]-core bands on the bill were few and far between in Modico’s first years. But its schizophrenic songwriting that droned dreamy before blowing speakers at the drop of a dynamic hat stuck out like balm on a burn.
Raised by a cappella and honed by post-rock, the Fort Worth quartet’s vengeful spirit and angst-ridden confusion was a reflection and response to a cultural narrowness recognized by both audiences and fellow bands. The novelty of Modico’s voice, coupled with their providential social media savvy, put them on stage with local legends Midlake and Centro-matic and in the BPL studios with the Pipes brothers while three of them were still in high school.
After moving the entire band from Texas to Oklahoma in 2006, the quartet set out to complete its debut full-length album, Axe at My Feet. Maintaining a tightness non-exclusive to its music, they all shared one house. While in Oklahoma, Modico teamed up with Trent Bell (The Flaming Lips, The Starlight Mints) to begin recording new material. Combining its ambitious motivations with its unique blend of indie pop, Modico crafted an album intended to be its introduction to the populous. The album remained unreleased until December 2013.